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Ray Hadley declares he doesn't want to replace Ray Warren as voice of rugby league

Date

Chief Sports Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald

View more articles from Andrew Webster

Ray Hadley has ruled out replacing Ray Warren when Channel 9's main commentator decides to retire.

Ray Hadley has ruled out replacing Ray Warren when Channel 9's main commentator decides to retire. Photo: Peter Rae

Relax, league fans: Ray Hadley has declared he does not want Ray Warren's job.

But the radio giant says Warren's son Chris or his former 2GB colleague Joel Caine should replace him at Nine, when the time comes.

Hadley contacted this column early this morning about an item about him being the next in line to replace Warren - the undisputed voice of the game - when the 72-year-old decides to hang up the headset. "Given my major income stream and most of my time these days is taken up byThe Ray Hadley Morning Show, I have never considered replacing Rabs," Hadley told me. "I call the football on both radio and TV for fun. It’s a diversion from the rather intense matters I deal with Monday to Friday. [Nine chief executive] David Gyngell is a mate and asked me to help out, which is why I did it."

Last Saturday, your humble correspondent waded into the murky fallout between NSW coach Laurie Daley and Hadley over the relationship between Blues assistant Matt Parish and Hadley's estranged wife, Suzanne. The footy public don't seem really care what Parish and Suzanne Hadley do.

Indeed, the item stirred more debate about Hadley replacing Warren. It's not so much a claim as fact, after Hadley replaced Andrew Voss as Warren's understudy at Nine last season. Hadley has arguably been the best radio caller in the business for decades, but the transition to television has attracted an avalanche of criticism.

The same thing happened to Rabbits when he switched from 2GB to Ten to call the Amco Cup in the 1970s. It takes time. "The transformation from radio calling to TV calling is much more difficult than anyone could imagine and anyone who calls football on Channel Nine, who is not Ray Warren, is going to be criticised," Hadley said. "He’s the benchmark."

So, if not Hadley then who? Fox Sports has Warren Smith signed to a long-term deal. Like Hadley, 2GB's Andrew Moore is a superb caller, but built for radio. Triple M's Dan Ginnane is the same.

"For mine Joel Caine or Chris Warren will be the next generation of TV callers leaving Rabs and me to play golf on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons," Hadley said. "People seem to misinterpret my motives in 2014. Sports calling, whether it’s football, Olympics or the odd race meeting is simply done to challenge myself. After doing it for 32 years I’m not looking for a full-time job."

The catalyst for Blake Ferguson's return via rugby league's Betty Ford Clinic – the Roosters – came late last year when he pleaded with club supremo Nick Politis to take him in.

"I just want to give this kid a chance," Politis said. "He deserves another chance. We see some good in him. The game shouldn't turn its back on him."

Whether the troubled centre, who was convicted in December of indecently assaulting a woman on the eve of Origin II last year, deserves another chance is a very debatable point.

Actually, there is no debate. It's difficult to find anyone who thinks he does.

Furious callers, texters and tweeters to The Big Sports Breakfast sent the Sky Sports Radio switchboard into meltdown on Thursday morning in response to the Roosters casting Ferguson a lifeline. Producers say they've never had a response to a story like it.

They cannot understand how someone like Ferguson, who has been convicted of such an offence, can be working as a mentor to indigenous players and junior clubs.

It is a reasonable point that someone, not least from the NRL, should explain to the fans.

While the Roosters have been linked to Ferguson since Canberra sacked him last year, they have been equally cautious about giving a start to a player who struggles with alcohol and his off-field behaviour.

They are aware his publicised conversion to Islam hasn't kept him off the drink. They know he could turn good or bad in a heartbeat.

In the end, Ferguson won Politis over with his genuine contrition and desire to make the most of his smouldering career after a series of meetings.

Politis, naturally, also sees a dynamite centre who can tear defences apart when Ferguson isn't doing the same thing to himself off the field.

Brad Fittler will mentor him, and the former Roosters captain is sympathetic because he knows the backstory: that Ferguson has been estranged from his mother for years and he's been visiting his father in Long Bay Jail since he was six years old.

The Roosters have told the 24-year-old there are no guarantees about playing for them next year.

As far as they are concerned, the only path back for Ferguson is via the only path he knows – rugby league.

This is his last chance to stick with it.

The Playstation Blues

Origin camp? "More like a retreat," offers one insider.

From all reports, most of the Blues side were tucked up in bed well before midnight following its sort-of bonding session on Wednesday night. Which is probably a good thing, because all of them have high-tech sleep detecting devices strapped to their wrists.

We're also told most players would rather get a release from playing FIFA World Cup on Playstation than the traditional way of a thousand schooners.

Anthony Watmough, bless him, is the only one who doesn't fall into this category.

Meanwhile, we're hearing Greg Bird could make an appearance in the camp when the Blues head to Brisbane on Sunday.

Buckley's chance

The logistical nightmare of Brazil – crime, political unrest, the possible lure of Caipirinha cocktails – has scared the families of several Socceroos off making the journey to the World Cup.

There has been much natter among football's chitterati about former chief executive Ben Buckley being one of FFA's VIP guests during the World Cup in Brazil – especially in the week when Socceroos players learnt they would be receiving a pay cut.

We sniffed it out and we're told Buckley will be in attendance in his new role as Foxtel's executive director of sport.

The Socceroos were farewelled at a fancy black tie dinner at the Opera House on Thursday night.

Waratahs silence experiment

The Waratahs are back in the hunt for the Super Rugby title – but how many people actually care?

Last week, their media department lined up an interview with Israel Folau to appear on this very page in a bid to ramp up some interest for the match against the Lions.

They refused to answer calls and text messages, and then media man Russell Fairfax refused to return a call, which is surprising from a former television reporter who really should get it.

Is rugby going so well that the sport can shun easy publicity? Are the Waratahs really going so well they can act like the Miami Heat?

If the Waratahs board wants to know why they aren't attracting healthy crowds, and ARU boss Bill Pulver wonders why his organisation is struggling financially, they might want to consider how some of their franchises market the game.

THE QUOTE

"Not rejecting I am Player X ... it’s the allegations I reject." - New Zealand cricketing legend Chris Cairns took to Twitter to say that while he might be Player X in the Lou Vincent match-fixing scandal, he did not try to fix matches, as you would expect of someone called "Player X".

THUMBS UP

Adam Goodes has been racially vilified by the fan of a rival club for the second time in less than a year. So what does the Swans star do? Finds the silver lining, focusing on the fact that an Essendon fan pointed out and stared down the fellow member who made the racist remark. That's why Goodes is the Australian of the Year.

THUMBS DOWN

Nathan Tinkler strode into a meeting with former Knights chairman Robbie Tew three years ago and sprayed him because of Tew's refusal to hand over the club without a $10 million bank guarantee. Now, with Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group failing to pay players and staff, the former billionaire won't sign over the club to the members. Disgraceful.

It's a big weekend for ... Benji Marshall, who is tipped to turn out for the Illawarra Cutters against Newtown on Saturday. Let's hope the Henson Park faithful aren't chanting his name in "support" like Eels supporters did last Saturday.

It's an even bigger weekend for ... Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney. The discarded Blues halves will play for the Roosters against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday. The Dogs are missing the halves that replaced them in the NSW side, Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds. Rugby league, fickle old temptress that she is, is a funny game.

Q&A: Scott Higginbotham

We speak to the Rebels captain before Friday night's blockbuster against the Waratahs.

You're a bit of a cult hero in Melbourne. Is it because of your tats or because you have an amazing palate for coffee?

Ha! I don't know. Hopefully a bit of both. I do have a few tattoos – about 11 in total. I keep them inside my shirt. I don't have sleeves like a lot of other blokes.

So, no neck tats?

No, my dad would kill me.

You've got a cafe in Brisbane. Is Brisvegas coffee better than what you find in Melbourne?

You're spoilt for choice down here. There are just so many cafes, and the coffee is so good. But in Brisbane, coffee is really starting to take off. It needed that cafe and bar scene up there.

You drive a pretty cool car, I hear.

I have a 1964 EH Holden wagon. It's good. If there's not one thing wrong with it, there's another, as is the case with those old cars. You feel pretty cool when you drive those things. It's like you're in a time machine, with the column shift, big steering wheel, no power steering. It's awesome.

Now, some players seem to like Xbox, but you love your music. Last festival you went to and with which player?

The last one was Splendour in the Grass with Van Humphries. He and I have been to the last six or seven Splendours together. If we're not in the semi-finals, I will try to go this year. I'm a big fan of festivals. I loved Falls Festival down here over New Year's.

You have been named in the Wallabies squad to take on the French. Is this clash against the Tahs a "Wallabies showdown" with Wycliff Palu, as I keep reading?

I don't think so. Cliffy and I have played in 11 games or so this year, so I don't think it's a showdown. It is, obviously, a big deal. It's a tough competition and we both want to play our best for our teams. I think I was named as a six anyway.

 

92 comments so far

  • GOOD. We wouldn't want him!

    Commenter
    Cicero
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    May 23, 2014, 3:20PM
    • Please not Hadley! Although Ray Warren is very good, we need a new voice, and new faces for the game. Former footballers seldom make good commentators. Look at the current crop! I think Nine could do itself no disservice by looking at some of the talent at the ABC - Tim Gavel, Drew Morphett, Quentin Hull and Karen Tighe for example. If the NRL is to expand beyond its current demographics its appeals needs to start with the way it is broadcast.

      Commenter
      Gekko
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 4:29PM
    • I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with Ray Hadley - I don't want him taking Rabs' job either. And Vossy was miles better than Hadley, who is the worst caller I've ever heard.

      Commenter
      PaddoBeeGee
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 4:49PM
    • +1 funny how he gets all the Brisbane games and unashamedly bias towards them, do us a favour Hadley, move there, the further north better, like PNG

      Commenter
      pdaddy1703
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 4:51PM
    • Has anyone actually heard him "call"a game.
      More like, has a pointless chat with a couple of others that occasionally veers onto NRL, but mostly seems to be spruiking ads for other Channel 9 shows.

      Commenter
      Scotty
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 5:28PM
    • Agreed. I don't watch too much footy on Channel 9, but if I'm forced to listen to that blowhard, I'm switching it off for good.

      Commenter
      Titus
      Location
      Andronica
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 5:44PM
    • Stopped listening when he started calling, mute the TV and listen to the radio. ..channel 9 must know this because they've delayed their commentary even more.

      Bring back voss

      Commenter
      n720ute
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 5:48PM
    • Yeah...nah, I'd rather only listen to the radio (ABC of course) where you get to feel the excitement of the game in the callers' voice, and let your imagination fill in the rest. I'm so fed up with the cheap sideshow salesmanship of CH9 TV, always forcing some crap or other onto me. I don't need any of it, well maybe some wine, or, if our psycho government gets any worse, a fresh supply of hemlock would be most handy, and I can give my solemn assurance that the supplier of said herb will rewarded moist hansdomely.

      Commenter
      Titus
      Location
      Andironical
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 7:37PM
  • I currently never watch any game commentated by Ray hadley, even if my team is playing. he is simply one of the hardest people in the world to like. If he becomes the main caller, I guess I will be getting Foxtel

    Commenter
    JustinS
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 23, 2014, 3:24PM
    • Horrible voice. Sounds l like a bad imitation of a 1970's race caller. The first time I switched on and herd him calling the game I thought it was Billy Birmingham taking the p*** . PLEASE, who ever is responsible for making this decision NO MORE HADLEY!!!!!

      Commenter
      Short Memory
      Location
      Manly
      Date and time
      May 23, 2014, 7:21PM

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NRL Season 2014

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MAN 22 vs PAR 18 Report Stats
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Round 4
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SOU 18 vs CAN 30 Report Stats
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GCT 13 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
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Round 5
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SYD 8 vs BUL 9 Report Stats
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CRO 37 vs NZW 6 Report Stats
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Round 6
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MAN 24 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
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Round 7
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SOU 14 vs BUL 15 Report Stats
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MAN 26 vs NQL 21 Report Stats
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CAN 24 vs MEL 22 Report Stats
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PAR 18 vs WES 21 Report Stats
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Round 8
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STG 14 vs SYD 34 Report Stats
MEL 10 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
BRI 26 vs SOU 28 Report Stats
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BUL 16 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
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MAN 54 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
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Round 9
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SYD 30 vs WES 6 Report Stats
NQL 27 vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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NZW 54 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
MEL 22 vs MAN 19 Report Stats
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NEW 10 vs PEN 32 Report Stats
STG 6 vs BUL 38 Report Stats
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PAR 42 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
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Round 10
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SOU 14 vs MEL 27 Report Stats
BRI 22 vs GCT 8 Report Stats
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PAR 36 vs STG Report Stats
CRO 20 vs WES 22 Report Stats
NQL 42 vs SYD 10 Report Stats
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CAN 20 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
BUL 16 vs NZW 12 Report Stats
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MAN 15 vs NEW 14 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BUL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
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GCT 16 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
WES 14 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
CAN 42 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
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CRO vs SOU 18 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 38 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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SYD 26 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
NQL 22 vs MEL Report Stats
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NZW 38 vs NEW 18 Report Stats
BRI 36 vs MAN 10 Report Stats
Mon, 02 JunTimes shown AEST
SOU 29 vs STG 10 Report Stats
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Round 13
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MAN 32 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
PAR 18 vs NQL 16 Report Stats
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GCT 14 vs PEN 36 Report Stats
STG 30 vs CRO Report Stats
SOU 34 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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NEW 20 vs WES 23 Report Stats
MEL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
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CAN 4 vs BRI 28 Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
SOU 32 vs WES 10 Report Stats
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PEN 18 vs STG 14 Report Stats
SYD 29 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 12 vs PAR 22 Report Stats
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GCT 20 vs MEL 24 Report Stats
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Round 15
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CAN 14 vs BUL 22 Report Stats
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NZW 19 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
CRO vs MAN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 46 vs PAR 20 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs STG 19 Report Stats
Mon, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 36 vs NQL 28 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 24 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
BRI 22 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
WES 19 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
NQL 20 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
PAR 10 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Mon, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 24 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 23 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 27 vs NQL 24 Report Stats
SYD 28 vs CRO 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WES 10 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
Mon, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
SOU 10 vs GCT 14 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 40 vs WES 8 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 48 vs PAR Report Stats
MEL 4 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 20 vs CAN 36 Report Stats
CRO 18 vs NEW 31 Report Stats
Mon, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 35 vs BRI 34 Report Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CRO 18 vs NQL 36 Report Stats
PAR 12 vs SOU 32 Report Stats
Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 32 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
MEL 28 vs CAN 14 Report Stats
BRI 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
NEW 8 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
WES 46 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
Mon, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12 vs MAN 21 Report Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NEW 16 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
BRI 8 vs MEL 30 Stats
Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 16 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs PAR 24 Stats
BUL 12 vs NQL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12 vs MAN 22 Report Stats
WES 12 vs STG 28 Stats
Mon, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
CAN 18 vs SOU 34 Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 16 vs BRI 4 Report Stats
BUL 16 vs PEN 22 Stats
Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 12 vs PAR 32 Report Stats
NQL 28 vs GCT 8 Stats
SYD 30 vs STG 22 Stats
Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
CAN 18 vs NZW 54 Stats
SOU 50 vs NEW 10 Stats
Mon, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
WES 6 vs MEL 28 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 23 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
BRI 41 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
NEW 32 vs MEL 30 Report Stats
NQL 64 vs WES 6 Report Stats
PAR 18 vs CAN 10 Report Stats
Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 16 vs CRO 12 Report Stats
STG 4 vs PEN 16 Stats
Mon, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 26 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
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Round 23
Thu, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 42 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
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PAR 16 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CAN 16 vs STG 34 Report Stats
MEL 48 vs CRO 6 Report Stats
WES 4 vs SYD 48 Report Stats
Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
NEW 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
GCT 12 vs MAN 15 Report Stats
Mon, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
PEN 23 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
BUL 30 vs WES 10 Stats
Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 48 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
SOU 10 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 12 vs SYD 46 Report Stats
CRO 12 vs CAN 22 Stats
STG 34 vs GCT 6 Stats
Mon, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
PEN 10 vs MEL 24 Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
BUL 14 vs SOU 21 Stats
Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 30 vs STG 22 Stats
Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
NEW 42 vs PAR 12 Stats
CAN 27 vs WES 12 Stats
SYD 24 vs MEL 12 Stats
Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 42 vs GCT Stats
MAN 26 vs PEN 25 Stats
Mon, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
NQL 20 vs CRO 19 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 22 vs SOU 18 Stats
Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 22 vs BRI 12 Stats
Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
WES 26 vs CRO 10 Report Stats
CAN 33 vs PAR 20 Stats
NQL 30 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
NEW 40 vs STG 10 Report Stats
GCT 19 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
PEN 22 vs NZW 6 Stats
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Finals Week 1
Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
MAN 24 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 18 vs PEN 19 Report Stats
NQL 32 vs BRI 20 Report Stats
Sun, 14 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 4 vs BUL 28 Report Stats
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Finals Week 2
Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 31 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
MAN 17 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Preliminary Finals
Fri, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
SOU 32 vs SYD 22 Report Stats
Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN 12 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Grand Final
Sun, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
SOU 30 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
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NRL Premiership - 2014 Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 16 8 0 230 36
Manly 24 16 8 0 103 36
South Sydney 24 15 9 0 224 34
Penrith 24 15 9 0 80 34
North Queensland 24 14 10 0 190 32
Melbourne 24 14 10 0 76 32
Canterbury-Bankstown 24 13 11 0 7 30
Brisbane 24 12 12 0 93 28
View all
 
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