I?ve arrived late to my interview and I?m wracked with nerves. I hope I haven?t kept him waiting too long; I have no desire to get on the bad side of one of Rugby League?s future stars. Oh, but this is no up and coming player I?m meeting with today, and the manner of our engagement is, well, a little unconventional. With a flash of blue reminding me of my overflowing inbox, and the opening of the bothersome msn today (I really must switch that feature off) I find myself signed into my instant messenger. That?s right, this interview is happening online; the subject, Daniel, aka Roosterboy. He may not have the looks and vision of Tim Smith or be able to boast he?s a relation of Thierry Henry (the forummer, not the footballer), as Sonny Bill Williams proudly can, and by his own admission his athleticism rates as ?sub-par?, but when it comes to commentating, this kid has all the skills.
A conversation window appears before my eyes with the simple greeting ?Hi?. I immediately know it?s Daniel. He?s not one to waste words, save on the mic, dropping rhymes (and the odd observation on the game taking place) like nobody?s business. At this moment I?m feeling mighty over-awed, with good reason. This is a guy who, in his early teens, took a bold step as a pioneer of internet radio, and dared to challenge the establishment with his upbeat approach to Rugby League calling. From humble roots, his various league-themed shows now boast audiences in the thousands*. You better believe the big guns of commentary have taken notice, and rumour has it they?re afraid.
Back to the present, and I?m struggling here. I try an ice-breaker. ?Umm?? I type tentatively, then ?I?m wearing a pink polo shirt right now, does that bother you??
It doesn?t, but it?s not his thing. Calmed, I launch into the interview.
Weasel: First things first, Daniel? RB: Roosterboy. Weasel: Sorry. Roosterboy. How did you first become interested in commentating? RB: I?ve grown up admiring radio callers, like Ray Hadley and John Laws, and on tv, Rabs [Ray Warren] is just inspirational. His voice is infectious, mesmerising? Weasel: Ok? do you support a team or do you try and remain impartial? RB: The Roosters. Weasel: Oh. It must be hard for you at the moment, putting on a brave face in the commentary box while they continue to struggle. At your age you wouldn?t be able to recall a Roosters side doing worse. RB: Yes, I?m aware of that. Time will tell though, but I will always love them regardless. Weasel: Fav player? RB: All-time, it has to be Freddy [Brad Fittler]. Wonderful skills; did so much for the club. He deserved it in 2002. I don?t think I?ll ever lose the memories of that night. Current players: Craig Wing, and from elsewhere, Matt Cooper. Weasel: Yes, both very good looking. What approach do you try and bring to commentating? RB: A positive one. Weasel: Inspirational. Now, one of your more popular shows is F7?s radio; you aired a controversial interview on last week?s episode, with famed F7?s player, Half. At various times it sounded like you were losing control of the interview, but Half had this to say about you afterwards:
?Roosterboy60 is a great kid with a positive attitude towards commentary and life.?
Do you wish to respond to these comments? RB: He?s a good bloke, mate. Weasel: True. On to other things, I hear you?re a fan of Big Brother? RB: Yes. Weasel: So, do you have a favourite housemate? RB: I like Christie. And Tim, he?s the smart one. Least favourite would probably be Glenn. Weasel: Roosterboy, it?s been lovely to speak to you, but before we go, your tips for this weekend? RB: I wouldn?t be surprised if Geneva went. Weasel: ? in the football? RB: Go the Roosters!! Weasel: Yes, go the roosters, indeed. And, thank you.
I sign out without allowing him a reply, avoiding telling him I?m backing the Eels, then take a minute to catch my breath. I?m left with the feeling of having encountered someone unique, and I hope that those who read this can get a sense of his many qualities from these words that we?ve shared. You might just call it a hunch at this moment, but I have a feeling that it won?t be long before we all know this kid?s name. Roosterboy.
*figures unconfirmed at time of posting
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