TV Commentator Awards 2006

We are just past the halfway mark of the NRL season and it is time to announce the inaugural TV Commentator Awards for 2006.

The criteria is simple, to be eligible for the 1st and 2nd All-Star Teams and the All-Dud Team, the commentator in question must be part of the Channel Nine, Fox Sports and Sky Sport NZ commentary teams.

There are four spots on each team to be filled from the following categories:

? Play by Play Caller (1) ? Colour Commentator/Analyst (2) ? Sideline Commentator (1)

Here are the candidates in each category:

? Play by Play Caller o Mark Braybrook, Fox Sports; Jason Costigan, Sky Sport; Warren Smith, Fox; Andrew Voss; Channel 9; Ray Warren, Ch9.

? Colour Commentator/Analyst (2) o Laurie Daley, Fox; Gary Freeman, Fox; Phil Gould, Ch9; Daryl Halligan, Sky; Wayne Pearce, Fox; Peter Ropati, Sky; Peter Sterling, Ch9; Paul Vautin, Ch9.

? Sideline Commentator o Greg Alexander, Fox; Paul Harragon, Ch9; Ben Ikin, Ch9; Matthew Johns, Ch9; Steven McIvor, Sky; Scott Sattler, Fox; Gorden Tallis, Fox.

So without further ado, here are the Awards.

1st All Star Team 2006

? Play by Play Caller: o Andrew Voss ? There simply isn?t a clearer and more objective commentator on the box than Vossy. While also excelling at the sideline gig, his true home is in the booth giving the viewer what they want ? clear concise commentary on the play. Bias isn?t a factor for Vossy because his beloved Rabbitohs are still some way off from contending and possibly clouding his judgment in the big games. Rating: 9.0

? Colour Commentator/Analyst (2) o Peter Sterling ? Sterlo played the game, knows the game and knows that his place as a commentator is to commentate and not push any agendas. The most relatable of all the commentators to the punter on the sideline because he rides the game like we do at home. Rating: 10.0

o Paul Vautin ? Like Sterlo, Fatty has been there in the trenches at every level and that coupled with his larrikin streak makes him the perfect foil for the true analyst in Sterlo. It is clear Ch9 has decided more analysis and less humour is the way they want to play it but demoting Fatty to hosting is a poor move and has left the main commentary team repetitive and a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Rating: 8.5

? Sideline Commentator o Greg Alexander ? Just edges out Matthew Johns (Voss only considered for Play by Play) for the job based on his excellent ability to get updates on injured players from the sideline. Normally lets the facts do the talking during his crosses and that?s what you want from your sideline eye, not just dramatics and enthusiasm. Rating: 7.5

2nd All-Star Team 2006

? Play by Play Caller o Mark Braybrook ? Uses the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle and just as importantly is easy to listen to ? making him a very good commentator. Knows the players and doesn?t over indulge in his role. Also keeps his co-commentators on their toes and doesn?t let them walk all over him. Rating: 8.0

? Colour Commentators/Analysts (2) o Phil Gould ? Master motivator and tactician has translated those skills to the commentary booth successfully. If anything he?s too opinionated during the game itself but that is Gus being Gus. Has the guts to make a big call during a game and to his credit after getting it wrong ? does the same the next week without hesitation. Is a great analyst but as mentioned above there doesn?t seem to be much variety in the box when he?s with Sterlo and really that?s not his fault. Rating: 8.5

o Laurie Daley ? Doesn?t exactly win the second birth on the 2nd All-Star Team by default but he didn?t have a lot of genuine competition for the job next to Gus. Offers his insight at generally the right time and doesn?t overdo it which makes him an accessory to the telecast and not the focal point which is a big positive. His apparent infatuation with Benny Hornby is a worry however? Rating: 6.5

? Sideline Commentator o Matthew Johns ? Johns is a likeable lad who turned his solid NRL career into a sensational media career. Hits the nail on the head from the sideline at times but also hits his thumb just as often by making a comment for the sake of making a comment and this whole walking off the field stunt is getting old. Still his ability to casually chat with players on the sidelines during the game is a gift. Rating: 7.5

And the team you?ve really been hanging out for (Ratings not included to be kind):

All-Dud Team 2006

? Play by Play Caller o Andy ?Opportunity ? Raymond ? Calls the play well and knows the players but has (like many other commentators) developed some seriously annoying chestnuts and Andy?s catchphrase is to announce that the team in possession on the attack in the following way: ?Opportunity Knights!? Loves to throw to his analysts for their opinion at the expense of the play and in certain commentator combinations this is not the best move at all.

? Colour Commentator/Analyst (2) o Wayne ?Clich? King? Pearce ? There simply is not a more annoying analyst on the box than Junior. That might be harsh but he has to have an opinion/explanation on everything and every player during a game and it can take him upwards of 20 seconds to finish talking about a player meaning the rest of the set is played out with Junior going on about how ?big, strong, fast and promising? the player in question is. Truth is Wayne, not every player is ?big, strong, fast and promising? and it is ok to say ?he?s going well tonight? and finish at that.

o Gary ?Two Passes Wide? Freeman ? Admittedly used to be a commentator that was pretty good but now he?s completely and utterly obsessed with suggesting that the either team in the game should ?go two passes wide? to improve their attack. It is actually a great suggestion and a strong game plan most of the time but seriously if the viewers at home don?t know what that tactic is by now then they will never figure it out. Next time you listen to Freeman count how many times he suggests ?two passes? wide and see if you can crack double figures.

? Sideline Commentator o Ben ?I?m Excited like Big Kev was? Ikin ? The new kid on the block certainly has enthusiasm but every time the director crosses to him it looks as if Ikin is going to burst a blood vessel in his face during his report. And the other week in the Dogs-Cowboys game he must?ve broken a sideline record for the duration of his cross, which is understandable with a halftime or serious injury report but Ikin burst out about seven clich?s and a blood vessel in a run of the mill report. So just calm down Benny, it is ok to present your reports with a little less gusto for the sake of your own health and well being at the very least!

So there you have it, the 1st and 2nd All Star Teams and the All-Dud Team for the 2006 NRL Season.

Do you agree or disagree? Who are your All-Star and All-Dud teams?

And finally be thankful Channel 9 has the best commentary team in the business, meaning the most watched game of the week is delivered by the best of the best, because don?t think for a second that it couldn?t be worse.

==== LPR Player of the Year Update:

After Round 15, Melbourne?s Cooper Cronk led the way just ahead of Matthew Bowen, Scott Prince, Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer.

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