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Great media personalities short-listed for Hall of Fame

Commentators Ray Warren, Rex Mossop and David Morrow and print journalists Roy Masters and Peter Frilingos are among 14 media nominees for inclusion in the NRL Hall of Fame this month.

The Hall of Fame will soon expand to include contributors, with one administrator, print journalist and broadcast journalist to be inducted alongside up to four players during a ceremony at Carriageworks in Eveleigh, Sydney on August 14.

There are nine names on the short-list for print media and five nominated for broadcast media, spanning from Claude Corbett – who covered Kangaroo tours for The Sun in 1911 – through to today's lead commentator for Channel Nine.

"For the first time, we will acknowledge a representative from administration, from print media and from broadcast media," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.

"That is an incredibly important element of what we have done in recent years – reshape our Hall of Fame process to appropriately acknowledge the people who have made significant contributions to the game."

Nominees – print media

Claude Corbett

Born: April 25, 1885, Botany, NSW

Died: December 12, 1944, Waverley, NSW

Journalist and sporting editor

  • Career started as copyboy for Evening News (aged 14) and was noted sportsman, excelling at swimming and boxing and played first grade rugby union for St George, Newtown and Eastern Suburbs
  • Sports journalist for Daily Telegraph and the Sun and managing director of Sunday Times, Referee and Sunday Times
  • Sporting editor of The Sun from 1923 until his death in 1944
  • Covered the first of three Kangaroo tours of England in 1911-12
  • Poet Kenneth Slessor said Corbett possessed 'not only a specialist's knowledge … but also a crisp, and magnetic style which fascinated readers'

Peter Frilingos

Born: August 18, 1944, Sydney, NSW

Died: May 3, 2004, Surry Hills, NSW

Journalist and media personality

  • Commenced journalistic career as cadet with the Daily Mirror in 1962 and joined the paper's sporting staff in 1964
  • Covered every grand final from 1964 to 2003, four Kangaroo tours of Great Britain and France, six tours to New Zealand and three World Cups
  • Served as deputy sports editor for the Daily Mirror before becoming chief rugby league writer in 1980
  • A panellist on rugby league programs on Channel 9 (1978-80) and Channel 10 (1981-82) and with Fox Sports on their Back Page program (1997-2004)
  • Popular member of Radio 2UE's Continuous Call team from 1987 to 2004
  • Described as "one of the most influential league journalists in the game and was an enormous presence on radio, pay TV and in the News Ltd papers"
  • Honoured with the naming of the Peter Frilingos Headline Moment Award at the annual Dally M presentation and with the Peter Frilingos Media Centre at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium

Ian Heads

Born: February 15, 1943, Sydney, NSW

Journalist, author and historian

  • Commenced career as cadet journalist with Sydney's Daily Telegraph in 1963
  • Chief rugby league writer for Daily and Sunday Telegraphs from 1969 to 1980
  • Managing Editor of Rugby League Week from 1981 to 1987
  • As a freelancer, wrote regular columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and later the Sun-Herald and countless other journals and magazines
  • Authored over 40 rugby league biographies and histories, including True Blue (the history of the NSWRL, 1992), the Kangaroos (1990) and a Centenary History of Rugby League (2008)
  • Widely respected for his knowledge and dignified coverage of the game
  • Honoured with OAM in 2010 for service to the media as a sports journalist, author and mentor and inducted into the Sydney Cricket Ground Media Hall of Honour in 2014

Laurie Kearney

Born: July 16, 1883, Armidale, NSW

Died: September 5, 1952, Brisbane, QLD

Journalist

  • A former first grade referee and journalist who began his career in Sydney before transferring to Brisbane in 1919
  • Wrote for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney before joining the staff of Brisbane's Daily Mail in 1925 and the Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in 1933
  • Described as a 'fearless critic and champion of the underdog'
  • Reputedly attended every Ashes Test match played in Australia from 1910 to 1946
  • On his death, Brisbane's Truth newspaper said Kearney's "carefully-kept records, his encyclopaedic knowledge of rugby league … plus a native wit, a fine vocabulary and a racy style made him an outstanding Australian sportographer"

Gary Lester

Born: January 24, 1945, Crows Nest, NSW

Journalist, author and publisher

  • Began career as sports reporter on The Australian (1968-70) and continued with The Sun from 1970 until it closed in 1988
  • Editor of the game's official program Big League in 1974
  • Wrote specialist sports columns in The Sun and Sun-Herald
  • Established Playright Publishing in 1990
  • Author of ground-breaking Story of Australian Rugby League in 1988 and author/publisher of numerous high-quality club histories including Berries to Bulldogs, The Bulldogs Story; The Sharks, Colour Me Black, White and Blue and Clouds of Dust Buckets of Blood

Roy Masters

Born: October 15, 1941, Newtown, NSW

Journalist, author and media personality

  • A school teacher at Tamworth where he commenced coaching career, firstly with Australian Schoolboys and eventually at a professional level with Penrith, Western Suburbs and St George
  • Began journalistic career with Sydney Sun while still an active coach
  • Later joined the Sydney Morning Herald where his columns conveyed an insider's view of many of the most important issues in the game
  • Author of several rugby league books (Inside League, Inside Out and Bad Boys)
  • A regular panellist on several television programs, including Seven's Sports World and the ABC's Offsiders
  • Awarded Australian Sports Commission Media Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2011 and honoured as a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) in 2012

John O'Gready

Born: July 12, 1936, Ryde, NSW

Died: April 25, 1999, Sydney, NSW

Photographer

  • Photographer for Fairfax newspapers (Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun and Sun-Herald) from 1957 to 1988
  • Captured the iconic image of Norm Provan and Arthur Summons after the 1963 grand final that became known as 'The Gladiators' and was the basis for the game's premiership trophies from 1982
  • The picture, that first appeared in the Sun-Herald on Sunday, August 25, 1963, won the international Sports Photo of the Year award for that year
  • Inducted into the SCG Media Hall of Honour in 2014

Geoff Prenter

Born: 1941

Journalist

  • Commenced journalistic career with Sydney Sun in 1960s
  • First editor of Rugby League Week in 1970
  • Flambouyant style generated circulation figures in excess of 100,000
  • In his 11 years at the helm, Rugby League Week became known as the game's 'bible' and apart from coverage of the premiership, it informed readers of the game in country NSW and Queensland and more remote areas
  • The first to introduce player ratings, recognising the performance of every player on a weekly basis
  • Returned to the Sun in the early 1980s and later held a media liaison role with the NSWRL

Jack Reardon

Born: November 25, 1914, Nambour, QLD

Died: July 22, 1991, Brisbane, QLD

Journalist

  • Former Australian vice-captain (four Tests, 1937-38), who turned to career in sports journalism
  • Joined full-time staff of Brisbane's Courier Mail in 1948
  • Chief rugby league writer for 30 years until his retirement in 1978
  • Was among the first to raise the suggestion of State of Origin, following the continuation of lopsided interstate contests in 1964
  • Inducted into Suncorp Stadium's Media Hall of Fame in 2006

Nominees – Broadcast Media

Frank Hyde

Born: February 7, 1916, Miller's Point, NSW

Died: September 24, 2007, Queenscliff, NSW

Radio commentator and media personality

  • Centre for Balmain, Newtown and North Sydney (93 first grade games 1936-44), who represented New South Wales in six matches 1938-39
  • Turned to refereeing after retirement before forging a legendary career as a broadcaster
  • Called 31 consecutive grand finals on Sydney radio station 2SM (1953-83)
  • His unique description of players kicking for goal: "It's long enough, it's high enough, it's straight between the posts" became his signature catch phrase
  • Appeared regularly as a panellist on Ron Casey's World of Sport program on Channel Nine
  • Made countless overseas tours following Kangaroo teams, calling games and hosting supporters tours
  • Awarded MBE and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

George Lovejoy

Born: December 15, 1923, Bundaberg, Queensland

Died: February 5, 2003, Brisbane, QLD

Radio commentator

  • Colourful and controversial commentator who refused to back down to authority, calling the game as he saw it
  • Called over 650 club and representative games on Brisbane's 4BH between 1950 and 1967
  • Called without the assistance of a co-commentator, statistician or producer
  • Was known throughout Queensland as 'Mr Football'
  • Popularised the slogan 'Rugby League, the Greatest Game of All'
  • Included in Suncorp Stadium's Media Hall of Fame

David Morrow

Born: July 5, 1953, Sydney, NSW

Radio and television commentator

  • Radio and television commentator for the ABC from 1980 to 2014; his voice often providing thousands of remote rural listeners their only access to the game
  • Called Saturday football to a national audience on ABC television until the network ceased its coverage in 1996
  • Joined 2GB's rugby league commentary team in 2015
  • Highly regarded for his enthusiastic and accurate descriptions
  • Awarded OAM for services to sport, sports broadcasting and the community in 2005

Rex Mossop

Born: February 18, 1928, Five Dock, NSW

Died: June 18, 2011, St Leonards, NSW

Television commentator and media personality

  • Dual international (played five rugby union Tests and 12 in league) before taking up media career in 1964
  • A pioneering rugby league commentator on television, mostly with the Seven Network, before joining Channel 10 in the mid 1980s
  • Head commentator of Channel Seven's Big League from 1974 to 1982, which introduced the game to a generation of new supporters
  • Hosted the popular Sports Action show, which included the iconic Controversy Corner panel. Mossop and a panel of former greats and other media personalities discussed 'pertinent league matters'
  • His forthright views often polarised public opinion. Writing for The Independent, journalist Dave Hadfield said of Mossop: "Controversial, confrontational and bombastic, his style was loved and loathed in equal measure"
  • Nicknamed 'The Moose', Mossop was famous for his tautology, his occasional slip-ups becoming known as 'Mossopisms'

Ray Warren

Born: June 11, 1943, Junee, NSW

Television commentator and media personality

  • Began career as a rugby league commentator with 2LF Young in 1966
  • Moved to Sydney in 1971 gaining experience as a radio commentator with 2GB
  • Became widely known for his calls of the midweek Amco Cup competition on Channel 10 from 1974
  • Joined Channel Nine in 1988 and became part of the network's State of Origin commentary team from 1989
  • Head commentator for Nine since it acquired the free-to-air premiership broadcasting rights in 1992
  • Known as "the Voice of Rugby League"
  • Honoured with an Order of Australia Medal and inducted into the Sydney Cricket Ground Media Hall of Honour