NRL great Peter Sterling is set to surrender his commentating duties for Channel 9 in order to make way for the next generation of talent.
Sterling was a four-time premiership player for the Eels during their dominant run in the 1980s, which included a three-peat from 1981 to 1983, where he also won back to back Dally M Medals in 1986 and 1987.
He began his media career for Channel 9 working alongside good mate Paul Vautin on The Footy Show. Sterling rose to prominence as his expertise and versatility distinguished him from his peers, as he demonstrated an innate ability to offer in-depth analysis in addition to detailed play-by-play observations.
Sterling’s decision to call time on his illustrious 27-year media career comes at a time where Channel 9 and the NRL are reportedly in talks over a new broadcasting deal. The move appears to coincide with the NRL trying to combat years of declining ratings, with the future of some of Stirling's commentary partners also in limbo.
Fellow legend Wally Lewis and presenter Erin Molan both appear unlikely to have their contracts renewed at seasons end, while ‘the voice of rugby league’ Ray Warren’s retirement appears imminent. The futures of Johnathon Thurston, Darren Lockyer and Vautin are currently unclear as Channel 9 works through the shake-up to assess their new potential roles.
It is believed that the network’s new team will consist of Andrew Johns, Freddy Fittler, Billy Slater, Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith as the network look to infuse newer and younger faces into the NRL’s coverage team.
Simon Fordham, head of Rugby League at Channel 9, has remained silent as he declined to address the media in relation to the ongoing changes.
With four rounds plus finals remaining in the 2021 NRL season it appears that we should enjoy some of the games great caller’s before they ride off into the sunset at seasons end.