This Sunday October 1, 2GB’s Ray Hadley will call his 34th NRL Grand Final, taking him past the record he currently shares with the late Frank Hyde MBE, OAM.
Hyde called 33 NSWRL Grand Finals from the Sydney Cricket Ground between 1953 and 1983. If those numbers don’t add up, that’s because Hyde called both Grand Final replays in 1977 (won on the second attempt by the Dragons) and 1978 (this time by Manly) on Sydney radio station 2SM.
Hadley called his first Grand Final on 2UE in 1987, where again Manly, then coached by the late Bob Fulton, defeated the Canberra Raiders, coached by Wayne Bennett and the late Don Furner. Amazing to think that Bennett, more than 30 years later, is also still a force to be reckoned with.
“When I started calling Rugby League in 1987, John Brennan asked Frank Hyde to listen and critique me on a weekly basis. In the early stages, Frank said ‘you need to get into a rhythm, you sound like a race caller’. I replied ‘that’s because I am!’. He laughed and said you’ll get there. At the end of 1987, he called me after the Grand Final and said ‘there’ll be no more phone calls from me – you are where you need to be’.
“I got an email from one of Frank and Gabby’s sons, Pat, this week telling me how proud his dad would be for me to break his record by calling my 34th Grand Final. The entire Hyde family has always been very supportive. My lasting memory of Frank will be his generosity and encouragement. He was not threatened by an ambitious young bloke, but rather proud he was part of my journey. Surely Frank must be the next media person to be elevated to the NRL Hall of Fame.”
Hadley and Hyde are both inductees in the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame and their famous catchcries will forever live in rugby league history.
Hyde’s: “It’s long enough, it’s high enough… and it’s straight between the posts!”
And Hadley’s: “Don’t touch the set, don’t touch the dial, don’t you go anywhere!”.
Ray Hadley’s record 34th NRL Grand Final call can be heard on 2GB Sydney and 4BC Brisbane on Sunday 1 October 2023. Coverage begins from 1.00pm (AEDT) with the NRL Grand Final between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos commencing at 7.30pm (AEDT).