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Not one for ever struggling with even the most tongue twisting last names, Ray ‘Rabbits’ Warren has earned his stripes in cross cultural commentating since the days of Tommy Raudonikis.
Since then, the NRL playing group has only gotten more diverse – as rugby league quickly overtakes soccer as the game of choice for the many waves of migrants in Queensland and New South Wales.
In fact, in a code where even the Anglo-Celtic white boys have tricky names, like Rabs has never struggled in his eloquent pronunciations of Thomas Flegler and Coen Hess.
However as these migrant families begin to evolve into sporting dynasties, it seems the most iconic voice of rugby league might meet his match in the near future.
Particularly when all of these brothers and cousins inevitably end up playing in the same rep sides.
“Uit’s gettang rarther trickay” says Rabs, in his famous Riverina accent.
“We’ove gut two Trbojevics already ploying for the Blues.”
“I’m led to beloive there’s two mora waiting in the ranks”
That makes four Trbojevics.
Not to mention the fact that there is currently three Fifitas eligible to play for NSW. And one of their cousins from Logan playing for the Maroons.
Luckily, for Rabs, the NSW Fifitas are more inclined to play for their father’s home country of Tonga – and two of them currently based out of England. This rules them out of Origin selection, for now.
“But thut doez’t change the fuct that there’s two blokes named David Fifita currently ploying professional rugby league.”
“And in some crazy turn of events. They could both be ploying State Of Awrigin against each other, despite being first cousins.”
It gets better. All of the Fifita cousins, from both states, are also eligible to play in the Indigenous All Stars together, because they all have Indigenous mothers – with Queensland David’s mob claiming Torres Strait Islander heritage through his mum – and the twins and their other brother Latu claiming Koori background through their mum.
“There’s also a Daniel Fifita whose just debyuud fa the Roosters” says an increasingly frustrated Rabs.
“I’m waitung for sumwon to inform me of where he foits into the picture”
Rabs says it’s not the pronunciations that got him buggered, it’s the fact that he’s gonna be commentating matches where every bloke has the same name.
“Don’t even get me started on the Hopoates”
“Three in the NRL and one ploying for Nurth Sydnay”
“There’s three more boys to choose frum there too”
“I’m gonna have to number these blokes. Hopa 1, Hopa 2, Hopa 3”
“Or I’ll give them my own names”
“Mormon Hopa, Jail Hopa, Jaw Hopa”
“Finger Hopa really had a crack didn’t he”