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REAL NRL: A Jolly good time for commentary duo


Seated on plastic chairs and with a fold-out table resting unsteadily on the sloped grass in front of them, it’s just another day in paradise for Peter Jolly and Tony Delany.

They do their best to ignore the fans surrounding them, jeering and laughing or cheering and shouting.

But, the duo also sees the funny side to their archaic little sound set-up.

Tony Delany and Peter Jolly have attracted a “cult following” over the past two years. Photo: Rod Thompson

However, work is work, and when it comes to Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL), it’s serious business.

“We are smack-bang right in the thick of the supporters, we don’t have a commentary box,” laughs Jolly, one half of the two-man team that has developed a cult following in the past two years throughout the region with their “live” audio calls on Facebook.

“We wanted to raise the decibel each week and make the match an online event.

“I wanted interaction with fans right across the Hunter and more engagement with local league fans across the globe who wanted to keep in touch with the Real NRL.

“Having that brings further reach and profile back into Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League.

“Marketing, along with a quality audio production each week, is such an important tool to raise awareness to the thriving competition and to put extra bums on seats inside the gate.

“Calling a game for 80 minutes is only 50% of our weekly product.”

The hard-working pair is preparing for another big call this weekend at McDonald Jones Stadium, when they’ll oversee the Denton Engineering Cup decider between the Maitland Pickers and South Newcastle Lions.

“We both just love the game,” he said.

“I think people can pick that up when they listen to us… and our array of guests.

“We try to make it as professional and entertaining as possible.”

You can always be guaranteed of a laugh around Tony Delany and Peter Jolly. Photo: Rod Thompson

With eight seasons calling Newcastle Rugby League under his belt and the past two years with the audio call, Jolly believes introducing the weekly podcast – along with after-game interviews with the coaches and players – provides a rare insight behind the local footballer.

“I wanted to dig further than the match result,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“As a fan, I want to know what the player gets up to away from the footy field.

“The action on game day does the talking.

“But, away from the field, what makes them tick and how that can influence their own game on the ground.

“I think the podcast and the after-match interviews really open up a relationship between the fan and player.”

With many hours spent together each week travelling kilometres across the region to cover games and interviews, sidekick Delany is well-qualified to speak about his partner-in-crime.

“Mate, his enthusiasm and passion come through in his commentary,” he added with a chuckle.

“You can pretty much hear him from the other side of Darwin when he gets going.

“He makes the local game sound better and that’s a quality that sets him apart.

“Pete has called NRL grand finals, World Cups, QRL, NRL Schoolboys and is a regular fill-in for Triple M NRL and gets called up by Fox and other media stations.

“So, Newcastle Rugby league is lucky to have him.

“I just love bouncing off his energy and bringing my own style to analysis.”

However, for now, the league’s most under-rated commentary pair continues to pull out the plastic chairs and the card table on the hill in the Newcastle Rugby League.

And, that’s just the way they like it.

  • To listen, head to the Newcastle Rugby League FB page and click on the link.

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

2023 play-offs:

Preliminary final results

  • Denton Engineering Cup: South Newcastle Lions d Cessnock Goannas 28-22
  • Reserve grade: Western Suburbs Rosellas d Cessnock Goannas 22-8
  • Under-19s: Western Suburbs Rosellas d Maitland Pickers 20-12

Grand final draw

Saturday 2 September

McDonald Jones Stadium

  • Gates open: 9.45am
  • Under-19s: 10.15am – Lakes United Seagulls v Western Suburbs Rosellas
  • Reserve grade: Noon – Maitland Pickers v Western Suburbs Rosellas
  • Denton Engineering Cup: 2pm – Maitland Pickers v South Newcastle Lions

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