For 364 days of the year, you wouldn’t find a calmer, more mild mannered guy than the great Ray Warren.
But one day every year back in the 1980s, ‘Rabs’ totally lost it, yelling and screaming so loudly that his voice echoed through the halls of the TV station.
What caused the legendary caller to go troppo?
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Dally M voting day, when the team from the old Daily Mirror, which created the awards some 40 years ago, would sit down with Ray to determine the winners of the prized gongs.
The Mirror’s head league writer, the late, great, Peter Frilingos, loved the day.
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He was close mates with ‘Rabs’, but ‘Chippy’ was an Olympic class stirrer – a man who revelled in pushing people’s buttons.
And he knew exactly which buttons to press to make Ray’s face go red with rage.
It was all banter and good fun, but to those passing by the judging room, the yelling and screaming sounded totally different.
Frilingos would make a comment to taunt Ray – and ‘Rabs’ would more often than not take the bait.
Pieces of paper – and the odd sandwich – would go flying around the room before things settled down and everyone had a laugh at the verbal jousting.
As a young journo, it was an honour to work with Ray on that one day of the year, when we picked the positional awards, coach of the year, rookie of the year and others.
He was kind, polite, knowledgeable and quietly spoken – except for those priceless few hours that we debated footy, fashion and friendships.
I’ve rarely met a more genuine person in the media – and here’s to a great life after footy, ‘Rabs’.
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