Warren Ryan

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Warren Redman Ryan is an Australian former professional rugby league football coach and player. He is considered as one of the most influential rugby league coaches of the 20th century.[1] Ryan also played in the NSWRFL Premiership for the St George Dragons and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

He was formerly employed as a colour commentator by ABC Radio 702 for its Rugby League coverage. Ryan also regularly contributes opinion articles to the Brisbane Courier-Mail and Newcastle Herald.


Ryan was also an elite track and field athlete, representing Australia in the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in the Shot Put coming seventh in a field of sixteen with a throw of 51'8" (15.75m).[2] Ryan accredits his famous attention to detail in his coaching to his Czech-born track coach of this time.[citation needed]

Rugby league

Playing career

Warren Ryan was a St. George Dragons lower grade player. He played in the Dragons 1965 reserve grade grand final win, and appeared in first grade on a number of occasions as a replacement during 1966.[citation needed]

In 1967, he switched to the Cronulla Sharks in their debut season and became a regular in first grade, and was club Captain at different times during 1967–68.

In 1969 he moved to Wollongong Wests and had four seasons there, the final two as captain-coach. He captained N.S.W. Country in 1972.[3]

Broadcaster and journalist

Warren Ryan wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald for many years as a sports journalist. He is also a former member of the ABC Grandstand rugby league commentary team; where, rather than calling the match play itself, he supplied special comments throughout the broadcast.

After quoting a scene from Gone with the Wind, and referring to a character as described in the film as 'old darky', Warren was stood down from the ABC with his colleague David Morrow pending an investigation. The scene he referred to is the famous 'quittin' time' scene in which a slave calls quittin' time, presuming the role of the foreman, also a slave, to call quittin' time. Having asserted his rights, the foreman immediately calls 'quittin' time!' Ryan's reference to this scene, which he quoted literally, was to illustrate an incident which showed an apparent lack of teamwork between the referees controlling the game. Before an investigation could commence, Warren Ryan resigned. He had intended to retire at the end of the 2014 season, but brought it forward rather than endure the investigation. Ryan said, "The word used to describe the character was a direct quote from the film. There was no offence intended, so I won't be apologising. It would be insincere. Furthermore, there is no appeasing those who are determined to be offended. So that's it. I've had a long run and, for the most part, it's been very enjoyable."[4]

He proposed his own finals system, an alternative to McIntyre Final Eight and AFL, but it was not accepted.[5]

Outside sports

In April 2006, Ryan came to wider attention when his son, Matthew died of heart failure at age 24 following an overdose of the party drug, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB).[6]

Preceded by
Johnny Raper
Newtown Jets

Succeeded by
Brian Moore
Preceded by
Ted Glossop
Canterbury Bulldogs

Succeeded by
Phil Gould
Preceded by
Bill Anderson
Balmain Tigers

Succeeded by
Alan Jones
Preceded by
John Bailey
Western Suburbs Magpies

Succeeded by
Wayne Ellis (caretaker) then
Tommy Raudonikis
Preceded by
Malcolm "Mal" Reilly
Newcastle Knights

Succeeded by
Michael Hagan