AS one of Australian rugby’s most decorated players, Stirling Mortlock had the uncanny habit of being in just the right place at the right time. Now the former Wallabies captain is set to share what he learned from his 80-cap Test career. He joins Channel 10’s rugby coverage, making his debut as a sideline commentator. Mortlock will be working with ‘‘ the voice of rugby’’ Gordon Bray and another Wallabies hero, Matt Burke.
Mortlock (pictured, far-right) reveals how the team’s preparing and who he’s got his eye on in the coming Test series against the British and Irish Lions. Making the change from playing Test matches to calling them is a big move, are you nervous or excited? To be so close to the action and hopefully being able to convey that enthusiasm and atmosphere on the pitch is exciting. To be doing that alongside the likes of Gordon Bray, the voice of rugby and Matt Burke is a real honour. Obviously a different preparation for a game than when you were playing . . . As a player you have to be on top of your preparation and that’s what commentary is like. I’ve been watching a lot of rugby to make sure I’m across all the players and can offer informed opinions. Any calling games in the mirror or mocking up commentary from your lounge room? Closer to the game, I think we’ll get the chance to mock up some calls together, but no there hasn’t been a lot of me calling games in the mirror. Whoare the danger players for the British and Irish Lions? During the recent game against the Queensland Reds, there was a stand-out winger in George North, who is a man mountain and has put in two really strong performances. Then there’s Brian Driscoll (second most-capped union player in history). There was a question mark over whether he’s still got it. He’s proved he has. What do you think you bring to commentary as a former player, knowing how those verbal bullets can hit their mark? I’m really aware of being on the other side. You’ve got to have empathy. As I’ve only recently retired, I think I have that. Rugby union, Channel 10, Saturday, 7.30pm