BIGASK

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch - BY HOLLY BYRNES

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

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