TGH Exclusive: Peter Psaltis humbled to bring joy to NRL players’ fans and families

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In a time where the roaring cheers of fans is left silent, attention is drawn to the men that carry the weight of the crowds on their backs. NRL commentators have been forced to “back their instincts this season” after fans disappeared from stadiums, following the COVID-19 restrictions.

Nine Network commentator Peter Psaltis has had over 9 years of NRL commentating experience, living locally in Queensland for his media career. While the job of a commentator is always difficult, Psaltis says the last few months have truly tested the skills of callers.

“Quite often when you’re calling a game, you use the crowds to gage your excitement,” Psaltis said exclusively to The Greek Herald.

“These days when there are no crowds, you’ve almost got to back your instincts, and the excitement too of your co-commentators.

“Sometimes in TV commentary, when there’s a big moment, you can quickly describe that big moment and let it breathe so you can hear the reaction from the crowd. But you can’t do that now, because there’s nothing there.”

Photo: Peter Psaltis Media

This difficult job isn’t left in the sole hands of Peter, however, with all NRL commentators fully supported by their co-callers, who know how to pick up a moment and take it on the horse.

“It’s great to know you’ve got the support of those around you, they’re all just absolutely brilliant. Brilliant to work with and that’s why they’ve done it for such a long time… the ultimate professionals.”

Grand Final days match no other

As sports presenter, you never know the level of excitement a match may bring. Arguably, it is up to the commentators to treat every match like a Grand Final, bringing passion to the viewers at home.

Peter describes the best moments of his career as being part of the team for Grand Final day. Not only big moments for players on the field but bringing excitement across to the friends and families of players is one of the most “humbling experiences”.

“I don’t want this to sound corny but I genuinely mean it. I take great pride when a relative of a player comes over and says ‘oh, love the way you called this player’, it just makes you feel really good,” Psaltis said.

Photo: Peter Psaltis Media

Peter was also fortunate enough to be the commentator for the inaugural NRL-W Grand Final, which he described as being “a big moment for the game”.

“Particularly when we’re talking Intrust Super Cup players or NRL-W players, who’s profiles are growing, it’s good that you can help people understand a bit about their story and where they’ve come from.”

Greek legacy in the NRL

Kytherians have held quite an important role in the NRL in the past 10 years.

Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Peter V’landys, has been one of the most influential men for the return of the NRL this season. Nick Politis, chairman of the Sydney Roosters, has helped take the team to a double NRL championship in the past two years, looking to take a third this season.

Also a Kytherian, Psaltis is proud of the high role that Greeks have held in the Australian game.

“I look at the different Greeks that have been in the media in the past…. I got to know the late Peter Frilingos. That was terrific to be able to work for such a long time on the Frilingos call team.”

Peter V’landys and Nick Politis.

Asked if there were any talented Greek players coming up the ranks in the NRL, Psaltis expressed his excitement for Cronulla Sharks player Billy Magoulias.

“I just love the way he plays the game,” Psaltis said excitedly.

“He plays in such a positive manner, good ball runner, and I can see him being a really good lock-forward or second-rower for many years to come”

While Psaltis is a big fan of the Greeks play style, the president of the Magoulias’ “fan club” is already taken by NSW Blue’s coach Brad Fittler, whose wife is also Greek. 

“I know the one person who absolutely loves him is Brad Fittler, so Freddie is president of his fan club but I’ll be vice president or something because he is one player, not just because of his Greek heritage but because he can play the game, which I absolutely love.”

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