Set of six: Callers committing pronunciation nightmares

Justis Kamu questions whether league commentators need to improve their pronunciation of players' name, as well as five other issues from the latest round of the NRL.

1. League commentators could do with some pronunciation lessons

The NRL has the pleasure of being televised each week with some of the finest commentators in sport.

The legendary Ray 'Rabs' Warren, is competently supported by Gus Gould, Peter Sterling, and Andrew Voss.

When it comes to the delivery of the league package the insight, excitement and passion that this Australian bunch bring to television holds them among the elite in sports talk.

For all their expertise, emotion and poise that they bring to the microphone.

Their ineptitude to pronounce the names of its Maori or Pacific athletes on a weekly basis is seriously irritating.

Take for example Friday night's clash between the Eels and Tigers at Parrammatta Stadium which was called by league legends Darren Lockyer, Brad Fittler and co-commentaor Ray Hadley.

Tigers prop Ava Seumanufagai (Se-u-ma-nu-fa-ngai) trucked the ball into the heart of the Eels defence.

It was at this point Fittler was quizzed by radio shock jock Hadley as to the pronunciation of his name.

The two-time NRL champion simply referred to the head banded player as 'Ava' before remarking that the Samoan's surname was 'See you tomorrow Ava'.

Moments later Hadley tried to outdo the comic efforts of his colleague by quipping that Seumanufagai's name looked 'four-miles long' and could pass for a 'welsh railway town'.

These cringe-worthy comments show just how old-fashioned and out of touch some of the league callers are with the new generation of players in the game.

Every week a Maori or Pacific name is botched by callers who through their carelessness and ignorance try to Australian-ise these names for their own ease and comfort.

Sharks prop Sam Tagataese's (Ta-nga-ta-e-se) surname is regularly mispronounced to Tan-ga-teazy which sounds more Aussie than its Samoan roots.

Expecting callers to be experts in linguistics isn't necessary but at the very least some dignity and respect in their attempts to pronounce names should be expected.

In the early 1990s pacific players were seen as novel characters in the Australian competition.

In the 21st century with almost 30 per cent of NRL players of Pacific heritage, and a further 36 per cent in NYC the tanning effect in both competitions is a living phenomenon.

The numbers are higher when players of Maori descent are added to the mix.

With the statistics illustrating that the high ethnic mix in league is now the norm in the game.

It's a shame that those in the NRL and NYC commentary box appear disconnected with these fast-growing playing demographics.

It's imperative that they evolve their language skills to correctly pronounce Maori/Pacific vowel sounds to bring them up to date with the standard practices of a modern-day sports commentator.

We only have to look across to union caller Keith Quinn for his excellent pronunciation of Maori/Pacific names to understand why he is held in high regard by players and viewers alike.

Quinn's meticulous preparation to learn the intricacies of one's name only reinforces his reputation as an articulate, cultured, and studious spokesperson for union.

Ironically, the NRL promotes multiculturalism through the operation of player camps for pacific players, the NRL All Stars v Indigenous All Stars match and other 'cultural-awareness' programmes.

All these initiatives are implemented to celebrate and strengthen the identity and role of players from minority backgrounds to their communities.

They would be significantly aided by correctly articulating the basic form of one's identity - a person's name.

2. Warriors require five wins to make playoffs

The Warriors have dropped two in games in a row which has quietened the roar that could be heard from the Warriors Nation.

A bit of doubt may be creeping in amongst Warriors faithful with the Ivan Cleary coached Penrith Panthers coming to Mt Smart Stadium this weekend.

The Panthers too haven't had much luck in recent weeks although their winning ways have not been seen since round 19.

They are out of playoffs contention but with former Warriors Cleary, Lewis Brown and Isaac John back on their old home ground they won't be short of motivation to get one over their former teammates.

Revenge is on the menu for the home team as it was the Panthers who put them to the sword 62-6 the last time these teams collided in round 10.

This could potentially be the match of the round with the Panthers coming to Auckland with nothing to lose and the Warriors needing a win to live another week.

3. Tigers coach Potter to coach in 2014

One more season is what head coach Mick Potter has asked for and it looks like that its what he'll get with West Tigers CEO Grant Mayer stating that his two year deal will be honoured.

Their had been rumours in Sydney that Potters was the next coach to be sacked this season after former North Queensland coach Neil Henry was told that his services won't be needed in 2014.

Potter should count his blessings that he will have a head coaching job in the new year with the Tigers currently sitting 15th having won just six of their 20 games this season.

The Tigers are ranked 15th best defence conceding 531 points and 15th best offence scoring 291 points after 20 games this season.

He has not been helped by the massive injury toll (up to 14 injured) at the club and his failure to ignite the skills of superstar Benji Marshall to playing at his peak in 2013.

While some see the signing of young halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses to long term deals at the club as positive news for the club during this disappointing season.

It must be said that investing in halfbacks/five-eighths to make a sound return in the future is always a big risk considering that the transition from teenage prodigy to first grader is one that many young players have struggled with in recent times.

4. Hunt leading the way for the Broncos

Five years after winning the inaugural 2008 NYC player of the year, Ben Hunt is playing in his favoured position of halfback and has been impressive in the past three games.

Over the past two seasons, he has been in and out of the run-on 17, filling in as either a backup halfback or hooker.

Peter Wallace has blocked his path at the club and now with Wallace coming off the bench to play out of dummy-half, the stability they have longed for since Darren Lockyer's departure seems to have arrived.

Former NSW representative Wallace was a steady partner to Lockyer in the halves with their pair taking the Broncos all the way to the Grand Final qualifier in 2009.

However this season without the Australia, Broncos, and Queensland legend next to him he has looked very ordinary as the head half in charge.

Despite having a year to run on his current contract Wallace has been told by the Broncos management that he is free to look for a new club in 2014.

With the Broncs aiming to for playoffs football, Hunt will be out to demonstrate to the Broncos organisation that their future is in capable hands.

5. Sam Burgess enters hall of fame of dirty acts

Congratulations to Rabbitohs lock Sam Burgess who joined the NRL's dirtiest acts hall of fame on the weekend.

The latest inductee to this infamous class of of athletes, Burgess joins the likes of John Hopoate who stuck his finger up the backsides of three opponents in 2001 and Warriors prop Russell Packer who took a leak in the middle of Suncorp Stadium moments before kick-off.

Burgess, an England international, placed his hand between the legs of Storm centre Will Chambers and appeared to squeeze his testicles.

Chambers was left rolling around in pain unable to play the ball.

The NRL star was cited by the NRL match review committee for the incident after the referees and touch judges missed the incident during the match.

As a result of his lewd act, Burgess will miss the Rabbitohs next two games.

6. Team of the week - Round 22

1. Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)
2. David Williams (Sea Eagles)
3. Brent Tate (Cowboys)
4. Ben Roberts (Eels)
5. Kevin Gordan (Titans)
6. Jonathan Thurston (Cowboys)
7. Aidan Sezar (Titans)
8. Ryan James (Titans)
9. Ray Thompson (Cowboys)
10. James Tamou (Cowboys)
11. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
12. Matt Gillet (Broncos)
13. Glenn Stewart (Sea Eagles)

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