Footy fever: It's game on for Broncos legend
AFTER 16 years of lacing up his boots as a footy player, Corey Parker now prepares for game day in a different way.
The retired Broncos legend is in his second year as a commentator for Fox League, Fox Sports' dedicated NRL channel.
"I'm one of the fortunate ones," Parker tells The Guide.
"To play the game for such a long period of time and now still be involved in the game both in Brisbane and at Fox League is pretty cool.
"On the commentary side of things you just tell it how you see it through the eyes of an ex-footballer.
"It would be silly of me not to look at guys like Andrew Voss and Peter Sterling and not take advice off them. One of the big things I did take out of all that is just be real, be you and don't put on a facade because you are going to offend some people but there's a respectful way of doing that."
So how does he feel about calling the shots when it's his former teammates on the field?
"At times it can be an upside because you might know some background about how that may have panned out, but other times you might have to give a comment that might be a negative one. You've got to give it; people don't want to see you sitting on the fence," Parker says.
"With TV in particular I think people can see through bulls*** very quickly. I've had to approach life after footy the same as I did when I was at footy. It comes down to the prep you put in your work."
Parker believes this year's competition will be the tightest it has been in years.
"Last year I think you could really split the competition in terms of the top eight and lower eight sides," he says.
"There's been so much chopping and changing of players this year on any given day a team could win the game. It's going to be a close one.
"I'm looking forward to seeing new players and new chemistry within teams. Obviously Cooper Cronk is at the Roosters now, Mitchell Pearce at the Knights, Jack Bird's at the Broncos, Ben Hunt is at the Dragons - some big name players have gone to different teams in really crucial positions."
What do Parker's most important critics, his four children, think of his new job on telly?
"If they had their choice they'd like to see Dad back playing again (laughs)," he says.
"My young fella starts footy this year actually and they're always telling me to go back and play. Obviously it's not as exciting (for them) watching me talking serious rugby league on the television."
The 2018 NRL season starts tonight when the Broncos play the Dragons at 6.50pm Qld, 7.50pm NSW. Fox League airs every round live and ad break-free during play.