NRL 2023: League Immortal Wally Lewis stands down as Nine News sports presenter, health issues

Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis is set to end his 24-year run as Nine News sports presenter, revealing health issues have forced him to step back.

TV Blackbox reported that the Queensland Origin legend would give up his presenting duties “effective immediately”.

The report says Lewis “will not return to the studio in 2023, but will remain with the network”.

Lewis has worked for Channel 9 since joining the network in 1999 after a short stint on Channel 7.

“My health has made decisions for me in the past so it’s my turn to make decisions for my health,” Lewis said.

“While I’ll take more of a back seat role in the studio, 9 News viewers can still expect me to keep them up-to-date on the highs and lows of local and international sport, and of course share my weekly NRL tips.”

Despite paring back his work requirements, Nine has been in negotiations to keep him in the Nine “family”, and he won’t be completely retiring just yet.

“Beyond 9 News, I’ll continue to call WWOS home, and there are some special Nine programs in the pipeline that I’m also ready to tackle alongside my ongoing involvement with the QRL and FOGS (Former Origin Greats),” he said.

“It’s safe to say that no two weeks in my calendar will look the same this year, which is what I’m looking forward to most.”

Nine Queensland director of News Amanda Paterson said while he may not be on-screen as much any more, he would continue to work behind the scenes.

“The King is well and truly here to stay. He continues to live up to being a legend on and off the field, and whether he is on the newsdesk or not, viewers will still get to welcome the Wally they know and love into their living rooms,” Paterson said.

“Wally is such an integral member of our newsroom and we are privileged to have him on our team. His health is and has always been our priority, so we are proud of him for making the call to put himself first.”

Lewis has had health issues involving his brain in the past and lived with epilepsy throughout his career.

He also had surgery on his brain after a seizure while reading the news in 2006.

But speaking to News.com.au earlier this month, Lewis said he didn’t regret anything about his rugby league career.

“We have this little tag in rugby league where they call rugby league ‘the greatest game of all’, and it was an absolute thrill and absolute privilege to play that game,” Lewis continued.

“But for a lot of guys, they wish that they could have done so without suffering severe head knocks.

“But it’s part of the game and there may be some guys that are a little bit angry with the outcome of their career. But to be honest, ask us if we change anything in the game and they’d all say we won’t change a thing.”

Lewis also revealed his 92-year-old father had dementia, calling for people to discuss their wishes for their funerals with their families.

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