How rock star became face of rugby league

Quayle then convinced major sponsor Winfield to fund the hiring of one of the biggest recording artists in the world.

Not long after, he found himself at Turner’s home in London, where she was strutting in front of him in various outfits for a day of filming at Fulham’s home ground. When she showed up in red hot pants, he announced: “That’s the one, Tina!”

With the NSWRL in decline, Quayle knew that if it was to survive, the sport had to grow and attract new attention, mainly women.

He wanted to make its biggest asset — the players — sexy.shark charm boy Andrew EttingshausenPlayed for Leeds United during the Winfield Cup off-season and was considered the man of the moment in the ad.

Quayle was left with only Gavin Miller and cliff lyonthey also play in England.

“When Tina walked into the cold dressing room, Cliffe couldn’t speak,” Quayle recalls with a laugh.

John Quill knew he had to make rugby league sexy.

John Quill knew he had to make rugby league sexy.

Quayle swears secrecy to Lyons and Miller. He didn’t want anyone to know about the ad. People around the game will soon start asking how much it costs. The only person NSWRL knows is the chairman Ken Arthurson.

A few days before his big-screen appearance at the new Sydney Football Stadium, Atherson received a call from rex mothorpebefore Mossop became a major broadcaster in rugby league, he coached at Manly.

“Tell me it’s not true, Arko,” Mossop said.


Tina Turner with John Quayle, Ken Arthurson and Roger Davis before the 1993 Finals.

Tina Turner with John Quayle, Ken Arthurson and Roger Davis before the 1993 Finals.Credit: NRL photo

“You have an American singer who’s a grandmother who’s going to be the face of the game.”

Axerson panicked and called Quayle. They suddenly realized the bet they were taking. What if they spent all that money on a campaign that didn’t work?

Instead, it was an instant hit. It was a game changer for Australian sport, which has never marketed itself like this.

The day before the first Origin State game that year, Davis called Quayle. He has another Tina Turner song, but it hasn’t been recorded yet. “I think it’s a sports song,” Davis said. “Why don’t you come to Los Angeles and listen?”

Quayle spoke with his board at the Lang Park series opener, and soon found himself in a recording studio in Los Angeles listening to Turner sing “Simply the Best.”

“I knew right away it was going to work,” Quayle said.

They signed Turner for the next five years, and she became the face of the NFL, the face of it, and a big spike.

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