Sports journalist Yvonne Sampson will join Fox League’s NRL 360 as the program’s co-host, stepping into the role permanently.
Sampson, who will co-host the show with Paul Kent, replaces inaugural NRL 360 host, Ben Ikin, who is leaving the program after 10 years to take on a new role as head of football at the Brisbane Broncos.
Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley said Sampson is the right choice for the hosting role at NRL 360, which is known to be the show for rugby league “purists” and “people who live and know the game”.
“Ben is very hard to replace,” Crawley told Fox Sports. “He is recognised as a voice of reason, youngest ever Origin player, played for Australia and you’d have to walk a long way to find someone that doesn’t like Ben Ikin and Vonnie is the same.”
“I watch people’s reactions to Vonnie and she is one of the very few prominent television people who isn’t criticised. I’m sure there has been some critical comment here and there – that’s life. She is very well accepted and that’s because of the way she presents herself on television. There is no tokenism. She is as authentic as there is. She’s earnt a place in the top bracket of Australian sportscasters.”
“This is a big gig NRL 360 – it’s the show for rugby league people. I’m not talking about just pay television but free to air and radio. There is no better rugby league show for the purists and people who live and know the game than NRL 360.”
Sampson has had a successful career in sports journalism and broadcasting, having worked at Seven on the Sunshine Coast, Sky News, Nine News in Brisbane, and Nine in Sydney. For years, she hosted the NRL and State of Origin with Nine, before joining Fox League in 2017, hosting multiple shows.
She was the first woman to spearhead Nine’s State of Origin coverage, and is now one of the most well-known media faces in rugby league.