RIP to Tina Turner, Winfield Cup icon

Farewell to the lady who brought us the Nutbush, the good bits of Beyond Thunderdome, and the much-needed advertising campaign Australian rugby league had never had in it’s 81 years of existence, starting from 1989 with What You Get Is What You See:

Hertz Walpole helped put this together with the NSWRL, and what an almighty winner it was

Then you get to 1990 and the unveiling of ‘The Best’, forever unmatched in not just rugbaleeg advertising, but sporting advertising, despite the great success of That’s My Team by the Hoodoo Gurus during the 2000s:

The ’91 version of The Best:

A fun fact about ‘The Best’, that has been largely forgotten, is that it was originally released by Bonnie Tyler in 1988, but charted as a minor hit in everywhere except Norway – Turner covered the song in her 1989 album Foreign Affair, adding a bridge to the lyrics and changing key, which resulted in the song charting in the Top 5 in well over a dozen countries, and becoming a staple of Turner’s catalogue.

After the success of 1990-92 came the version of ‘The Best’ in a duet with Jimmy Barnes to promote the ’93 Winfield Cup, which also featured Jimmy’s brother-in-law Diesel with a guitar solo:

That year also saw Turner perform the pre-game entertainment for the Winfield Cup Grand Final, oddly enough minus Jimmy after their performance together, and Turner presented the trophy to Allan Langer after the Brisbane Broncos knocked off St George for the second year running:

And such was Turner’s popularity that she was getting photos with players from the losing team… I think you can spot a young Gorden Tallis:

The ’94 promo, making great use of Turner’s Grand Final performance:

And this was the last Winfield Cup promo from 1995, given the Winfield Cup was struck from existence due to the ban on tobacco advertising from the start of 1996, although it actually used footage from Turner’s 1993 visit to Australia:

Sadly, after the end of the Turner-led advertising campaigns, rugby league went on to self-mutilate itself thanks to the Super League war, undoing years of good work from Proud Mary herself.

Another story involving Tina Turner and Australian sport was that Turner performed the post-race entertainment for the 1993 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide, given she was performing her Australian leg of the What’s Love tour, which had encompassed the aforementioned Winfield Cup Grand Prix.

Ayrton Senna, who won his 41st and final Grand Prix that day, unexpectedly appeared on stage.

Appropriately, Turner performed an encore of ‘The Best’ as a tribute to the Brazilian.



Simply the Best.

Categories: NRL

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