Whether it was representing his beloved Queensland on the football field or clowning around on The Footy Show, Paul Vautin has always been one of rugby league’s great characters.
The man they refer to as 'Fatty' started his professional rugby league career in 1979 when he arrived at Manly as a fresh-faced 20-year-old.
More than 10 years on, Vautin had become one of rugby league’s great players and achieved many of the game’s highest accolades - none higher than representing his country on 13 occasions.
Vautin captained Manly to a grand final victory in 1987, played in the Queensland State of Origin side from 1982 to 1990 and donned the green and gold 13 times from 1982 to 1989.
Fatty retired from rugby league in 1991, ending his career with Eastern Suburbs.
Despite putting the boots away, Paul’s larrikin nature and ability to 'tell it straight' saw him emerge as a rugby league commentator and successful public speaker.
In 1991, then Midday host Ray Martin and his then Executive Producer Gary Burns were looking for two larrikins for a weekly sports segment on Midday. Vautin was coupled with fellow punter and former Australian cricket player Simon O’Donnell for what became one of Australian television’s classic partnerships.
Two years later when the Nine Network were contemplating a rugby league show for its Sydney market, the newly appointed Director of Sport, the very same Gary Burns, knew there was one man who could pull it off – 'Fatty' Vautin.
Teamed with fellow internationals Peter “Sterlo” Sterling and Steve “Blocker” Roach, “The Footy Show” was born and immediately became a ratings success at Noon on Sundays. By the end of that year, Network executives had decided the program deserved a prime time berth to coincide with the rugby league finals’ series. Hence “The (primetime) Footy Show” was born.
Its success was obvious immediately. The following year, 'Fatty' and 'Sterlo' returned at 9.30pm with a panel of footy experts each week on Thursdays as well as noon Sundays each week with their distinctive interpretation of the week’s football matches. In addition, they also called three matches of rugby league a week for Channel Nine.
An endearing favourite since its debut, the Thursday night version of The Footy Show was picked up by Queensland in 1997.
Now in its 17th year, Paul is joined on The Footy Show panel each Thursday night by Peter Sterling, Andrew Johns and Wendell Sailor.
The father of three and grandfather of one is an avid golfer (handicap 4), punter and KISS fan.