Australia v South Africa – Hobart Test Day 4: Of Aesop’s goose, motivation and whose team is this anyway?

Australia 85 (SPD Smith 48*, VD Philander 5/21) and 161 (UT Khawaja 64, KJ Abbott 6/77)
defeated by
South Africa 326 (Q de Kock 104, HM Amla 47, JR Hazlewood 6/89)
by an innings and 80 runs 

Over a couple of Cascade Draughts, Blundstone Arena.


– I see the Blockheads are still playing.
– Almost the same blockheads as last time. But mate, these ones are symptoms. They’re not the cause.
– What’s the cause?
– The fking blockheads running the show.
– What do you mean?
– Those blockheads had a fking genius goose – a goose that laid golden eggs – eggs of public goodwill, TV ratings, story-telling, building a rich, articulate history over 130 odd years. Longer. 200 years.
– Right.
– And the blockheads in charge have fked it


– That’s another one out.
– Won’t make it to lunch here.


– How are the administrators responsible?
– Scheduling, mate.
– Scheduling? But, I mean, isn’t it just natural selection? People prefer T20, don’t they? So Test cricket and Shield get bumped.
– Mate. If this was competition, or natural selection between two independent bodies, then yes, it would be like natural selection.
– Two bodies competing for the same resources.
– Right. Like basketball versus cricket for an audience. Or tennis versus cricket. Or soccer.
– But it’s not.
– No. It’s cricket versus cricket.
– Yeah. administrators that have cannibalised first class cricket to prioritise T20.


– Got him.
– For fks sake.


– And scheduled the summer accordingly.
– And now the players are struggling to play first class cricket.
– On no preparation.
– The South Africans had no preparation either.
– Doesn’t help. And it’s not just THIS season. This is cumulative.
– And viewers are abandoning ship.
– On an absence of a summer story, of any meaning, investment.
– Combined with shite coverage fronted by egotistical barrackers masquerading as commentators.


– There’s another one.
– Fking procession.



– But whose team is this anyway?
– Huh?
– It’s like the soccer; club v country debate, but here, it looks like there is no debate. The T20 clubs are running the show.
– Yep.
– And the clubs are entities. Look at the Board of the Melbourne Stars: President Eddie McGuire, Deputy President John Wylie – corporate advisor, Trevor O’Hoy – high profile businessman…
– Right.
– Adelaide whatever they’re-called…
– Strikers
– Whatever. I have no idea who they are run by.
– Secretive?
– Melbourne Renegades: Jason Dunstall Chairman, Jaime McPhee CEO of ME bank, Chris Nikou Senior Partner of K&L Gates – a lawyer, Liam Pickering – sports marketing “no conflict here” manager, Paul Jackson – Westpac Bank executive…
– Right; so they “sign” players to their franchises, who wear their uniforms, emblazoned with advertising. I get it.
– But which person is it that decides that these franchises are gifted mid-December to late-January? Without so much as one shield game to interrupt their tiddlywink competition?
– Dunno
– This kind of decision is a serious decision.
– Sure is. Big ramifications.
– Doesn’t just happen.
– Financial ramifications.
– No. It needs serious lobbying.


– Another one.
– Surprise me.



– Right. So people stand to make a lot of money by having summer cordoned off.
– Right.
– So who are these people?
– Good question.
– Needs an answer. And where does the BBL money go? Like when you pay to go in? Or the ads when you watch on TV?
– And when there is a conflict with these people, who advocates for the Australian Test side?
– Whose team is this Australian side, anyway?


– Ahh.
– Well played South Africa.
– Well played Hobart.


– Their old golden goose is a bit crook now.
– Mate they don’t care. Yet.
– They pretend to care. But they think that everything is fine. They’re like “stay” campaigners or Hillary campaigners; their focus groups mustn’t have them worried.
– How about 9/151?
– How about TV audiences dwindling?



– One to go now.
– Don’t blink.


– That’s it.
– Indeed.


– Five straight Test losses.
– Let’s go through the batting collapses, shall we?
– Sure: 6/22, 9/52, 10/83, 10/86, and a nice closing brace of 10/83 and 8/32.
– And so the caravan rolls on to Adelaide and that headstrong pink ball fkwittery.
– That poor old goose.


See what Rulebook has to say in his much-read piece ‘Australian Cricket is Stuffed’ where he gives ten reasons Australian cricket is in the state it’s in.




About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Onya dave im off to adelaide for day one will it be a full day

  2. Peter Warrington says

    Waiting for Rod-oh!

    I’m glad you led out with this. I have been thinking similar, but different, more spatial than structural.

    It seems to me Shield is dead. No child understands the significance of the 82-3 Final at Perth. It’s an old man’s story.

    Partly states are dead. Cities are the future. everywhere in the world. Clubs and franchises focus on cities or regions, even half-cities.

    And there aren’t enough states. England get to see 40 openers in 20 counties. We get 12 from 6 states. NSW has a logjam of “quicks” – imagine if Cummins, Hazelwood, Bollinger, Copeland and Starc, and even Henriques, were all fit and available. No wonder people move states so much – they have no loyalty – why should we? (Was there anything funnier than the accusations that Watto was picked because he was from NSW?) Add Sandhu and Bird to that list.

    How other sports deal with:

    * state of origin! Imagine Shield, even if just two rounds a year, played on that basis? Determined by Grade debut.

    * super provincial comp, with conferences. NZ and SA. Once every 3 years, to start?

    * expand the Shield – add NT and ACT. Maximum import rules. Think about Hunter and North Coast. country Vic. Margaret River. Riverina. Can be tiered or promotion and relegation if required.

    * Barbarians/Cavaliers – get the fringe players out there playing 3 day games in regional centres.

    * Possibles v Probables, Australian XI games in Perth against the tour, B Tours to NZ (look at that 69-70 team. Legends!)

    If Shield is the answer to fixing the on-field stuff, I think it needs to admit it needs help. It’s a shame. It’s been an amazing comp.

    (Your take on the corporate fix that is the Bash is right on. Highly disturbing : ( )

  3. A former player might have named book of this episode: “How to Kill a Goose”

    TV – love it. Full in many ways.
    PW – spatial – good call. Marketing people will look to population trends, demographics, disposable income, etc, in deciding this. The same people who say no to an AFL side in Tassie. But from a competitive angle it works. From a fixturing angle it works. More games in town. Expect a phone call.

  4. G’day mate!

    Why do cooperations only care about money? I don’t understand. Sports can’t be played without players and fans. These business people destroy sports. We should enjoy the joy and pleasure of the sports. Such egos made by cooperates ruin players. Then media blames players for bad performances. Maybe cooprates don’t have much power in South Africa?

    Switching codes must be very hard for cricketers. I was required many different types of responsibilities at the last job. It’s really hard and then my performances at the last work were not good, especially in the last several months. Sadly like your cricketers in the test matches against SA.

    Scheduling should be priorised for players. As Rohan Connolly raised on SEN, it has to be sorted out before blaming cricketers. And we should allow them to rebuild to be more competitive.



  5. – Yeah. administrators that have cannibalised first class cricket to prioritise T20.
    OBP to me that is the crucial line how administrators can not work out that the game must come 1st not money and guess what if the game dies at TEST and shield levels so will 20-20 in the long run.
    Jamie McPhee was captain of the aust under 19 team when the batting line up was
    M Waugh,M Taylor,D Ramshaw( wa and vic )Mc Phee,D Buckingham ( Tas) S Waugh,R Soule ( Tas )
    C McDermott and D Hickey ( Vic and SA ) also played it was a fair side! Jamie McPhee should have played
    1st class cricket but concentrated on work instead.

  6. G’day Yoshi – thanks. You and I can see the difficulty in switching “codes.” That’s a good idea to paint an analogy with your own workplace. That kind of thinking probably missing from decision-makers in cricket.

    Thanks OBP.
    The whole scenario is incredibly clear and predictable.
    And it was predicted.
    The range of people dipping their oars into BBL is interesting. Very interesting.

  7. Peter Warrington says

    Jamie McPhee! Wow, we played against him at the 86-7 Intervarsity. Boy he could stroke the ball. He also caught me on the deep cover boundary at Dave Phillips having placed himself there the ball before (shot control never my strong suit.)

    But the mighty UNSW went home champs (home, even though the final was at the Village Green.) Greatest day of my non-parenting life! (McPhee a good drinker, too, as was compulsory in Intervarsity selection.)

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Respect for AESOP ER. If they can’t get Australian cricketers to read the book, the cartoon series is an option. Greed is the root of much that is skewed in the world.

  9. In a world that’s obese on entertainment options cricket must be the only one cannibalising itself. Cricket v cricket? And orchestrated entirely by the sole governing body.

    Another great dialogue Er. You always channel blokes I know…

  10. PW – caught on the deep cover boundary at the 86-87 Intervarsity is an impressive way to go.
    Remembering the detail of it 30 years later even more impressive.
    There must be a story or three in there. Love it.

    P Dimitriadis – donations of Aesop picture books; the sort with cardboard pages; now underway to CA HQ.

    M Randall – Imagine having the keys to the cricket car. I wonder can these with the keys now NOT see what they are doing? Brett Geeves wrote a forceful piece on the demise of domestic cricket yesterday = published at Fox Sports.

  11. Peter Warrington says

    deep cover was where I did all my best work. sort of Brett Lee-ish,. slight step to leg, full swing, like my golf swing. worked when it worked.

  12. Peter Warrington says

    Geeves is good but Chappell was very worried about states with more money clogging their lists. Cosier talks about SA not being willing to pick anyone over 30 in his day if they weren’t in the national team.

    I think there is merit in both positions. but i side with Logan’s Runners if forced to choose.

  13. sounds like they might pick my proposed team for the first test? get me on the panel…

    i would support the inclusion of V Holder, so we could have a panel Van…

  14. John Butler says

    Who does get that Big Bash money? One of many excellent questions raised here, E Reg.

    Trouble is, even a mug like me could see this coming years ago:

    You’re right. The players are just symptoms.

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