SCG Test, Australia v India – Day Two: Good Blokes

Australia: 7 (dec) / 572

India 1/73.


No matter how well you and I live, no matter how charitable in our giving we are, no matter how honest we are in our relationships, no matter how reputable and principled we are in our dealings, it will never be enough: it is a sad fact that has become apparent to me whilst listening to the Channel 9 “commentary” this summer – you and I will never be as good as the good fellas inside the Australian cricket tent.

To be one of these good fellas, you have to either play, or have played, for the Australian mens’ cricket team (which immediately precludes over half of the population from ever getting the chance to be a good bloke – or sheila). For don’t you know that the players in the Australian cricket team train harder and work at their game more fastidiously than the average Joe or Joanne could ever contemplate? Why, Dave Warner even remarked after Day 1 that he was hoping his mate Shane Watson would go on to score a century because the latter worked harder and longer on the training track than any of his teammates (which, by inference, makes Watto the hardest worker in the land).

When you cast a casual eye over our team, you should be very proud of this bunch of good fellas. Smithy is a good bloke who has taken his game to another level since assuming the captaincy. Rogers and Lyon are not exactly the very best blokes, but they are nonetheless good blokes – because that honour is an invisible halo, hovering atop the baggy green cap when it is presented. Mitch and Shaun Marsh are destined never to be over criticised for fear of upsetting their father, who was and is a great fella. The gum-chewing Brad Haddin has been a good bloke for as long as anyone can remember. And Ryan Harris…well, everyone loves this wag. Despite his failings, the afore-mentioned Watto is still a good bloke (“He is hitting them well in the nets” – Michael Slater in Brisbane; “The whisper from the dressing-room is that he is ready for a big score” Slatts again in Melbourne).

But, somewhat amazingly, there is a place which is chock full of blokes who are even better blokes than those great blokes representing our country on the field of play! The air is so rarified, the banter so witty, the back-slapping so thunderous, and piss-taking so continuous, that mere mortals such as you and I could not even in our wildest dreams be permitted entry into this exclusive lodge (especially so if you are a female). This special place is known as the Channel 9 commentary box, and it is within its confines that these excellent blokes discuss all manner of things – man-scaping, post-playing weight-gain, pizza-toppings and, occasionally, the cricket which is playing out before them. A baggy green with the god-bloke halo is mandatory if you wish to enter – although Mark Nicholas (a good bloke for a Pom) and James Brayshaw (son of a good bloke, and nearly a good bloke himself) have managed to squeak through the door. Meg Lanning, an Australian captain, was once allowed in but permitted to speak only briefly.

The self-indulgent nature of these good blokes was exemplified in the first over of yesterday’s play, whereupon the viewer was treated to ten-month-old footage of Shane Warne facing up to Brett Lee in a Lord’s charity match. It was irrelevant, but who cares? These blokes certainly don’t. By the third over of Day 2, Warnie had spotted a banner reading “Marry Me Warnie” which gave this greatest of blokes licence to expand on his single status and asked potential “candidates” to tweet him. All this while the cricket was playing on.

Toward the end of the day, a discussion developed about the Australian cricket team. However, this was not a thoughtful, analytical dissection of the relative merits or otherwise of the players’ abilities, techniques or temperaments. No. This was a bunch of good blokes determining whether each of the players fell into either the “nerds” or “julios” camp. It was dressing-room humour at its finest…playing out to millions of television viewers who could not have cared less.

I  tried to understand, but just could not grasp it. And, I guess, that is why I will never be as good a bloke as these good blokes.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Smokie totally agree , it seems to be a after thought for the majority of them , that there is actually a test match being played in front of them and which they are supposed to be the commentators . Radio is my preference , just wish it was in sync with the TV , must admit I flick between the abc and aa depending who is on again avoiding too much self indulgent crap . Ian Brayshaw was almost a good bloke and closer to being a good bloke than , James Brayshaw . Imagine if we could all have a dollar for the line I hear he is smashing them in the nets and a big score is around the corner , thanks Smokie

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I’m with you Smokie,
    Commentary in Footy and Cricket has become a pukefest of glib blokeyness and injoke familiarity. Like Rulebook, I’m sticking to the wireless from now on.

  3. When I listen to the 9 cricket commentary ( and they seem tsis series to have made a conscious decision to say more per over than less) I feel the same way I am when listening to the MMM football coverage, that i have somehow eavesdropped on a private converstaion between friends, where I can vaguley follow what they are talking about but don’t know the history or anecodtes myself. The commentary seems to be internally not externally orientated of focussed, not there to tell me what’s happening, more to listen alongside. I feel I’m at the next table at the pub, amused by the good time they are having but not contributing to my own evening.

    Only exceptions seem to be Chapelli and Taylor occassionally looking for rule changes, which are ignored by those wanting to get back to banter, or when Chappeli does his ‘in my day’ bit. Warne, for someone very wise about the game, can’t seem to shut up sadly


  4. The People's Elbow says

    Am I to read into this that you don’t care for James Brayshaw waxing lyrical for around an hour about the biscuit-cooking prowess of Mark Taylor’s wife?

  5. G’day Smokie,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on cricket coverage. As I am in Japan and cannot get live coverage, I cannot see what commentators say.

    But it is sad to hear there is such areas where only current and former test cricketers are allowed to be. That’s shame.

    If I have the same thoughts about the TV coverage, I would switch on TV with mute and turn on radio at home.

    I feel that many audience are sick and tired of media coverage of sports these days.

    Here in Japan, problems of live sport coverage are:
    a) baseball games are not covered fully by free to air TV stations; and
    b) many entertainers (singers, actors and etc.) are in commentary boxes for live sport coverage. Those coverage is totally rubbish and ruin sports.
    But I do not follow any Japanese sport any more because I prefer footy, soccer (A-League and EPL; not Japanese ones) and cricket.

    I am reading the Footy Almanac 2014 and enjoy funny and interesting reports. The best one is Essendon versus Carlton (Round 3) report. It is hilarious!!



  6. Michael Crawford says

    Darren, sorry, Smokie (good bloke that you are), I totally agree. However, there is no safe refuge to be found on the wireless either, as evidenced in the last half hour last night. I tuned in to ABC driving home from work as Danny Morrison (a Kiwi good bloke?) and his co-commentator (couldn’t pick who it was, but also sounded like a good bloke) were going on and on about scones with jam and cream and whether the jam goes on top of the cream or the cream on top of the jam! Give me strength. It took me 10 mnutes to find out what the score was (admittedly play was pretty slow late yesterday). Even the doyen, Jim Maxwell, picked up the scones and with jam and cream thread when he took over from Morrison. And then they started talking about pumpkin scones! Maybe they were trying to match Warnie’s pizza topping dribble from the last match. Can we get Alan McGilvray back?

  7. Bang on here Smokie. Absolutely correct. It’s a cult and it’s the same on twitter; a veritable smorgasbord of self-appointed cricket celebrities, self-indulgently back slapping away in a frenzy of inner-circle blokey-ness.
    Brayshaw and Slater are an absolute nightmare to listen to. Shocking. Then you get the ads about rubbish television shows like the Block and they sit there calling themselves “blockheads” and recounting personal (blokey) stories, seemingly related to public interest (but not), exclaiming how everything associated with channel 9, and them, is simply wonderful. The air of familiarity behind it all is awful to listen to.
    Michael Crawford, the other participator in that heavy hitting conversation about scones was Ed Cowan.

  8. Agree with Frank (Michael Crawford) here,
    I’ve been very disappointed with ABC coverage this year. Thoroughly enjoyed it last year. New additions have been found wanting, hard to keep listening for more than 10 minutes. Few options about.

  9. Geez, stop underselling yourself Smokie, you’re a ripping fella mate. One of the all-time greats, we love you up here. He’s THE GREAT MAN, you do so much off the field that goes unreported mate…

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Agree with Michael, although I do miss Skull on the ABC, even though he could be accused of many of the faults raised here.

    I’ve tended towards the Fairfax Radio (3AW here), Tim Lane is still my #1 and Chappelli bobs up each hour or so. Citrus Bob’s mate Blowers would be better if he could get the players’ names correct. Occasional pearls from Matthews and Fleming, but you’ve got to wade through a bit of dross. Embers is pretty line and length. Main problem is not the intrusiveness of the sponsors’ names, but the commercials at the end of each over which often shut down a good anecdote or opinion and spoil the flow.

  11. I have to be careful about what I say about the ABC and today I have to be much more careful than usual.

  12. Love it Smokie – terrific stuff. Some of the crap that’s been coming over the airwaves this summer has been so bad I’ve actually turned off. Though I do like Tim Lane and “dear old chap” Blowers who keeps referring to the “Harvey Newman” scoreboard instead of Harvey Norman. Hilarious.

  13. Like JTH I can only say no comment on the comment.
    Too much at steak.
    C9 – can’t remember last time I had the sound on for the cricket.
    My ABC colleagues would be better just doing their own thing instead of trying to copy the “Comedy Capers” of the mirror boys.
    Stick with it Smokie we might even set up our own station

  14. Where’s the Almanac cricket podcast series? What gives Baker et al the right to have a summer holiday like the rest of us?

  15. Matt Quartermaine says

    Smokie, what’s cricket commentary coming to when Bill Lawry was the voice of reason during the Melbourne test? “Back to talking about the cricket fellas.”

  16. Dave Brown says

    Yep, with you on Ch 9. The even better news is that every evening now, there is a bunch of equally good blokes on Ch 10 that love pink shirts and watching a replay of Brett Lee hitting a six.

    On ABC, have actually been enjoying Ed Cowan and, most of the time, Danny Morrison. Jarrod Kimber also more than listenable. They occasionally talk about technique and what is happening in the world of cricket. You can almost hear how carefully Cowan is choosing his words.

  17. John Butler says

    Once you’re a bloke you’re a bloke all the way,
    From your first cigarette
    To your last dyin’ day.

    Or so it would seem…

  18. Smokie
    All the matey stuff is nauseating at best. It just a reflection of the on field hugs and kisses that permeates every wicket and hundred. Honestly I don’t reckon you would have a drink with any of them, particularly Warne and Warner. I reckon they most likely hates each other guts but we know what happen when you don’t fit in with the club. Banished for the rooms into cricket purgatory

  19. Geoff Lemon in the AUS Guardian today on “How Ch 9 is destroying a legacy.”
    Special mentions to J Brayshaw and B McNamara.

  20. “James Brayshaw has the emotional depth of a sock puppet during a button shortage.” What a line by Geoff Lemon!!! And to his line I add, the puppet is inhabited by amputees stump!

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