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Andrew Symonds finished one of his final interviews with some haunting last words

The maroon 4×4 with the customized ‘ROY’ quantity plates rolled across the facet of the massive, spectacular home, pulled up in entrance of the storage, and out climbed the legend.

It appears that nowadays any athlete enjoying greater than a handful of first-grade video games of absolutely anything will get referred to as a ‘legend’, however no-one deserved that label as a lot as Andrew Symonds.

And no-one regarded the half greater than he did that day. He appeared fantastically match and powerful, barefoot, wearing a pair of shorts, a pink shirt with his title stitched over the breast pocket and an enormous stockman’s hat.

If ever a person checked out peace with himself and his atmosphere, it was him.

‘Hi,’ he stated protruding his large proper hand. ‘Call me Roy.’

When Mike Colman said he wanted to interview Symonds where he felt comfortable, the answer was obvious: on the cricket star's fishing boat

When Mike Colman stated he wished to interview Symonds the place he felt comfy, the answer was apparent: on the cricket star’s fishing boat 

Calling Roy an avid fisherman is a massive understatement. Roy had more than 100 fishing rods and a shed 'the size of an aircraft hangar' where he kept his angling gear

Calling Roy an avid fisherman is a large understatement. Roy had greater than 100 fishing rods and a shed ‘the scale of an plane hangar’ the place he saved his angling gear

It was December 2016 and I’d flown as much as Townsville to analysis {a magazine} article I used to be writing. Roy was about to begin a brand new chapter of his skilled life as a TV commentator and so he’d agreed to a uncommon sit-down interview.

Actually, that is not fairly proper. Roy did not sit down. He stood, on the prow of his 135-horsepower, five-metre boat, effortlessly flicking a lure from one of his 100-plus fishing rods in the direction of the mangroves half-submerged alongside the banks of the Ross River.

His spouse Laura had requested me earlier within the week the place I wished to do the interview.

‘Just anyplace he feels comfy,’ I’d stated.

To Roy that was a no brainer.

After the introductions had been over, he led me across the again of the home to the plane hangar-sized shed the place he saved his tenting and fishing gear, one other 4WD and his boat.

‘The bloke within the deal with store reckons there is likely to be some barra biting,’ he stated as he attached the trailer. ‘We’ll take the boat out, see if we are able to catch one thing and you’ll ask me something you need. It’s a pity you will not be right here tonight. I’m pulling up my crab pots.’

Symonds - seen here celebrating his first Test century in a famous Boxing Day Test innings - was a completely honest man. 'Nothing was an act,' said Mike Colman

Symonds – seen right here celebrating his first Test century in a well-known Boxing Day Test innings – was a totally trustworthy man. ‘Nothing was an act,’ stated Mike Colman

Symonds was upset Colman could not grasp round a bit longer so he could possibly be there when he pulled up his crab pots

As I wrote within the journal article, it was at this level I began to suppose that this was going to be one of the higher days of my working life.

And it was.

We did not catch something. Didn’t get a lot as a chunk, to be trustworthy, however simply being with Andrew Symonds was an unforgettable expertise.

It just isn’t typically you get to spend time with a totally trustworthy man.

By that I imply there was no artifice to him. Nothing was an act. What you noticed was what you bought, 100 per cent pure Roy.

That was what made him arguably the most well-liked sportsperson in Australia on the peak of his career within the late-Nineteen Nineties to mid-2000s. It was additionally what practically destroyed him.

You all know the Andrew Symonds cricketer tales: how he was essentially the most good fielder, aggressive batsman and charismatic persona that cricket had seen for many years. How he scored his first Test century with a straight six on his solution to 156 within the Boxing Day Test; how he hit a world-record 16 sixes in an unbeaten 254 for Gloucester (the last one touchdown on a tennis courtroom exterior the bottom), and the way he was a mainstay of two World Cup-winning sides.

In 2003 Symonds turned his career around with a typically aggro century to help Australia win the World Cup. A stunning run of success followed - but he never liked becoming one of the faces of the sport

In 2003 Symonds turned his career round with a sometimes aggro century to assist Australia win the World Cup. A surprising run of success adopted – however he by no means preferred turning into one of the faces of the game 

The 'Monkeygate' racism scandal led to the end of Symonds' playing career and left him disillusioned when Cricket Australia didn't back him in the same way he would back a mate

The ‘Monkeygate’ racism scandal led to the top of Symonds’ enjoying career and left him disillusioned when Cricket Australia did not again him in the identical manner he would again a mate

Then there have been the Roy tales: how he flattened a streaker who ran onto the Gabba through the final of a one-day sequence in 2008, how he fell out with his one-time greatest mate Michael Clarke, and the way he felt he had been let down by Cricket Australia over the so-called ‘Monkeygate’ affair.

It was that last incident, which noticed Australian cricket authorities put monetary and political expediency forward of sticking up for Symonds after he accused India’s Harbajan Singh of racial abuse through the 2007-08 sequence, that led to the top of his worldwide career. Disillusioned and disgruntled, he let the grog get the higher of him on greater than one event.

As former Australian coach John Buchanan instructed me through the writing of that journal story, that darkish interval in Roy’s life all got here again to the requirements he anticipated of himself, and of others.

Buchanan first skilled that facet of him on the finish of Australia’s 2001 tour of England when Roy pulled him and crew captain Steve Waugh apart and instructed them that he was retiring.

‘He instructed us he did not just like the crew tradition,’ Buchanan stated. ‘He stated he was trustworthy with folks, and he anticipated them to be trustworthy with him. He stated there have been folks within the crew that he did not suppose he may belief.

‘That was Roy. He is trustworthy because the day is lengthy and he ­expects folks to be trustworthy with him.’

Roy was incredibly popular with his teammates but in 2001 he told Test coach John Buchanan and skipper Steve Waugh he was retiring because he thought there were people in the Australian side that he couldn't trust. Thankfully, they talked him out of it

Roy was extremely well-liked with his teammates however in 2001 he instructed Test coach John Buchanan and skipper Steve Waugh he was retiring as a result of he thought there have been folks within the Australian facet that he could not belief. Thankfully, they talked him out of it

He was persuaded to maintain enjoying and shortly gained phenomenal recognition and folk-hero standing, which introduced its personal points.

‘He had so many sponsors and business commitments,’ Buchanan stated. ‘CA made him the face of the sport. I noticed him at a perform, and he regarded very down. He stated, “Mate, I just can’t get away.”‘

‘That was one thing he beloved a lot, to get away up north by himself or with a mate or two. Go fishing or looking, have a couple of beers with out anybody caring. That’s what he missed, what he wanted. He did not go for all that different stuff.’

Finally, Roy and Cricket Australia had a parting of the methods, however in 2008 he was thrown a lifeline – by India of all locations. For 5 seasons he starred within the Indian Premier League, incomes over $1.5million a year for six weeks’ work.

With Laura giving start to their daughter Chloe in 2013 – son Billy would observe two years later – Roy retired from cricket and completely embraced life in Townsville the place that they had moved two years earlier.

Symonds' wife Laura (pictured with him and their kids Chloe and Billy) said his home in Townsville was his 'paradise'

Symonds’ spouse Laura (pictured with him and their children Chloe and Billy) stated his residence in Townsville was his ‘paradise’

When I heard on Sunday morning of Roy’s dying in a automobile accident, that is the very first thing I believed of – the 4 of them trying so completely happy in a photograph that accompanied my article, and the look of utter contentment of Roy’s face.

‘He’s acquired every part he wants right here,’ Laura had instructed me that day. ‘It’s his paradise.’

He fished three days every week, performed decrease grades at Brothers rugby union membership for a number of seasons and was a religious North Queensland Cowboys supporter, having a field with some mates on the stadium and by no means lacking a house recreation.

The last time I spoke to Roy was last week. I used to be writing a narrative in regards to the current spate of idiots operating onto the sphere throughout NRL matches.

When it involves tales about floor invaders there’s actually solely one particular person you need to quote and that is Andrew Symonds, however that wasn’t the one cause I contacted him.

Colman spoke to Symonds about a week before he died. The topic was pitch invaders, a subject the all-rounder knew - and dealt with - very well

Colman spoke to Symonds a couple of week earlier than he died. The matter was pitch invaders, a topic the all-rounder knew – and dealt with – very properly  

I simply preferred speaking to him. Anybody would.

After that first outing on the boat 5 and a half years in the past, I’ve rung him in all probability 5 – 6 occasions. He wasn’t at all times a simple man to get maintain of. He suffered from what I’d name ‘cell phone aversion’.

You’d ring a couple of occasions and depart voicemail, then begin texting. After a pair of days there could be a ding in your cellphone and Roy would have are available from the chilly.

The words: ‘What do you need to speak about, Mike?’ would seem on the display.

You’d kind again and never get a reply for a pair extra days. You’d then attempt ringing once more and, for those who had been fortunate, like I used to be last week, he’d answer.

‘Oh, sorry, mate,’ he stated. ‘I’ve had an issue with my cellphone. I’m simply on my solution to but it mounted now as a matter of reality.’

We talked in regards to the floor invaders after which acquired onto extra critical stuff, like how properly the Cowboys had been going.

I requested him if he was going to be doing the commentary for Fox once more this season and when he stated he was, instructed him how a lot I loved it, with its combine of inside data and humour.

‘Oh properly,’ he stated modestly. ‘I’m simply attempting to get higher.’

Tragically, he will not get the prospect.

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