I shall never forget day 2 of the Boxing Day Ashes Test at the G in 2012. It was the best day of cricket I had ever seen. It was cold and gloomy, yet 75,000 fans crammed into the ground still excited by Warnies’ 700th wicket the day before. Like most we were all nursing industrial strength hangovers.
I was in a group of 7 boisterous Queenslanders down for 2 days of the match.
The Poms had us in deep poop. Their attack was on song. Hoggard was making the ball sing and swing and Freddy Flintoff and Harmison were bowling like the wind. True express!
We were 5-84 when Roy strided out to join his mate Haydos. Symmo was already a cult hero of Aussie cricket…..an insane performer in one day cricket……but to be fair with an average of only 18 coming into this test, the pressure was really on him to perform.
With Freddy pushing towards 150km and Harmison set to whisk a few of those dreads hanging outa of the helmet…..there was a hush across the ground. Then slowly painstakingly over the next hour, these fisherman from the banana state…..started to knudge the singles through the infield. One giant stride and cover drive from Matt the Bat, set the crowd alight. Then Roy boomed one over cover for 4. I screamed out Queenslander!…..then over in the Great Southern Stand another bloke boomed out Queenslander….then another. Over the next couple of hours I lost my voice.
The boys ended up putting on 278 in what was the best partnership I have ever witnessed. To see two best mates, thrust their chests against the odds and this pace attack, turn it around then stick it right up them was terrific. Pure Test Cricket....in the greatest cricket ground on Earth. Just a couple of big barrell chested Aussies, taking on the World and slaying.
Many will remember Roy for many things…..the trademark white zinc on the lips….even at night haha. The outrageous dreads stuffed under the baggy green. The rifle like arm and undoubtedly the best out and infielder in the history of cricket. The man was a freak.
Keen observers say the streaker chasing allrounder could have played centre for the Broncos. Well maybe back in the shoulder charge era. But I always thought given time with Dennis Lillee he could have developed into a true speed machine. Roy had lighenting arm speed, insane torso strength and high twitch fibres. Like I said a freak.
The man brought thousands of fans through the gates. He was a superstar and an enigma. There was nothing on the field he could not do…..and at the very highest level.
Long after he hung the cap up Andrew starred in a TV show called Celebrity Splash, where contestants had to progressively dive high and higher into a pool. With not an ounce of false bravodo, Roy was open, honest and authentic. Showing fallibility and expressing fear. Of course he won the bloody contest. Queeeeeeeeeenslander!
There better be a ROY statue at the Gabba before the Olympics in 2032......with big farken while lips and long bronze dreads!
The World is devoid of superstars as open, authentic and unaffected as Andrew Symonds. We have been blessed and honoured to to witness his genius.
Taken too early.
RIP beautiful man.