Former Australian Test captain Michael Clarke has butted heads with rugby league reporter Phil Rothfield after claiming that if given the option, he would not have attended the annual Allan Border Medal — even if he was awarded the main accolade.
Clarke won the prestigious prize on four occasions — in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2013 — but speaking on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, the 41-year-old said he would not have bothered showing up if it wasn’t compulsory.
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On monday mornin, the former cricketer was queried by Rothfield about the St George Illawarra Dragons’ end-of-season presentation, where only three players attended.
Rothfield argued it was an absolute disgrace, and although Clarke agreed that it was a terrible look for the club, he sympathised with those who chose not to attend.
“I’ll say this Buzz, they are not enjoyable nights,” Clarke started.
“I think of Allan Border Medal, right. The Allan Border Medal was compulsory, that’s why I went. If I was given the option, even winning the Allan Border Medal, I wouldn’t have went.
“Because it’s never the end of season for us. With cricket, it’s a TV program, so everything on there is done for television.
“And then you’ve got media around the whole time, so you can’t unwind and drink because there will be a photo or a video and someone being pissed or under the weather, and then you’ve got to read about that the next day.
“And then we generally had to go on tour or play a Test match, so we couldn’t really drink anyway.”
Rothfield responded: “You know what, you’re backing up my argument.
“You didn’t want to go, but you went because it was the Australian cricket team.”
Clarke shot back: “No, we went because it was compulsory. We weren’t given an option. It’s in our contract, we had to go.
“I think the Dragons, maybe they were given the option that they don’t need to go if they don’t want to. I’m still saying players shouldn’t gone.”
Rothfield then started to suggest that not attending to Allan Border Medal would be disrespectful to the Australian cricket legend’s legacy, but Clarke wasn’t having a bar of it.
“I’m really surprised you’re saying this, in that Allan Border …” Rothfield started.
But Clarke quickly interjected: “It’s nothing to do with Allan Border, don’t go there Buzz.
“Allan Border’s a legend, he’s the godfather. I love AB. Don’t make it personal.
“I could go to Allan’s house and see him, I don’t need to go to Crown Casino to see him.
“Don’t make it personal, it’s nothing to do with the medal being called after AB.”
Rothfield laughed: “How did I know that you can me were going to have one final disagreement for the year?”
Dragons halfback Ben Hunt admitted he was upset with the turnout for September’s awards night, where 27 senior players failed to attend.
The event was rescheduled to a later date and fell at a time when players had been on annual leave since their season ended on September 3.
“It was a bit disappointing, in a way,” Hunt told Channel 9 in October.
“But a lot of players came to me when we found out about presentation night and mentioned they’d already booked holidays away.”
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