Sam Newman collected some of the biggest laughs at the MCG as tens of thousands gathered to send off Shane Warne.
Sam Newman collected some of the biggest laughs at the MCG on Wednesday as thousands of fans gathered to mourn the passing of Shane Warne.
Fox Sports host Mark Howard said Warne’s son, Jackson, told him to “just have fun” on the night commemorating the legendary leg-spinner, saying it’s “what Dad would have wanted”.
A flood of hilarious anecdotes from former players and friends followed, with ex-teammate Merv Hughes describing Warne as a “deadset bogan”.
Warne’s loveable charm kept him in the headlines for years on end, with comments on his dalliance with Advanced Hair Studio never far away.
Comedian Glenn Robbins and Newman shared tales about Warne, with Newman admitting he lost a few bucks on sporting wagers over the years.
“I think we just heard from Shane then. He was trying to blow your hair off your head. He‘s going to go, ‘I’m going to get Sam if it takes me forever’,” Robbins said, referring to the wind howling through the MCG.
“Mind you, it is my own hair,” Newman responded.
Newman went on to describe the times Warne took him zipping around in a sports car, describing the experience as “Shane training to be a Formula 1 driver”.
It was revealed on the night Warne was involved in a special wildlife conservation project with the United Nations — and Newman said what everyone was thinking.
“I tell you what, I’m finding it hard to get over, the United Nations are a part of this,” the former AFL star turned media personality said.
“I thought that is extraordinary. He’s actually infiltrated the United Nations and they are here. That is staggering.”
A representative from the United Nations had spoken earlier of Warne’s involvement with wildlife conservation initiative The Lion’s Share and announced “Shane Warne conservation grants” to “memorialise his service and catalyse more action”.
Then there were the expected cracks about the contents of Warne’s phone, with Newman again making plenty of jokes.
“I hope someone has impounded his phone so that no one can see what was on it,” Newman said. “We were treated to a cavalcade of incredible pictures.
“A round of golf in four-and-a-half hours — your eyes would be out like organ stops.
“For an old pensioner like me I tell you what, it was heart-wrenching.”
Later, after joking about Warne starring in a pasta sauce advert in Italy, in which the Spin King spoke Italian, Newman said: “I didn’t go out that often with Shane. We’re a little different generations but when I did I couldn’t understand what language he was speaking. And he spoke quickly and often.”
Warne’s father, Keith, was the first speaker at the MCG, paying an emotional tribute to his son.
“Friday March 4, 2022, darkest day in our family’s life,” he started.
“It was a day that our son, Shane Keith Warne, was tragically and suddenly taken from us. Our family loss of a loved son, a loving brother to Jason and a devoted father to Brooke, Jackson and Summer. And the world lost a much-loved cricketing legend whose feats on and off the cricket field will go down in history for all time.
“Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable. We do take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more in his life of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes.
“Your mother and I can’t imagine a life without you. You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us. And for being such a loving and caring son. Rest in peace, mate. Love you.”