GREATER Western Sydney leadership consultant, and legendary Australian cricketer, Steve Waugh has revealed the three bouncers he bowled to the great Viv Richards in a Test match in 1988 as the turning point of his fledgling career.
In a fascinating, exclusive interview with AFL.com.au, Waugh and GWS captain Stephen Coniglio gave deep insight into the key pillars of leadership in team sports.
>> LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE PODCAST BELOW
Waugh, seen in the stands at GWS matches this season, provides his leadership expertise to the Giants whenever requested. His connection with the AFL's newest club initially came via his friendship with cricketer Gavin Robertson, who has been connected to the club since its inception, and subsequent dealings with Giants CEO Dave Matthews and chairman Tony Shepherd, have seen him become a "friend of the club".
"It's got a fantastic feel, this club … I'm on the sidelines if needed, if someone wants a chat re leadership," Waugh told AFL.com.au.
Coniglio, in his first year as captain of GWS after taking over from Phil Davis and Cal Ward, has been drawing on Waugh's experiences since 2016. Coniglio was a gun junior cricketer in WA where he made an unbeaten hundred in an under-age national championships final as well as playing first grade cricket in Perth.
"I, Cal and Phil went round to Steve's house to have a chat about the upcoming first finals series (in 2016)," Coniglio said in the AFL.com.au interview.
"I loved Steve's approach … one of the boys asked about pressure, and Steve said pressure is a privilege, it is what you make of it and he would rather focus on the opportunities that come from it than the pressure it can create externally."
Waugh's bouncer barrage at Richards in a Test match at the Gabba in 1988, even to this day in the eyes of some the world's most exciting batsman, transformed the then young all-rounder into an all-time great and was the starting point of Australian team dominance.
"I had been in the side for a couple of years and my place in the side was in doubt. I wasn't getting a lot of runs, and in the first innings I got out to a meek shot, got out to a short ball and popped it up to short leg," Waugh recalled.
"I got back in the change rooms and thought, gee, maybe I'm not good enough or I'm too soft and maybe I'm not meant to be here and funnily enough when we got back out in the field and we started bowling and I had the ball in my hand, something inside just came through.
"Maybe it was my natural instinct. I thought I've got nothing to lose here, I'm sick of us losing to these guys. We didn't bowl 'em enough bouncers. We took a lot but we didn't give much back, what an opportunity.
"Viv was batting and I decided to bounce him. I came in and bowled the first bouncer a fair way over his head. Viv laughed at it. I thought I'd do it again, bowled the next ball, got his attention the second time around, and as I walked back I thought: Bugger it, let’s do it, let's send a message to the West Indies that we are no longer going to be messed with. We’re going to give as good as we take.
"That third bouncer was probably the most significant, even though it went a long way over his head. It riled Viv. And I thought we've got their attention now, and we've probably got their respect.
"It was a turning point in my career and probably the team as well. I remember Viv a couple of years later saying he respected what I did. There are times in anyone's career where you have to take a bit of a gamble, step outside of your comfort zone, and try things that other people don't expect."
In the interview, Waugh said one of his lifetime favourite sports events was the epic Hawthorn-Geelong 1989 VFL Grand Final.
He also revealed his favourite players to watch. >> LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TO FIND OUT WHO THEY ARE
"I like the guys who get stuck in, and get down and dirty and mix it with the opposition. That is my type of player."