Aaron Finch walks out for the toss
Ryan Pierse / © Getty Images


Aaron Finch has got a bloody great job

Australia's white-ball captain came from small-town Victoria to lead his country. It hasn't been roses all the way but he's not complaining

Melinda Farrell  |  

Aaron Finch feared he'd pissed his career away almost before it had begun. Off a balcony into a garden, late on a Brisbane winter night.

Fledgling cricketers often walk on a knife edge, many falling off the wrong side into wasted opportunity and obscurity. The teenager from a small country town was terrified he had slipped into the abyss.

Sent back to Victoria after being kicked out of a camp for the ill-judged pee, 20-year-old Finch also copped an eight-week ban from his state. Senior players, recognising his potential, took him under their wing and he was given strict fitness targets. He put his head down, got to work, and met every goal in half the time needed.

Finch first wielded a bat at his family home in Irrewarra, a small country community about 150km south-west of Melbourne, with a double-digit population, a world away from the floodlights and cacophony of the MCG. His father, Gary, was a butcher working at the local abattoir and his mother, Sue, took a range of administrative jobs to help provide for their four children.

The three-acre property was a rural paradise for Finch, his older brothers Mathew and Jason, and his younger sister, Jessica. While cows grazed at the back of the house, the front yard was a kid's sporting precinct, with perfectly positioned trees serving as goalposts, a cricket pitch and a golf net, conveniently doubling as a stand-in wicketkeeper ("automatic wiki" in Australian slang). It was here Finch played and dreamed of one day playing Australian Rules Football for Geelong or cricket for Australia.

Aaron goes boom: Finch is seventh on the list of most prolific six-hitters in List A, T20 and first-class cricket combined, with 673

Aaron goes boom: Finch is seventh on the list of most prolific six-hitters in List A, T20 and first-class cricket combined, with 673 Mark Dadswell / © Getty Images

"It was a clay-base surface," Finch recalls. "We used to get the roller out and roll up pitches, but as soon as there wasn't rain for a day it would get massive cracks in it. It was like the old WACA - uneven. It was like corrugated iron up against the hay shed. It was really cool, actually.

"If you hit a good lofted cover drive, it was straight through mum and dad's window. If you hit it through square leg, you ended up in the long grass at the front of the paddock and it took forever to find. We had this massive golf net that we set up as an automatic wiki, because if we kept getting dints in the hay shed, Dad would lose it. And then it ended up being a big slips cordon because if you nicked one and it went into the hay shed then it was literally finding a cricket ball in a haystack.

"They're my first memories of cricket, being beaten up by my brother and never being allowed a bat. if I did ever get a bat, I'd last one or two balls and have to bowl again. I think that's why I've become a batsman because I just didn't get to do it enough growing up. Either Jason would crack the s**ts and say 'No, I'm not bowling' or 'If I'm not batting I'm not playing anymore.' So I had no choice really."

Finch hates tardiness. He prefers to arrive an hour early and sit in his car rather than keep people waiting. "If something starts at nine, I'll be there at 8," he says. "I don't care. Just the thought of being late stresses me out so much."

The need for promptness was instilled in him at an early age when his father would wake him at 4.30 in the morning and drive him to Melbourne for training, tryouts or matches.

"You accept [being dropped], you use it to make yourself better so that next time you're selected, you're in a position where you're trying to make yourself undroppable" Ryan Pierse / © Getty Images

It was remarkable Finch even found his way into the pathway system; his public primary school in nearby Colac didn't have the sports programmes or pedigree of those in Melbourne (or even of those in Geelong, closer by), although the town had produced one Test cricketer in the past - a member of Don Bradman's Invincibles, bowler Bill Johnston.

Finch describes himself as "a pain in the arse" for his teachers. "I was that kid [for whom] on every report card it said, 'Aaron is quite good when he applies himself, but he distracts others when he gets bored.' If I wasn't interested, I was trying to make sure that I had someone to partner with to cause a bit of a stir."

At 11 he almost missed his first representative opportunity to play for his state in the Victorian Primary School team, because he was already playing against more senior players. "We didn't have an Under-12 competition [in the district] so from a young age I played U-14s on a Friday night, and I played U-17s on a Saturday with my brother. So no one really thought to invite me to any of the practices or the tryouts because I'd never played U-12s."

The oversight was rectified and Finch's talent recognised, his batting prowess ensuring he entered Victoria's pathway system. More honours followed through representative age squads and that meant frequent commutes to the city for training camps and tryouts. The long journeys to Melbourne, and the dressing rooms, often populated with boys from private schools or wealthier city clubs, left Finch feeling he was something of an outsider.

"They'd always have the really good gear," he says. "They'd have all the new stuff. And that was just unachievable for our family. Looking back, the amount of time and money and effort that my parents devoted to something that I wanted to do was unbelievable. It's not until you get a little bit older that you appreciate what they sacrificed for me to have that opportunity."

By 2007, 20-year-old Finch had progressed through the system, impressing with his powerful strokeplay. He was selected to attend a joint Cricket Australia-Australian Institute of Sport programme in Brisbane with other emerging players, where he shared a riverside apartment with Luke Ronchi and Phillip Hughes. Finch and Hughes, who shared a rural upbringing, were particularly good friends and both were earmarked for a bright future. David Warner and Mark Cosgrove were among the players in the camp, and they roomed together in another apartment in the complex, which became the place where players gathered to socialise. "Not a party room, but that's just where everyone would sort of congregate," Finch says.

Finch and Phillip Hughes (right net), both from rural backgrounds, were good friends from the time they met at a CA programme in 2007

Finch and Phillip Hughes (right net), both from rural backgrounds, were good friends from the time they met at a CA programme in 2007 Stu Forster / © Getty Images

The camp provided a valuable opportunity for his fledgling career and he threw himself into training and improving his fitness, giving up alcohol for the duration. After eight weeks he decided to have a night out that would ultimately threaten to derail his career.

"I came home, we're on the ground floor, and I don't smoke anymore but I was [smoking] at the time, so I must have gone out, had a cigarette and come back in," he says. "I remember I'd had a few - I'd had a lot actually - and I peed off the side of the balcony. Remember, I'm 20 years old. Anyway, no one mentioned anything."

Several weeks later, the complex manager complained about the condition of the room occupied by Warner and Cosgrove.

"We'd just finished our Emerging-Players games against India and South Africa and the boys all went up there for a few beers and left the room pretty messy," Finch says. "So they got kicked out for that and the [manager] said somebody pissed off the balcony about six weeks earlier. I remember standing next to Hughesy and he said, 'Yeah, that was you.' And I was like, yeah, s**t, okay. So I went up and said, 'Look, are you referring to someone outside doing a wee? That was me. I'm really sorry, apologies." He said, 'Yep, no worries, thanks for that.'"

Shortly after, Finch received a call from Michael Brown, CA's acting chief executive, to say he was also expelled from the programme. "I got lumped in - they said we'll just put it all under one banner."

Finch led by example in the 2019 World Cup, averaging 50, with two hundreds and three fifties - including this 82 against Pakistan in Taunton

Finch led by example in the 2019 World Cup, averaging 50, with two hundreds and three fifties - including this 82 against Pakistan in Taunton David Davies / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Finch returned to Victoria only to find he also faced a state ban. "For peeing off a ground-level balcony, peeing in the garden, I thought it was a bit harsh," he says. "At the time you just think that your career is over. You just feel as though your whole world is caving in and your chance to play cricket for Victoria is over."

If you were to ask a casual cricket fan to name the captain of the Australian men's team, they would likely answer Tim Paine. The long-standing joke about the prime minister having the second most important job in Australia, just behind the men's Test captain, highlights the particular standing awarded to the boss of the baggy greens.

Captaincy of the national white-ball teams has been shared around more liberally, partly due to the large number of series played, subsequent schedule clashes, and the suitability of some players for one format over another.

This should have been Finch's year - captain of Australia, leading his country in a T20 World Cup, hoping to celebrate victory on home soil after years of preparation and planning. It would have provided the opportunity for international white-ball cricket to take centre stage in a country where it sometimes struggles to make the same impact on the national cricket psyche as the longer version. One only needs to look at the standing of Eoin Morgan in England since their successful run in limited-overs cricket in general, and their home World Cup victory in 2019 in particular, to see how the wider public embrace winners when they're the biggest show in town.

Instead, Finch spent several months locked down at home in Melbourne, the city hit most hard in Australia's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, waiting to see which series or tournament might be played.

In the slips for Victoria in 2012

In the slips for Victoria in 2012 Robert Cianflone / © Getty Images

He was first handed the captaincy of the national T20 side after the 2014 ICC World T20 in Bangladesh, where Australia failed to qualify for the semi-finals. Finch's ability to dismantle even the best bowling attacks in brutal and exhilarating style combined with his tactical nous and steady nature seemingly made him a natural choice; his youthful indiscretion in Brisbane was far in the past. But less than two years later the role and his position in the side were snatched away.

It's difficult to establish much in the way of form in T20Is when they are played sporadically, often tacked on to a multi-format tour. In 2014, following the World T20, Finch captained Australia in four T20Is, winning three. In 2015, Australia played just one T20I, in England during an Ashes tour; Finch was not present. At the start of 2016, Australia hosted India for three matches. Finch was captain for the first two, which Australia lost, but he suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out of the third. All up, in the space of nearly two years, Australia had played just six T20Is with Finch as captain and won three. Throughout that period he averaged 42.80, higher than his career average of 38.43.

From 2011 to 2016, Finch was head and shoulders above other batsmen in terms of average in T20Is. Only four players had scored more than 500 runs at a strike rate of more than 150. Finch's average of 39.82 was almost double that of Glenn Maxwell, second on the list with 22.00.

Flip to strike rates and it's a similar tale: 11 batsmen had scored 500 runs at an average above 35; Finch's strike rate of 152.92 was far and away the best, followed by Chris Gayle with 145.64.

CA installed Steve Smith as captain in all formats on the eve of the 2016 World T20, and Finch, ranked No. 1 T20 batsman in the world, was dropped for the opening match and replaced by an in-form Usman Khawaja. It was a stinging blow.

"To lose that was really disappointing and I've never hidden that fact of being disappointed with that," said Finch. "I thought the planning and preparation that we'd done leading up to the World Cup in India was really sound, and yeah, anyway they decided that Steve was the best man to lead the three formats and I've got no issues with that whatsoever. Still disappointed but no issues with it one bit."

Aaron Finch made a 128-ball 135, Australia v England, Group A, World Cup 2015, Melbourne, February 14, 2015 Michael Dodge / © Getty Images The best of white-ball Finch

93 vs India, Ranchi Finch's short-lived spell in the Australian Test team coincided with a lean run in white-ball cricket - nine innings without a half-century at the time of this game. He fell short of a century here, but broke the scoring drought and signalled a welcome return to form.

135 vs England, World Cup, Melbourne It was a nervy start for Finch on his World Cup debut, but any jitters evaporated soon and he dismantled England's attack with glee. When he brought up his hundred, his sixth in ODIs, his celebratory leap suggested this one meant the most.

153 vs Sri Lanka, World Cup, The Oval His second World Cup century propelled Australia to a dominant win in 2019 and signalled they could be serious title contenders. His display of crisp drives and customary brutality took him to the fourth-highest World Cup score by an Australian.

156 vs England, Southampton In his seventh T20I, Finch didn't just announce himself as a serious white-ball batsman, he screamed it with every six - there were a record 14 in all - that he bludgeoned into the stands. His fifty came off 26 balls, his hundred off 47, and he got to 150 with a six, smashing the previous highest score of 123 in T20Is.

172 vs Zimbabwe, Harare Five years after Southampton, Finch broke his own world record with virtually a one-man show, scoring 75% of Australia's runs in their biggest T20I win. Finch holds the distinction of being the only batsman to pass 150 twice in T20Is.

"You don't get dropped too often when it's not justified. And I think the more you play, the more you understand there are times when you get dropped and you can question it, but it's generally if you haven't got enough runs or you haven't taken enough wickets. So that was one time when I felt a little bit hard done by. But again, it's still subjective and you can't say anything that's going to change their decision. You accept it, you embrace it, you use it to make you better so that next time you're selected in a side, you're in a position where you're trying to make yourself undroppable - so that they can't not select you. They have to come up with a really good reason for you not to play."

The decision to give Smith wide-ranging leadership ultimately backfired. The Newlands ball-tampering scandal ended his captaincy and CA opted to put Paine at the helm of the ODI and Test sides, leaving Finch to wait for his next opportunity. It came after Australia's 5-0 ODI defeat by England in 2018; Finch was back in charge to spearhead the 2019 World Cup campaign.

"Captaining a team is never something that you want to do," he says. "Or I think the people who are best at it don't want to do it, it just happens that they're probably the most experienced person at the time in the one-day group and the T20 group. I think I was playing pretty good cricket at the time, having been around for a while, captained quite a few teams. The first time I was captaining the T20 team, it was really exciting and there were probably some lessons that I learned really well. Learning what leadership looks like, as opposed to being the captain of a cricket team, I think that that's a really important distinction to make, and I probably didn't understand that fully until I had the job as the Australian T20 captain."

In sport, opportunities often arise from others' misfortunes and Finch's shot at a long coveted Test spot emerged from the bans handed out to Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner. His selection as opener wasn't without controversy. Finch was batting in the middle order for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield and there were questions over his ability to transfer his belligerent, aggressive white-ball temperament to negotiating the new red ball at the highest level.

How many Australia captains can you fit in a picture?

How many Australia captains can you fit in a picture? Ryan Pierse / © Getty Images

Finch's Test career started encouragingly against in the UAE in 2018 against Pakistan. He scored 62 in his debut innings in a 142-run opening partnership with Khawaja. It preceded a pricked-balloon collapse by the rest of the Australian batting line-up against the swing of Mohammad Abbas and Bilal Asif's treacherous offbreaks. In the second innings, Finch's 49 helped Australia snatch a draw from what seemed a certain defeat.

The second Test was an even sterner examination of Australia's batting. The Abu Dhabi pitch offered enough seam to suit Abbas, who steamrolled the opposition. Finch's seemingly modest scores of 39 and 31 deserved credit; his total of 70 runs for the Test was the highest for Australia.

"In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I felt as though, having been reasonably successful in white-ball cricket for a long time, they were similar conditions," Finch says. "The ball doesn't bounce a huge amount, doesn't seam too much. So I had real confidence that I could do that and be successful doing that."

Facing India in the Test series that followed, in the spotlit glare of the Australian summer, was a different proposition. The team was under pressure to regain the public's trust after Newlands, and to maintain their record of never losing a series to India on home soil. A host of former players and "legends" were brought into the fold in special coaching and mentoring roles, a practice that grew under Justin Langer's tenure as national coach.

Finch was a bright spot on the 2018 Test series against Pakistan that was very nearly a complete disaster for Australia

Finch was a bright spot on the 2018 Test series against Pakistan that was very nearly a complete disaster for Australia Karim Sahib / © AFP/Getty Images

It was an arduous series, for Finch and the team. He made one half-century but averaged just 16 in the first three Tests before he was dropped for the final match in Sydney, a draw that would hand India a historic series victory. After the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Langer pulled Finch aside and asked him what his thoughts were on the possibility of him batting in the middle order.

"I said, 'Look I've come in as an opener, I'd like to get that, try and do my job as best I can', and they went in a different direction. But that's okay. Again, I didn't make many runs. So I look back and was that the right decision, to drop me? 100% it was. If I was picking the team, I'd have dropped me. If I'd said, 'I'd love one crack in the middle order', would that have changed it? Maybe it would have, but I felt as though they selected me as an opener, I should try and see that out, as opposed to then going after five Tests, 'Oh s**t, this hasn't gone well, how else can I fit into the team?' If they had come to me and said, 'Look, we're going to bat you in the middle order, I'd have had a go. But the thing he asked me was, what does the team need you to do?"

As he evaluates his brief Test career, Finch now questions the wisdom of having so much advice, no matter how well-intentioned, around training and the dressing room.

"I think that I started to listen to too many people in terms of, well, to be an opening batter in Australia you have to do this. And looking back, I'm kicking myself, because you think, 'Well, if I had just stuck to my way of playing, would it have given me a better chance of being successful for longer?' Maybe it wouldn't have, but I think I just got a little bit caught up in becoming a Test opener instead of batting as well as I could possibly bat."

Finch was dropped ahead of the Sydney Test in 2019.

Finch was dropped ahead of the Sydney Test in 2019. "Was that the right decision, to drop me? 100% it was. [But] if I'd said, 'I'd love one crack in the middle order', would that have changed it?" © Getty Images

"I mean, it's one thing to talk to great players about batting in Test cricket because they've done it so many times, and probably a handful of them were born to do it. But I think having so many doubts, having so many voices in your head about 'As a Test opener you have to do this, your technique's got to be this', and then trying to change the technique in a week - good luck.

"I would have loved to have had the opportunity to learn from that at 25 and not 32, but that's the way it goes. I'm still really proud of what I did to get there, I just would have changed a few things. But hopefully, down the track, me going through those experiences can help other people.

Finch has an everyman quality that goes beyond the cliché: he's the sort of bloke you can imagine seeing in a homewares shop on a weekend, or walking the dog in the park, or shouting you a beer when you're low on change. He just also happens to be captain of his country, one of the most consistently destructive white-ball batsmen of the past decade, and an outstanding fielder.

He is widely popular with his peers; in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering affair, Cricket Australia turned to a new system of selecting team leaders, asking players to vote for their preferred candidates as part of the process. When Finch was reinstalled as ODI captain in 2018, replacing Paine, the decision was overwhelmingly ratified by his team-mates. One journalist colleague described Finch as the sort of bloke who'd give you a hug if you were down and you'd feel as though everything would be okay. He is cheerfully engaging and open with the media, more so than many in his position, answering questions with thoughtful honesty and humour in a way that is both simultaneously self-deprecating and quietly confident.

In The Test, the docuseries that followed the Australian men's team in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, Finch arguably emerged as the player to whom most people could relate. In one episode, the focus switches to his struggles with the bat during the ODI series that followed Australia's Test series loss to India. Back in charge of the ODI team, Finch appeared mentally and physically exhausted after a year on the road playing all formats. In the dressing room after conceding the series to India, Finch's team-mates remind him of his strengths. Langer encourages him to "just be Finchy". In the most illuminating scene, the camera follows Finch as he arrives home to greet his wife, Amy, at the end of the series. Slumped on the couch with his dog beside him and a beer in hand, Finch looks worn down by the weight of expectation and frustration, the embodiment of all of us who have had a rough day at work, whether we are accountants, bankers, shop assistants or journalists.

With his wife, Amy. For Finch, like for many other top-level cricketers, 2020 was the longest he spent at home

With his wife, Amy. For Finch, like for many other top-level cricketers, 2020 was the longest he spent at home Graham Denholm / © Getty Images

"You were in the rooms for a bit," says Amy.

"Yeah I was just talking to JL for ages," replies Finch. "It was good. Good chat."

He pauses and scratches the top of his head.

"Just not getting any f**king runs".

Finch doesn't like seeing or hearing himself on television and he hasn't watched the full series, including that moment of vulnerability. He says he has no intention of watching that scene. He emphasises that he knows how fortunate he is to have his life. But for many who did watch, the scene bridged the gulf between fan and superstar in a very human way.

"If you're the CEO, where you own a company and you've got $100 billion - Jeff Bezos, he still has s**t days at work, no doubt," says Finch. "If you're a gardener, if you work at a supermarket, everyone still has s**t days, and I think that we as players try to hide our our frustrations, we try and cover up. But sometimes you just have a s**t day and there's no way that you can hide. When you walk home and your wife's sitting there, that's the time when you're most vulnerable, with people you're closest to. And if I can't tell her that I've had a s**t day, you just keep bottling it up and it ends up becoming a pretty ordinary time."

Australia now head into another series against India after a period of pandemic-induced disruption. The white-ball tour of England this year yielded fair results for Finch - he averaged 33.66 in three ODIs and 41 in as many T20Is (at a strike rate of 137.36). In the IPL, Finch's returns were more modest; 22.33 runs at a strike rate of 111.20 in 12 innings for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Renegade in red: Finch in the first season of the BBL

Renegade in red: Finch in the first season of the BBL Brendon Thorne / © Getty Images

Finch feels the coronavirus break might have been physically and mentally beneficial for a player who once estimated he had spent 12 nights in his own bed over the space of a year. "Just to actually have nothing, no commitments, just to be able to spend time with your family - wife, husband, whatever it might be, kids, just sleeping in your own bed," he says. "As much as the world wasn't normal, that was actually pretty normal - as normal as it could probably be for cricketers who travel so much. It was just a time to really switch off your mind and really clear your head. It was the longest I've ever spent at home."

The break also gave Australia's brains trust the opportunity to plan for the 2023 50-over World Cup. "We had a lot of meetings as a coaching group with myself and analysts and all the coaches, just sort of navigating what we think one-day cricket will look like, where our strengths lie and what we need to improve on," Finch says. While he maintains the changes in captaincy and the return of players from their Newlands bans was no excuse for Australia's exit in 2019, when they were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual champions, England, it was hardly the ideal lead-in to such a significant tournament. He thinks there is a much more comprehensive plan in place now.

"The great thing about [having these meetings] when there were no games or anything on is that you're not attached to the emotion of a result - where you're looking to change or implement different things. It's not about this working because we won, or kicking cans because we lost and throwing the baby out with the bath water."

While Finch believes the way Australia approach squad selection for the ODI side may change as a result of this new outlook, the rescheduling of international fixtures necessitated by the pandemic adds wrinkles to squad-composition decisions.

"I think if you look at where we might have been a little bit deficient as a team, it was potentially the way that we picked squads at times. We felt like we were a little bit restricted in what kind of make-up of a side we could play."'

"Learning what leadership looks like, as opposed to being the captain of a cricket team, I think that that's a really important distinction to make" Mark Nolan / © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

"If you've got that fast-bowling allrounder or a spinning allrounder, sometimes your team's gonna really be structured one or two ways. It's just about trying to manage everything differently now because we've got such a big squad at the moment with Covid. You can play any number of combinations, depending on the conditions or the opposition, but once the squad has got to come back down to normal, or for an ICC event, you've got 15 players, it's making sure that you've got your best XI in mind before you get to the tournament. Don't leave that kind of stuff too late."

There is also the challenge of player welfare in a world of bubbles and quarantines. Finch left Australia in August for the England tour before travelling to the IPL in the UAE and then returning to Sydney earlier this month. Moving from bubble to bubble without the option to bring family or to leave restricted areas for long periods of time can take its toll.

"I think it'll be really important to find ways to get people in and out of the bubble when it's appropriate," Finch says. "And that might mean missing a game or two just to be able to sleep in your own bed or see your family or something like that, which is going to be really important.

"I know there's a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes at the moment to make sure guys are as mentally right as they can be, because being away for so long is tough. And when you can't go down the street or anything like that, it makes it a little bit tougher. Don't get me wrong, we're still very, very grateful to be playing cricket.

"Every player wants to play every game, but I don't think it's going to be possible for guys who play three formats of the game. I think that'll just be impossible - there have to be times when they get out of the bubble. And so I think the public have to understand that as well, because it's easy to sit there and say, well, right, you get paid to play sports, so toughen up, but when you're doing it for four or five months, it can weigh you down."

While the shape of the future remains uncertain, Finch's ambition of leading Australia to the next 50-over World Cup is ironclad. He will turn 37 during the tournament and it will likely be his last.

The perks of being a World Cup captain: having a laugh with Prince Harry in 2019

The perks of being a World Cup captain: having a laugh with Prince Harry in 2019 Yui Mok / © Getty Images

"If there's somebody else better to do the job then I have absolutely no issue with that. My goal is to be there. That's my long-term, medium-term, ultimate goal. And I think in 2023, if we can be holding up the one-day World Cup that would be my time to go. That's in a perfect world. Unfortunately, not many people get to leave on their own terms."

Aaron Finch stood in the regal surrounds of Buckingham Palace, mingling with dignitaries, Virat Kohli, Eoin Morgan and the other captains ahead of the 2019 World Cup. The butcher's son had come a long way from losing cricket balls in a haystack on a three-acre block in Irrewarra. He exchanged pleasantries with the Queen and copped some good-natured needling from the Duke of Sussex.

"You're getting on a bit now, aren't you? How long have you been playing?" joked Prince Harry.

Finch laughed and replied, "I'm 32, getting on quite a bit. I'm closer to the end than the start."

Recalling the exchange, Finch laughs. "That was pretty amazing.

"And that's what this period has been quite good for, to be able to sit back and just appreciate some unbelievable things I've had the opportunity to do in my career. If you told me when I was 15 that I would have done these things in my life, I would not have believed you one little bit. It's pretty cool. I've got a bloody great job."

Even if that job does occasionally involve having a s**t day.

Melinda Farrell is a journalist and broadcaster