Tim Paine played football in secret early in his career.
Tim Paine played football in secret early in his career.

How Paine’s secret footy career went wrong

THE man who has brought a bit of honesty and integrity back to Australian cricket admits there was a time when he had to tell a fib to save himself.

As AFL greats Luke Hodge and Nick Riewoldt prepare to take on cricket royalty in the Bushfire Bash at the SCG on Saturday, Paine has opened up about the time he was forced to explain to the Cricket Australia Academy how he had broken his nose.

Paine concocted a story for his coach that Adam Voges had accidentally busted it trying to spoil the footy during a casual kick at the park, and would have looked like Pinocchio had his nose not been spread across the side of his face.


What really happened was Paine and a bunch of Australia's brightest cricketing stars had snuck out to play games of senior Aussie Rules footy in Brisbane and feared their cricket contracts would be torn up if the truth of their secret emerged.

"Myself, George Bailey, Dougy Bollinger, Adam Voges and Jason Krejza all played, and (being from NSW), obviously we had to teach Dougy how to ruck," Paine said.

"We used to go down and have a few beers and watch Griffith University play footy on a Saturday and we were talking to a few of the blokes and they asked us if we wanted a game, and slotted us in the senior side the next week.

"We had six wins on the trot, but I only played a quarter and a half and broke my nose. I think it was on the back of Dougy Bollinger's head actually. So that was the end of me. Kicked one goal three, broke my nose and I was done.

"The head coach then was Bennett King (former West Indies coach) and if there's one bloke you didn't want finding out, that would be Bennett King. That would be the end of you.

"What we said was we went down to the ground and we were kicking the footy on the weekend and we were just playing markings and we just said it was Adam Voges who went the punch from behind and he just clocked me.

"We went with that one and I came in Monday morning and got operated on."

Every footballer dreams of being a cricketer and every cricketer wants to play football.

Ricky Ponting confessed he used to dream about running out for North Melbourne.

Paine remembers how he and his mates used to talk it up, and is expecting Hodge and Riewoldt might be equally nervous as the competitive streak bursts through.

"If you ask any cricketer if they play footy, we're all like, 'oh mate, yeah, bloody oath, he would have been top 10, George Bailey was going to get drafted, Adam Voges was this, blah blah," Paine said.

"Most footballers I reckon are the same and think they're pretty good cricketers. They'll be a bit nervous, I know I would be if I was playing in a game of footy with a heap of legends.

"It'll have that hit and giggle vibe but there will be times, whether it's Ricky Ponting facing a Shane Warne, or Brett Lee bowling to Matthew Hayden on Justin Langer, they'll want bragging rights."

Paine is an assistant coach for Courtney Walsh for the Shane Warne XI and is gleefully awaiting who the first player is asking for throw downs before the game.

"I don't think any of them will want to be acting like they're taking it too seriously."

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