January 20, 2004


David Hookes was the youngest player in 1977's Centenary Test, and is the first to die. The South Australian's second innings in that celebrated contest -- his first match for Australia -- largely defined Hookes to cricket fans, although he subsequently reinvented much of his game.

And his life. As a young state representative Hookes was in awe of then-Australian captain Ian Chappell, and naively sought to imitate Chappell off the field. At 20 he adopted Chappell’s policy of refusing to sign autographs while out drinking. Later he realised how offensive it was for a youngster to reject the friendly requests of often elderly fans.

Hookes could be scathing about his off-field behaviour during the early years of his international career, and was equally so about his application and abilities on the field. Factors beyond his control contributed to Hookes’s decline, however. As a contracted World Series Cricket player from 1977 to 1979, Hookes faced little but fast bowling; once WSC ended and Hookes returned to the Test side, he found his skills against slow bowling had vanished.

This coincided with a tour of Pakistan. Hookes, bewildered by Iqbal Qasim’s left-arm spin, failed to score a single run in the First Test at Karachi. He was also troubled by extreme pace, having had his jaw shattered during WSC by an Andy Roberts bouncer.

It took two years for Hookes to regain his Test place. In the intervening period he’d altered his batting style and briefly taken an all-rounder role with his state team, bowling medium pace. The experience was later to make him an exceptional coach.

Hookes’s finest Test in his comeback 1982/3 season was at the MCG, scene of his first match. On a difficult pitch Hookes scored quickly and violently: 53 runs came from 69 balls in the first innings and 68 from 87 in the second. Rates of this kind were exceptional for the era.

(Hook shots like you wouldn’t believe. I saw both innings, and haven’t wtinessed cleaner or more correct play against the short ball since. Whatever demons Andy Roberts had placed in his mind were by this time clearly banished.)

Test appearances following 82/3 were sporadic, but did include a century against Sri Lanka (Hookes’s only three-figure Test score) and a tour of the West Indies. Hookes left Test cricket where he joined it, at the MCG, in 1985/6. Given the all-or-nothing nature of his career, it was somehow fitting that his final innings was a first-ball duck.

In retirement Hookes became an abrasive, though insightful, commentator. I interviewed him a few times, and he was terrifically helpful and generous, especially once he realised you had some idea of what you were talking about. Unlike many past players in the media, he was disinclined to comment off the record. Hookes spoke much as he played; aggressively, entertainingly, with occasional wild lapses of judgment.

His death, particularly in such appalling circumstances, is tragic.

UPDATE. The Bunyip has researched the magistrate who sent the accused home on bail, not to face court until April. Certain inconsistencies are revealed. Yobbo has some thoughts, too.

UPDATE II. Richie Benaud just referred to yesterday as "one of the most awful days I've ever known." That about sums it up.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 20, 2004 02:29 AM

I don't know much about cricket here in Florida, but I was saddened to read of the senseless death of David Hookes. My condolences to the people of Australia.

Posted by: Ernie G at January 20, 2004 at 02:38 AM

I'm sorry but what is a ``king hit''?

Posted by: Annalucia at January 20, 2004 at 04:18 AM

That's when you're a piece of shit fucking coward who is a trained boxer but still needs to hit a 50 year old man when he's not looking.

Posted by: Yobbo at January 20, 2004 at 05:59 AM

I heard on the radio this morning that the slime who king-hit him is already on bail for similar violent attacks. Call me Mr Incredulous but how the fuck does a scum-bag like that get bail?

Although I'm sure the Hookes family have better thinigs to do than read this blog I'd like at least to give my sympathies to his Wife and children.

Posted by: Jake D at January 20, 2004 at 07:38 AM

First and foremost Hookes was an entertainer. He came from a very working class background and said on a few occassions that he'd like to be remembered as someone you could rely on to give you your money's worth.

I liked his comment that he couldn't be a cricket administrator because he didn't have dandruff.

Posted by: Pig head Sucker at January 20, 2004 at 07:56 AM

I've been told the slime-ball was a bouncer, working at the pub Hookesy just came out of.

IF that is true, and the dirtbag was on other charges - the pub should be charged too.

A fair-dinkum Aussie, who actually achieved something, for himself and for Australia, is brought to a sordid end by a scum-sucking dirtbag.

Said dirtbag most likely has never played or watched cricket, and laughs at the 'skips' who do.

Thank you Zdravko Micevic - you don't just laugh at our culture - you go around fucking murdering its icons.

Posted by: Robert Blair at January 20, 2004 at 08:04 AM

Most likely won't get charged with anything other than assault.

Posted by: donnyc at January 20, 2004 at 08:09 AM

Annalucia, a "king hit" is when you strike a downwards blow to the top of the head, generally from behind. Much favoured by steroid-crazed Balkan fuckwits and anyone else who likes to beat the shit out people with minimal possibility of getting hit back.

Posted by: ChrisV at January 20, 2004 at 08:19 AM

Thanks, Yobbo and ChrisV for the clarification. I guess the American equivalent is the sucker punch.

And what's this about not being charged with anything other than assault? He *killed* someone. Manslaughter, anyone?

Posted by: Annalucia at January 20, 2004 at 08:32 AM

Sounds more like murder to me. The bouncer chappy obviously intended to cause Mr Hookes grievous bodily harm when he hit him; and Mr Hookes has subsequently died as a result of the blows given by the bouncer. That means murder in NSW. I assume it is the same in Victoria.

Posted by: Toryhere at January 20, 2004 at 08:40 AM

No, in Victoria you only get 2 matches for a King Hit.

Posted by: Dutchie at January 20, 2004 at 08:58 AM

Maybe the bouncer should join Collingwood.

Posted by: BigJohn at January 20, 2004 at 09:24 AM


As I've heard it used: a king hit is a (sucker punch?) that starts and ends the fight. Not necessarily by surprise or unfair, though usually it is both, but definitely conclusive.


Source: The Collins English Dictionary © 2000 HarperCollins Publishers:

king-hit (Australian) (informal)
1 a knockout blow, esp. an unfair one
verb (-hits, -hitting, -hit)
2 to deliver a knockout blow to

Vale Hooksey.

Posted by: David Blue at January 20, 2004 at 10:06 AM

Toryhere is right - if you deliberately hit someone and the blow ends up killing them, the offence is murder, even if you did not intend to kill them.

I also agree that this c*%t's employer (whether it's the pub or a security contractor) ought to have it's arse sued off (at the very least) for continuing to employ a person who was clearly a violent thug.

Posted by: Mork at January 20, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Tim, a fine, well-researched tribute. Scotty Morton's done good at http://www.geelonginfo.com.au/readarticle.asp?articleid=10141
(link lasts only a day).

Posted by: slatts at January 20, 2004 at 10:25 AM

In good ole' Victoria, defendant's like to use what I've heard as the "Wilson Defence". Was listening to some guy explaining it on radio the other day.

Basically, if you throw a punch without knowing or intending it to be fatal, you are legally absolved from murder/manslaughter.

It's high time civil liberties got their shit-ridden noses out of our justice system. Until then, bullies and maniacs everywhere - professional or not - will be able to use you and I as their own punching bags without fear.

Posted by: donnyc at January 20, 2004 at 10:27 AM

Excellent piece, Tim.

Posted by: Joe at January 20, 2004 at 11:30 AM

donnyc - that's not quite right. As Toryhere indicated, if you throw a punch intending to cause "grevious bodily harm" and the recipient dies, you are guilty of murder. Manslaughter is where your act results in death but you didn't intend to kill or cause GBH but your act was an "unlawful dangerous act" or criminally negligent.

Based on what's been in the papers, if it's not murder, it's definitely manslaughter.

Posted by: Mork at January 20, 2004 at 11:53 AM

I'm betting that he will plea-bargain manslaughter. It might not be so easy in court to prove intent to cause grievous bodily harm. I have heard he has prior convictions for violent crimes so the sentence for manslaughter ought to be fairly stiff.

Posted by: ChrisV at January 20, 2004 at 12:01 PM

His lawyer will also claim that he won't be able to receive a fair trial due to the media scrum resulting from Hooksey's death and the exposure of his priors. One can only hope he does some very hard time inside.

Posted by: Fadzil at January 20, 2004 at 12:07 PM

DonnyC and Toryhere,

My understanding (covered Vic courts as a journo for two years) is that to get a conviction for murder in Vic prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily harm to the victim(s).
Even if he/she did not intend to kill the victim as long as it can be proved he/she intended to inflict serious bodily harm then it's murder.
I'd reckon a trained boxer king hitting Hookes from behind or side-on in the head must have intended to inflict serious bodily harm.
Will be interesting to see what the DPP does.
If the bouncer had simply pushed Hookes in the chest and he fell and banged his head and died my understanding is that it would be manslaughter.

Posted by: BH at January 20, 2004 at 12:07 PM


I hope the DPP doesn't plea bargain.

What's in it for him? There are several witnesses (including independent ones) so the chance of conviction is high.

At worst the jury will slot the bouncer for manslaughter at best murder, so why plea bargain? There's absolutely no upside for the DPP and plenty of downside: he'll only go down for manslaughter and receive a discount for pleading guilty and saving the court's time.

Posted by: BH at January 20, 2004 at 12:12 PM

And of course an interview with his family
reveals (of course) " He's a quiet boy without
any malice who wouldn't hurt a fly".

Fukken funny how all bouncers are of this
personality type.

Especially the ones charged with belting hell
out people.

Posted by: don at January 20, 2004 at 12:24 PM

I give my sympathy on the untimely death of David Hookes. I'm also in Florida. Across from where I lived (in Miami) there was a park where cricket clubs would meet and play on Sundays. These players were immigrants from British Commonwealth nations. I never played cricket but I use to enjoy seeing the games.

Posted by: Alexander at January 20, 2004 at 12:25 PM

David Hookes was an ornament to the game and the nation.

All the best aussie qualities were in him ... adventure, bravado, attack, risk-taking, larrikin, loyalty to his mates.

It's a bad, bad day.

Posted by: os at January 20, 2004 at 12:28 PM

When will the police re-arest the lovely Mr. Micevic and recharge him with murder/manslaughter? I would have thought the death of 'an assaultee' would warrant that or will the original hearing in April stand with the charge upgraded there?

Posted by: Fadzil at January 20, 2004 at 01:48 PM

Even if the scumbag is convicted of murder, what's the sentence?

Posted by: Tom at January 20, 2004 at 08:01 PM

Average time served for murder in Australia is about 14 years, Tom.

Posted by: tim at January 20, 2004 at 10:13 PM

1. Just how do we allow our justice system to be corrupted by these low life magistrates who won't do their duty and protect the public from cave dwellers like this piece of shit.
2. The low life is 22 years of age. He is at an age where the parents also share the responsibility of bringing a cave dweller.
3. If a member of his family tries to spin us what a nice kid he is I hope he/ she dies of painful cancer.

Posted by: joe cambria at January 20, 2004 at 10:19 PM

Fourteen years in jail sounds good to me. Now lets hope the prosecutors in Melbourne have the guts to prosecute for murder. He was killed by being attacked from behind while getting into his car 60 metres from the pub after being followed by bouncers. Seriously. If that's not clear cut under the present law it certainly should be.

Posted by: Michael Jennings at January 21, 2004 at 02:00 AM

My condolences. Sorry for your loss, Australia.

Posted by: Carl H. at January 21, 2004 at 11:51 AM

Thank you for the information, Tim.

Michael Jennings, you think that "Fourteen years in jail sounds good..."??

Are you crazy? If the scum killed Mr. Hookes deliberately and the killing was not in self-defense, then execution is the proper punishment. You would let a convicted murderer out after fourteen years? Of course, that assumes the following:

1. He's not pardoned by some damn bleeding-heart liberal.

2. He doesn't escape.

3. He isn't paroled early for "good behavior".

The best thing about execution is, that's it. It deters this scumbag from ever killing again.

Posted by: Tom at January 22, 2004 at 02:02 AM

I was one of about 45,000 at the MCG to see David Hookes belt five successive boundaries from the bowling of England Captain, Tony Greig.

I also possess a video tape of his astonishing century off 34 balls for South Australia against Victoria in 83/84 - the fastest first class century made in this country.

I idolised him as a player, relished his commentary in more recent times and point to his success with the Vics as an indication of his quality as a coach.

The alleged offender - a 21 year old son of a gulag dodger - with plenty of form for violence, will be lucky to get five years and won't serve more than two. He has, after all, only been charged with assault.

I cannot understand how a man who is not fit to be in the same room as David Hookes can take his life by a such a vicious, cowardly act and walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

What a disgrace.

Posted by: Peter Hoysted at January 22, 2004 at 09:11 AM