Cricket Outlaws: Inside Kerry Packer's World Series Revolution
In the summer of 1977-78 Kerry Packer changed professional sport forever. Under a cloak of secrecy, the Aussie tycoon - together with maverick TV comics Paul Hogan and John 'Strop' Cornell, elite players Dennis Lillee, Tony Greig and Ian Chappell, and retired footy hero Austin Robertson - signed up 35 of the world's leading cricketers for a revolution called 'World Series Cricket'. Suddenly, the gentleman's game had four outlaw teams playing 'Supertests' and 50-over games at night under lights in crash helmets, using white balls and wearing coloured clothing. Slowly, then in a torrent, fans fell under the spell of day-night cricket airwaves jingling to 'C'mon Aussie C'mon' and supercharged TV coverage led by Richie Benaud. In the middle of this maelstrom was Austin Robertson: trusted lieutenant to Packer, and confidant to cricket's biggest stars. In Cricket Outlaws, Austin shares the real story of the World Series Cricket revolution for the first time - from the inside, in his own words and with vivid first-hand accounts from 48 of the game's biggest characters and key players behind the scenes, many speaking publicly on WSC for the first time.
Very few have Austin 'Ocker' Robertson's inside knowledge of World Series Cricket. He was there from the very first breath of the revolution that transformed the game in Australia, and worldwide. After a stellar schoolboy career as an Australian Rules footballer and state representative water polo player, Austin dominated the West Australian Football League with a record 1211 goals in 251 games from 1962 to 1974. In ten state games for WA he booted 44 goals and, in his only season at his father's old club, South Melbourne, he finished second on the VFL goal-kicking table with 60 goals in 18 games. Austin has had a roller-coaster career after football - as a journalist, sports promoter and book publisher. He also managed many of Australia's leading sportsmen, including cricketers Dennis Lillee, Allan Border and Shane Warne, world surfing champions Layne Beachley and Mark Richards, soccer star Craig Johnston, boxing legend Jeff Fenech, swimmer Lisa Forrest and AFL character Dermott Brereton. In 2015, Austin was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Austin Robertson writes a popular weekly column for The Post newspaper group in Perth.