Sport Cricket What they said: touching tributes to Phillip Hughes

What they said: touching tributes to Phillip Hughes

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Hughes’ teammate Michael Clarke

“He was so proud of Macksville and it’s easy to see why today.

“I don’t know about you but I keep looking for him. I know it’s crazy but I expect any minute to take a call from him, to see his face pop round the corner.

“Is this what we call the spirit? If so, then his spirit is still with me and I hope it never leaves.

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“I walked to the middle of the SCG on Thursday night with the same blades of grass beneath my feet where he and I and so many of his mates here today had built partnerships, taken chances and lived out the dreams we painted in our heads as boys.

Michael Clarke fought back tears during his tribute. Photo: Getty
Michael Clarke fought back tears during his tribute. Photo: Getty

“The same stand where the crowds rose to their feet to cheer him on, the same fence he sent the ball to time and time again. And it’s now forever the place where he fell. I stood there at the wicket. I kneeled down and touched the grass. I swear he was with me, picking me up off my feet to check if I was ok, telling me we just needed to dig in and get through to tea. Telling me off for that loose shot I played, chatting about what movie we might watch that night and then passing on a useless fact about cows.

“Is this what Indigenous Australians believe about a person’s spirit being connected to the land upon which they walk. If so, I know they are right about the SCG. His spirit is touched it and it will forever be a sacred ground for me.

“We must dig in and get through to tea, and we must play on. So rest in peace my little brother, I’ll see you out in the middle.”

Hughes’ older brother Jason

“All I ever wanted was for you to look up to me as your big brother.

“I still can’t believe that I’m here saying my final goodbyes. Even though you are my little bro, you’ve taught me so much, you have given me confidence, strength, you supported me and gave me a strong desire to succeed.

“I bowled to you for hours and even though my body is tired and sore I’m very glad I played a major part in you achieving your dreams.

“You always had the good looks, you always had the hair, and who said you needed braces to have the smile?

“You never took a bad photo bra’.

Jason Hughes: "You always had the good looks, you always had the hair." Photo: Getty
Jason Hughes: “You always had the good looks, you always had the hair.” Photo: Getty

“My promises to you: firstly I’ll take care of mum, dad and Megan and of course your beloved cows.

“I promise I’ll keep an eye on the investment market for some future business conversations.

“I promise to get back on the horse and play the game we both loved. And endeavour to become the best player I can be.”

Hughes’ cousin Nino Ramunno

“Phillip Joel Hughes was one of a kind. A young kid from the country who dared to dream big and showed if you set your mind to it you can achieve greatness.

“On debut Phillip made his (first) cricketing appearance as a tailender, scoring 25 runs and from that moment he fell in love with the game.

“That was the start of hundreds, if not thousands of games of backyard cricket held in the various backyards of East Street, Macksville. Spreading from the Hughes’s household, across to the Lonergan’s and Martine’s down to the Laverty’s and back to the Bartlett’s and in the Ramunno’s backyards.

“Unfortunately for Jason, Phillip always wanted to bat first in these matches, and at the toss of the cricket bat to decide on whose choice it was to bat or bowl, if Phillip lost the toss he would simply say ‘best of three’, ‘best of five’, ‘best of seven’, ‘best of nine’ and so on. Until he won, and of course he chose to bat. In the end Jason rendered the toss a waste of time and accepted that he would be bowling – a lot.

“One domestic duty Phillip excelled at was ironing.

“He would often spend hours getting ready, and he loved a mirror.”

Hughes’ sister Megan

Megan Hughes arrives for the service. Photo: Getty
Megan Hughes arrives for the service. Photo: Getty

“Your smile, the twinkle in your eyes your witty charm and the humour you provide will never fade.

“I want to thank you for being the most amazing brother I could ask for. They always say you cannot choose your family, but I wouldn’t want mine any other way.

“Your presence will never leave the people that love and adore you. I know that I’ll have you by my side every step of the way.”

Family friend Corey Ireland

“He spent every spare moment thinking about his cattle, researching genetics and planning his next move.

“He had the passion, the determination and the desire to succeed.

“He was so excited about the thought of one day getting married and having kids.

“There is no doubt he would have been an outstanding father, he was a big kid at heart yet in control of what he wanted to achieve.”

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland

“Mere words are woefully inadequate at times like this but if the life of Phillip Hughes demonstrated one thing, it is this: a great deal can be packed into a very short time if you have talent, passion and big adventurous spirit.

“Ever since Bradman the image of the innocent country boy playing in the backyard while dreaming of the Baggy Green cap has become entrenched in our psyche. It is our foundation myth as a cricketing nation. And Phillip loved that dream.

“His journey from the backyard to Baggy Green 408 personified the Australian cricketing dream. Phillip’s joy in playing his natural game was evident to all.”

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