LACHY PATTERSON was just 25 when he scored a plum gig alongside the greats of Australian cricket, writes DAVID O'NEILL
It was a contribution pivotal to the recent successes of Australian cricket, but one even the most ardent fan is unlikely to remember.
Lachy Patterson has no wickets, no catches, and while his mates were scoring centuries, the boy from Hamilton left the game without a single run to his name.
Yet for six solid years, Lachy, 31, was a fixture in the Australian team's dressing room, performing the role of media manager and teaching some of our highest-profile sportsman on how to best deal with the ups and downs of life in the public eye.
From handling the retirements of cricketing icons Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, to navigating the fall-out from Andrew Symonds' sacking, Lachy has been the team's steadying influence.
While the globetrotting lifestyle included tours to the Caribbean, Britain and his favourite destination, South Africa, he admits Hamilton was always calling.
After working in a "dream-come-true job", Andrew and wife Louise returned to Hamilton at the beginning of the year, seeking a life closer to family and friends.
"I've always said I was keen to get back there and my wife's family owns a superfine Saxon Merino stud just north of Dunkeld," Lachy says.
"It (Hamilton) gave me so many opportunities as a youngster and we've always thought it would be a wonderful place to have a family."
Lachy's impressive career at Cricket Australia began in the public affairs department.
"People would basically ring or email in and say either the tickets were too expensive or Damien Martyn should be dropped and it was my job to respond to everyone of them," he recalls. He admits to being slightly awestruck at times by the company he kept.
"When I fist started, there was Warne, McGrath, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, and, of course, Ricky Pointing, and, yeah, these guys were my heroes," he says.
"To be not only working with them but also telling them what to do - even though a lot of them didn't often do it - was certainly daunting to start with."
Such was the regard Lachy was held in that at his farewell match last summer, he was asked to lead the singing - alongside Mike Hussey - of the team’s famous victory song Under the Southern Cross.
It was the type of surreal moment Lachy says was common whilst working with his boyhood idols.
"It's a very professional environment but when they get a chance to celebrate after a series victory or a Test Match win, its amazing place to be."
"To be involved in those celebrations - as someone who was never going to make it as a player - and enjoy it with not only the team but the support staff as well is pretty phenomenal."
Developing such strong relationships with team members also proved crucial when things went awry.
After close friend and fishing partner Andrew Symonds was sacked on the eve of the 2009 World Twenty20 tournament, Lachy faced one of his biggest challenges to date.
"It was definitely one of the most difficult aspects of the job," he says. "We were both country boys, who loved fishing and footy, and I was really close with him. But you need to remove yourself from the personal relationship in order to make a professional decision and give the best advice."
Another pitfall was spending up to 11 months of the year away from family and friends - even his honeymoon was squeezed in between cricket commitments.
"I arrived home from South Africa two days before my wedding and I left for Abu Dhabi (to play Pakistan), three days later, he says.
"I asked Boony (David Boon former test cricketer and national selector at the time) where I should go for a quick honeymoon and he said he'd look after it.
"So we enjoyed a few nights in Tasmania and everything from the flights, to the accommodation and river cruises was organised by Tasmania’s favourite son.''
But if Lachy hoped for a little peace and quiet in Hamilton, he may end up disappointed.
In his new role with SED Consultancy, he has been charged with overseeing the merger of Hamilton's two football clubs before they compete in the Hampden league next season.
"I've probably bitten off more than I can chew to start with,"he says.
"I'm sure some people in the town already have heard enough of me and I'm looking forward to getting it done and then sliding into the background."