A raw and emotional Jackson Warne has finally opened up on the day he learned his father, legendary Australian cricketer, Shane, died when holidaying in Thailand.
Jackson has appeared on the Nova podcast Head Game with SAS Australia chief instructor Ant Middleton, explaining that he had previously rejected interviews but was more than happy to speak to the star of the Seven show.
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Jackson appeared on SAS Australia three years ago and says Middleton changed his life “forever in many ways”.
“It was a surreal moment for me being on the (SAS) course because I had watched all the previous UK seasons and I was so out of my comfort zone … I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity,” Jackson said on Instagram.
“Since March last year I’ve been asked to go on lots of podcasts and interviews but have said no to 99 per cent of them because I wasn’t comfortable and ready to talk just yet. But as soon as I got a message from Ant, something clicked and I asked myself WHY am I saying no to these people and WHY am I not ready to talk about Dad? So I said YES!
Jackson Warne with Ant Middleton on SAS Australia. Credit: Seven
“To keep someone’s memory alive, you have to keep talking about them.
“Ant has always been there for me, especially since Dad’s passing. He’s a role model of mine and someone that has a great positive message.”
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Jackson was just 22 when the world was shocked but the news of Shane’s death.
Now, for the first time in 18 months, he has recalled the moment he received the devastating call.
But before that, Middleton read out messages to Jackson that had been sent to him from Shane when Jackson was on SAS Australia.
“I’m doing this because your dad was so proud of you. And I think that you need to hear it,” Middleton said on the podcast.
The message went: “Hello Antony. I hope you don’t mind me dropping you a message and saying ‘Hi’. We’re loving SAS Australia and what you and your team have done for my son Jackson. He absolutely loved it. Very, very proud of him for having a crack at the show. Cheers and sorry to take up your time, Shane.”
Shane also added that SAS Australia would be “too hard for me, mate, hahaha. And yet they’ve already asked me but you’re too brutal…“
Middleton, a Brit, responded to Shane: “Wise decision, mate. We’ll stick to good food and beers and not me screaming in your face and taking revenge. All the years of the heartache you’ve caused our cricket team.
“Tell Jackson, I’m super proud of him. And we’ll be watching his progress closely. Which have been doing. He can’t get rid of me that easily. Especially because we’re now back next year with a new show. If you need anything my side, give me a shout.”
Jackson told Middleton that following Shane’s death he was in some sense happy that the world “got to see the side of him that we knew and we saw every day”.
“Because everyone saw Shane Warne, but then no one actually saw the dad Shane Warne or the mate Shane Warne. Yeah. So it was really cool for people to see because everyone realised, ‘Wow, he really, really, really loved his kids’. And we’re like he was the best dad I could have ever asked for.”
Jackson with Shane in a cafe in 2019. Credit: Instagram
The moment Jackson found out Shane was dead
Middleton then asked Jackson about the day he got the news of Shane’s death.
“Like I remember, do you remember where you were when you got the news?” Middleton asked.
Jackson: “Definitely, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to probably forget where I was or what I was doing. Because all you get is a phone call. And then when you hang up the phone call, your life that you’ve been living, your entire life, everything you ever knew sort of was like this, just gets whooshed, just completely flipped upside down.
“Who am I going to ask for advice now? Well, hang on, you’re telling me I can never see him ever again. Oh, hang on, hang on. Your mind does 100 million thoughts an hour and you’re like, ‘What’. Like you, you’re just in complete shock.
“You have all these thoughts, and you let the tears out, that you just sort of sit in silence. Like we, I was with my girlfriend, my sister, Brooke, and her partner, and then my mum. And we just got to call. Hung up the phone and we just sat in silence for hours. And then our grandparents came over.
“And then a few other friends and family came over. But I can still very vividly remember, you know, seeing my phone and who was calling I’m like well hang on. He’s with my dad. Very weird that he would be calling me and not my dad. So I’ll answer it and then yeah, ‘S***, it’s real’. And then you sort of just go on to like a complete shock.
“Like you don’t you sort of don’t want to accept it. Like I’m still convinced and it might sound crazy, but I’m convinced that I’m confident I’ll at least have one conversation with my dad again, like I don’t know, whether it be in a dream or somewhere, I’m convinced that I’ll be at least talking to him one more time, because there’s no way I won’t be able to talk to him about you know, poker, or St Kilda Football Club or any of our hobbies that we used to do all the time.
Jackson Warne eating McDonald’s as a tribute to father Shane. Credit: Instagram / TikTok
“There’s no way I won’t be able to talk to him about it. And I can tell you about a dream that might sound bizarre, but it would have been maybe two weeks, or two-and-a-half weeks after dad passed, and I was driving my car. He was driving his car. And we used to sort not race, we used to just drive next to each other and, you know, race a little bit.
“But he was always the better driver in the better car. So (he) always beat me all the time, all the time. And in this dream I had, I was driving my car, he was driving his car, we’re both looking each other left and right and driving and driving.
“And then all of a sudden our cars sort of, they sort of merged, and I was in the driver’s seat of his car. And then I looked to my left, and he wasn’t there. And then I sort of woke up and I can really vividly remember that dream.
“Everything about it, I can remember. And I sort of looked at that as he was sort of giving me the permission to be in charge. Now he’s like, ‘Jackson, I’m giving you the driver’s seat. You’re the one that’s, you know, going to be making the tough decisions. Now you’re the one that has to step up for the family. I’m not here anymore, you have to be (the one)‘.
“And I can really, really clearly remember that dream. And I don’t think it was a dream. It sounds crazy, but I don’t think it was a dream. I think it was, you know, Dad sort of given me a sign of saying, ‘You’re the boss, now. You’re in charge’.”
Jackson believes a dream he had was Shane telling him he that was in charge. Credit: Instagram – jacksonwarne18
Why Jackson is finally speaking out
Jackson said he wanted to speak to Middleton to show people that when you go through something traumatic, instead of turning to “band-aid” solutions such as drugs or alcohol, there were alternatives such as fitness and health.
Jackson now often shares online videos of himself working out in brutal gym sessions.
He recently posted about the number of days he had abstained from alcohol, saying “it was the best I’ve ever felt”.
“And so when (people) see a 24-year-old do a whole year with no drinking or drugs, and they’re going through this transition of their life, where everything’s just changed and coming out the other end better, they go, ‘Well, hang on, I might learn from that’,” he told Middleton.
“So I think going back to why you said, ‘Why now?’ I’ve gone well, ‘Hang on, let’s let’s talk about it, because you know, it could be helping people. Someone else just might have lost their dad or lost their mum, you know, a few weeks ago, or maybe even today and they go, ‘how do I cope?’
“And I hope, if they listen to this, or read this, or see me and see how I’m going, they go, ‘If Jackson could do it, I can do it’. Because I’m a big believer, if that person does it, I can do it in anything … in anything.”
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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