ONE of cricket's great characters, Andrew Symonds, has given rare insight inside the Australian team - and the flashpoint moments that shaped his career.
The at-times controversial all-rounder had a rollercoaster ride as a cricketer on the international stage.
And he has opened up on fellow former Test star Damien Fleming's Bowlology Report podcast, revealing the untold story of his emotional celebrations with good mate Matthew Hayden following his breakthrough Test century, thatfamous shoulder charge, just who were Australia's ultimate Julios and Nerds - and where a certain "bogan nuffy" fit in to those categories.
'IT WAS YOU, YOU BOOFHEAD'
ANDREW Symonds was a man under pressure when he strode to the crease for the 2006 Boxing Day Test.
He was 11 Tests into his baggy green tenure, but hadn't made an impact in any real positive sense.
Two half-centuries against South Africa and a handful of wickets hadn't been enough to convince the Australian public that Symonds belonged in the Test team.
Despite Australia having already secured the Ashes in a canter after three Tests, Symonds knew he needed a big score to silence the doubters.
So when he brought up his maiden Test ton with a straight six off Paul Collingwood - which "did me with a lack of pace" Symonds admits - the burly Queenslander was ready to celebrate.
Hayden was alongside him as he brought up the milestone and charged down the wicket, so Symonds leapt into his mate's arms.
Except, in the excitement, he jumped a little high and things got a bit carried away - leading to Hayden copping a blow to the head.
"The adrenaline was huge. The relief. I was that pumped," Symonds recalled.
"I jumped on his head and crushed his helmet that hard onto his head that he had a big blood blister on his forehead where I crushed his helmet onto his head.
"I saw him later and ask him 'mate what happened to your head' and he said 'you, you boofhead - you crushed my helmet onto my forehead'."
When Fleming mused that he wouldn't have even remembered the euphoric celebration, Symonds agreed: "No. I was drunk on adrenaline. You can't remember those particular moments until you watch that moment of celebration back. That's why you play the game and do all that training and sweating, for those little moments."
KP TAKES ON HAYDOS IN ALPHA DOG BATTLE
CLEARLY aware that Symonds was on the ropes in his Test career, and sensing an opportunity - with Australia struggling at 5-84 in reply to England's 159 - England's Kevin Pietersen went on the attack.
The typically dynamic Symonds had an uncharacteristically sluggish start to his knock, feeling his way into the match with a lot of dot balls.
"The start of that particular innings, I was battling. It took me 20-odd balls to get off the mark," Symonds explained.
"I had the strength of Haydos out there just reassuring me the whole time, (saying) 'mate, don't panic, we've got oodles of time, you'll catch up, there's no pressure here'."
Sensing his chance, Pietersen turned to sledging to unsettle Symonds and try to get close to the Australian tail.
"And Kevin Pietersen was right into me and then Haydos ended up having a blue with him about that," Symonds added.
"So I was getting entertained by Haydos because he's hopped into KP. It was on."
It was two alpha dogs going head to head, Fleming suggested.
But who was the bigger alpha?
"Oh Haydos. Haydos had him covered because Haydos got 100 on his ear again," Symonds laughed.
"He got one every Boxing Day I think."
Symonds had plenty of ups and downs in his career, and Hayden was a crucial member of his support crew in building him back up when he dipped in confidence.
It made him the perfect man to celebrate his special MCG moment with.
"Haydos and myself had been through a lot," he said.
"I nearly got dropped from the Queensland side and he helped me rediscover myself there and then to do that with him on Boxing Day…
"It gave me a sounding board for innings down the track. I could always refer back to that particular innings.
"Haydos got his 100 and he was so selfless that he was more worried about getting me through. He went 'yeah there's another 100 on Boxing Day' and raised his bat, and then he was back straight on the job with me making sure I was right.
"It was a partnership that was really important to the game - we had to have a big stand to work ourselves back into the Test match."
CRICKET'S GREATEST EVER SHOULDER CHARGE
IN a decade-long international career, Symonds scored more than 5,000 ODI runs - including six centuries - and nearly 1,500 Test runs and racked up 165 wickets across all three formats.
But arguably his most memorable incident in the national team was dropping the shoulder into a streaker at the Gabba - sending the fan soaring into the air.
Symonds said there was more than a hint of frustration in his actions because the team was frequently warned about safety and what to do when people came onto the ground during play.
The untold backstory was that there was no way Symonds wanted to head back to the sheds - because he'd just run Hayden out and knew his big mate would be fuming.
"This is a final against India, and I think I'd just run Haydos out… so I don't want anything to do with Haydos. I wanted to stay out there until he calmed down," Symonds went on.
"And this bloke ran on the field and he got about 15-20 metres away from me and we locked eyes and I sort of smirked at him as if to say 'come over here' and he came straight towards me.
"I was down the nonstriker's end and the umpires stepped back, out of the way. I put my bat in the other hand and just gave him a bit of shoulder."
And a legendary photo, below, was born.
AUSTRALIAN CRICKET'S GREAT DEBATE: JULIOS v NERDS
THE greatest divide in Australian cricket isn't along Steve Waugh-Shane Warne lines, it's which side of the pitch you stand on when it comes to being a Julio or a Nerd.
The Julios, of course, are the members of the team who spend a little more time in front of the mirror - and show particular attention to their hair.
The Nerds? Fashion isn't their forte, but cricket is. They're no frills.
If you play for Australia, you fall into one of these two groups.
Symonds - who played much of his career with distinctive dreadlocks, but is also a pretty rough-and-tumble character - has a foot in both camps.
Depending on the make-up of the team of the day, he would happily switch sides just for balance in the dressing room.
Which leaves him beautifully placed to discuss who the ultimate Julios and Nerds are from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
On the podium to be crowned the Ultimate Julio? Scott Muller. Brendon Julian. Shane Watson.
"There's no (Shane) Warne or (Brett) Lee there so that is a good top three," remarked Fleming, who described Warner as the "King of the Julios".
Responded Symonds: "Warney pruned himself fairly heavily. But he was a different type of Julio.
"He was a bit more rough around the edge. Not bogan … but a different type of Julio.
"Brett Lee was a natural. He whipped the guitar out when the occasion was right and then a lot of times when it wasn't. He was teaching (Shane Watson)."
But biggest nerd?
There's a strong field, with the likes of Steve Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Simon Katich taking the mantle of chief Nerd over the years.
But Fleming threw up a not-so-obvious name: Darren Lehmann.
"I wouldn't call Lehmann a nerd though. He's a bogan nuffy," Symonds laughed.
"Paul Jackson, I played a lot of cricket with him in Queensland and he was a classic Nerd.
"He was a banker. He wore glasses. He bowled left-arm spin and talked about cricket in most sentences of the day."