As David Warner was celebrating an emotional century in his 100th Test, wife Candice was in the stands giving TV interviews slamming the ‘lack of support’ he was receiving behind the scenes.
It was a fierce, and very public, ‘us vs them’ response in the wake of a tumultuous year for the superstar batsman – and many fans blasted the approach from the 37-year-old former Ironwoman.
Warner, who hadn’t scored a Test century in three years, put on an unforgettable show at the MCG in the annual Boxing Day game, eventually falling for 200.
David Warner celebrates his emotional, drought-breaking century with a customary leap into the air on day two of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa
David and Candice Warner with their three daughters – Ivy Mae, Indi Rae and Isla Rose – after the Pink Test at the SCG earlier this year. Candice and her children were all on hand to see David score his exceptional double century
The 36-year-old opener smashed South African bowlers all over the park as he notched a double century, despite dealing with severe heat exhaustion and cramps as temperatures soared to 36C in Melbourne.
As the left-hander was overcome by emotion and celebrated his century with a customary leap and blowing a kiss to his family, Candice was seen appearing to choke back tears as she clapped her husband.
With daughters Ivy Mae, Isla Rose and Indi Rae in tow, Candice looked every bit the PR professional as she conducted interviews immediately with both broadcasters.
She indicated the off-field drama surrounding Warner’s failed attempt to overturn a leadership ban had taken a huge toll on both him and the family, and dropped a bombshell by appearing to criticise the game’s governing body, Cricket Australia, yet again.
David and Candice Warner, pictured at a horse racing event in September, have both been vocal about the impact 2022 has had on them and their family, particularly in relation to his leadership ban
‘Everyone saying he (Warner) is too old and should retire. To, first of all, hit the 8000 Test run is a huge milestone, then to get a Test century – hopefully now people will back off him a little bit,’ she told 7 Cricket presenter Mel McLaughlin.
‘It hasn’t been an easy summer with the bat, also behind the scenes he hasn’t really received a hell of a lot of support where it’s needed.
‘It comes down to the captaincy stuff if we’re talking about that, it’s been dragged on and it shouldn’t have.
‘This is going to mean a lot… no-one would have thought he would make it. There were so many doubters along the way,’ said Candice of the criticism that has been levelled at Warner throughout his rollercoaster career.
Candice Warner watches on at day one of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne
She followed up with another defiant statement, slamming any pundit, player or fan that had written him off during the extended poor patch of form.
‘It’s (century) such a big milestone with his back against the wall, and you think writing David off by now is the wrong thing to do – he thrives on it,’ she said defiantly on Fox Cricket’s broadcast.
‘It’s been incredibly tough, and people don’t take those things into consideration (when criticising lack of runs).’
Many fans weren’t impressed with Candice’s comments, suggesting they detracted from her husband’s incredible achievement.
David and Candice Warner, fierce supporters of each other, have been together for almost 10 years and married since 2015
‘That interview with Candice Warner was the most cringe thing ever. Defending the indefensible and throwing David’s teammates under the bus at the same time,’ one prominent supporter wrote on Twitter, which at last count had been viewed more than 20,000 times.
‘Insert comment here from Candice Warner saying how Cricket Australia caused the heat and how her husband has been hard done by #dramaqueen,’ a supporter commentated on footage of the interview.
The innings itself from Warner was not up for debate.
It will go down as one of the most iconic in Boxing Day history given the obstacles he overcame and way he took apart the bowling attack.
What many Aussie cricket fans are sick of, and vocally so, is the continual insistence that Warner was the real loser in the ball-tampering saga, not the game which was dragged through the mud like never before.
‘Hats off to David Warner. Wonderful innings from a great Australian cricketer. In saying that why does Candice Warner feel the need to defend him whenever a mic is put in front of her face? He’s a polarizing character. That’s fine. He’s not a victim and neither is she.’
One even suggested she was the ‘Meghan Markle of cricket’, such is her penchant to criticise the establishment that is Cricket Australia.
Hundreds of fans referred to Candice also attempting to ‘defend the indefensible’ in reference to Warner’s role in the now infamous ‘Sandpapergate’.
Warner was the ringleader of a ball-tampering plot with sandpaper in a 2018 Test against South Africa that rocked Australian cricket to its very core.
The then-vice captain pressured his rookie opening partner Cameron Bancroft to alter the surface of the ball with a small piece of sandpaper after a conversation in the dressing room.
Cameras caught Bancroft trying to put the sandpaper down his pants when he got word that the ball-tampering attempt (that failed miserably) had been broadcast, and Australian cricket as we knew it self-destructed.
He was subsequently suspended from international and domestic cricket involving Australia for a year, and banned from ever holding a leadership position for his role in the saga.
This year, four-and-a-half years down the track from the incident, Warner started to be more vocal about how unfair he thought the leadership ban given the dearth of experienced captaincy figures in Australian cricket.
(From left to right) David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft all faced long suspensions for the role in the now infamous ‘Sandpapergate’
A potential captaincy with the Sydney Thunder in his BBL return was also clearly on the horizon.
For several months leading into the start of the summer, Warner has been keen to take every opportunity to speak about what he has termed ‘his truth’.
He announced he was keen to have the captaincy ban overturned, because he is ‘not a criminal’ and felt the penalty was grossly unfair.
Finally enough was enough, and Cricket Australia caved to pressure from one of their leading men and announced they would let an independent panel decide if it should be overturned- a common process in sport to ensure impartiality.
It went down like a lead balloon with the Warner family.
In a stunning social media post where he announced he wouldn’t seek to have the ban overturned, Warner said he was withdrawing his bid because he didn’t want to be subject to a ‘lynching’ from a public trial over the now-infamous ball-tampering scandal.
Candice Warner had to fight back tears in an emotional appearance on her radio show as she defended husband David earlier this month
The huge media storm ignited by Warner’s decision then prompted a teary, emotion-filled monologue from Candice on her radio show, where she outlined the impact the punishment and fall-out from Sandpapergate had had on their family.
‘It has been not only an incredibly intense 12 months, but since March 2018. We live it day to day, that pain doesn’t go away. it’s still raw,’ she said on Triple M’s Summer Breakfast Show, which Candice hosts alongside Harley Breen and Tom Tilley.
‘The fact there was a lack of player welfare, and no welfare about David and our family speaks volumes.
‘It has affected us for so long and I’m pretty sure that everyone doesn’t want to continue talking about this… David has had enough.’
Her comments dragged the entire Australian side into the very public spat with Cricket Australia just hours before the start of their second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide last month.
Warner himself had already posted a cryptic message on his Instagram with a picture of a lion, which had the quote ‘Let the dogs bark, the lion is still King,’ written on it.
The King’s lioness is just as proud and passionate – so not doubt, in spite of the critics or public sentiment, Candice will continue to defend Warner right ’til the very end.
Just who she is referring to when she says Warner hasn’t received ‘a lot of support’ isn’t definitively clear.
Cricket Australia’s decision to ban Warner and his ball-tampering co-conspirators has long been criticised by Candice.
She was filthy they were left to face the media after touching down from South Africa in 2018 after the ball-tampering saga; though the pair did already have time to organise the support at the press conference of PR Queen Roxy Jacenko.
David and Candice Warner leave in tears after the 2018 press conference at Sydney Airport after the former arrived back in the country following the ball-tampering scandal
Though that friendship folded like a pack of cards the moment Candice punched Roxy in the face during SAS Australia.
None of Warner’s teammates have opted to speak publicly in support of Candice’s comments, though current and former skippers Pat Cummins and Steve Smith have admitted they thought the life ban was harsh.
We may never know who exactly Candice feels isn’t supporting her husband – until Warner’s impending autobiography, anyway.
When that happens, get the popcorn ready for quite the explosive read.