An MCG grandstand renamed in his honour set to be unveiled at Shane Warne state memorial


When the tragic news broke that cricket legend Shane Warne had died earlier this month, there was one repeated suggestion about how to remember the greatest spin bowler of all time.

Renaming the Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Three days after their beloved son, 52, died of a suspected heart attack while on a trip to Thailand, his parents Keith and Brigitte wrote on March 7: “Over the past few days Shane has been honoured with the family being offered a state memorial for Shane by Premier Dan Andrews, which the family have gratefully accepted.

“The Premier and Minister for Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula have also advised that the Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be renamed the S K Warne Stand,” they wrote.

The family later suggested their preferred option was the stand be renamed the Shane Warne Stand.

On March 16, Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stuart Fox gave a strong indication an unveiling could be at the state memorial.

“We obviously have the state government’s memorial service. There may well be an unveiling at that point in time,” he told Seven News.

“We’re all working towards the renaming of the stand.”

Message from Liz Hurley,  St Kilda scarves for a fitting private service

On Sunday, about 80 family and friends gathered at the St Kilda Football Club in Melbourne’s south-east in Moorabbin – where he had a life-long association – for a private funeral to farewell their beloved father, brother and son.

While his ex-fiancee Liz Hurley couldn’t be there, she posted an emotional tribute on social media to mark the funeral.

“My heart aches that I can’t be in Australia tomorrow [March 20] for Shane’s funeral. I was filming last night and, with the time jump, physically can’t get there.

“These pictures were taken in Sri Lanka to celebrate our engagement – we had all our children with us and it was the happiest time.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in that he’s gone. It seems too cruel that all the people who loved him will never have another Lion hug, but our memories will live forever. RIP Lionheart, with love your Luna.”

Daughters Summer and Brooke watch as Jackson helps carry their father’s casket to a waiting hearse, which then makes a lap of honour around the oval. Photo: AAP

The spin king’s three children, Brooke, 24, Jackson, 23, and Summer, 20, parents Keith and Brigitte, and ex-wife of 10 years Simone Callahan were surrounded by the close-knit group as they said their final goodbyes to the cricketing legend and devoted dad.

The gathering featured a who’s who of the cricketing world, with retired Australian Test captains Mark Taylor, Allan Border and Michael Clarke attending along with former England skipper Michael Vaughan.

Bowling greats Merv Hughes and Glenn McGrath and long-time Warne teammates Mark Waugh and Ian Healy were also there.

Close friend Eddie McGuire delivered the eulogy and was MC for the service.

Guests were invited to wear St Kilda scarves, and a pair of them were draped across Warne’s coffin as it was driven around the oval to the sound of the 1980s Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes hit The Time of My Life.

The lap of honour was immediately followed by a toast.

McGuire urged the mourners to be louder as he led three cheers.

“To Warnie,” he declared.

“He was simply the best.”

Tina Turner’s anthem, which made the popular accolade a household phrase, was then played to a round of applause.

Close friend, ex-cricketer Darren Berry said after the service on Monday afternoon: “The pain of reality was at times suffocating, but the beautiful tributes and celebration of the life of my great mate SKW was magnificent.”

The public service for Shane Warne on Wednesday week at the MCG will be free. Photo: AAP

What we know about the state memorial service

A spokesperson for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet told The New Daily more details would be released on Tuesday as to how people can attend the event.

What we do know is that it is ticketed event, is free, and fans will be able to enter a ballot to get an allocated seat.

It will be held next Wednesday, March 30 in the evening [expected to be 7pm], and, depending on demand, the ground can hold up to 100,000 people.

The biggest names in entertainment will headline the program, with Ed Sheeran and Elton John, who were close friends of Warne, most likely performing via live-stream at the event, as both are on tour in the UK and US respectively.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin – with whom the cricket legend played the harmonica on stage in 2018 – and Hurley, are expected to play a role.

It is unclear whether either will fly into Melbourne for the big night.

For those who can’t make it, the service will be live-streamed via the state government’s website. The link to view the live-stream will be made available closer to the event.

Four of Australia’s major networks – the ABC, Nine, Seven and Foxtel – will also broadcast the service.

“It’s a fitting venue to say goodbye to someone who created so many indelible memories on that ground,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“It’s Australia’s greatest sports stadium. He, without a doubt, is one of Australia’s greatest sportspeople, and it’s the best place to say goodbye to him.

“We wish we weren’t doing it. Of course, he’s gone too soon.”

In offering a state funeral, the government said Warne was “born for the big occasion” and his “performance on the pitch drew us to the game that he cared so deeply for”.

“He gave us irreplaceable MCG memories: The Ashes hat-trick, his 700th wicket and calming Bay 13 in his trackies.

“[He] didn’t just inspire a cricketing generation – he defined it”.

-with AAP

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