Narrogin-born cricket star Brad Hogg to share his story of mental health battles at Newdegate

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
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Brad Hogg is a guest speaker at this year’s Newdegate Machinery Field Days.
Camera IconBrad Hogg is a guest speaker at this year’s Newdegate Machinery Field Days. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Aussie cricket legend Brad Hogg will share the story of his personal struggles with mental illness at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days, in the hope others will be inspired to do the same.

Born in Narrogin and a country boy at heart, the left-handed spin bowler will speak openly about his battles with alcoholism and depression.

Hogg, 50, said he was looking forward to catching up with Newdegate locals and having an honest yak.

“I’ll be in the CBH sundowner area doing a speech regarding mental health and just sharing my story with everyone,” he said.

“It’ll cover the mental health side of it plus a few anecdotes from my playing career, so just going through that journey of the ups and downs.”

Hogg said travelling the world as an elite sportsman was a “sensational” experience but it could lead to dark places.

“Sometimes you’re just stuck in a hotel room somewhere and that isolation really gets you,” he said.

“It’s very similar to what can happen on a farm and even what happens to FIFO workers as well.”

An official Lifeline WA ambassador, Hogg admitted it was “terrifying” to open up publicly for the first time.

But having grown up on a cropping and livestock farm near Williams, the former Australian Test, ODI and T20 cricketer knows as well as anyone how the black dog can affect rural communities.

“As the towns get smaller and the farms get bigger, it’s just good to address those issues and try to help give people the tools to alleviate the situation,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people out there doing a lot of good work.”

Hogg said he was keen to break down the stigma associated with speaking up, adding that it was getting easier for men to share their struggles.

“Back in the day, it was virtually a message of ‘harden the hell up’,” he said.

Now living in Perth, Hogg said he was always keen to get back to the bush and Newdegate was particularly special.

“My aunty Judy and uncle Sid (Walker) always spent a fair bit of their time helping out and volunteering to get the Newdegate show up and running,” he said.

“Whenever I get out to the bush it’s a good way to get back to the grassroots and meet the people who did so much for me.

“If it wasn’t for country cricket and my upbringing in the country, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have.”

Serious matters aside, Hogg said his visit would also involve “a bit of fun to lighten up the mood”.

“We’re going to have a go at letting people try and belt the hell out of me in the nets,” he said.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we’re facing away from all the new machinery because we don’t want it to get dented.”

Read the full Newdegate Machinery Field Days program here.

Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14.

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