This is obviously a failure of leadership, but if Smith did not know the exact nature of the crime being plotted then it certainly reduces his culpability in my mind. It is therefore very much to his credit that he took full responsibility, as captain, for what happened. The consequences are hard but that is the price of leadership – you get most of the glory when the team succeeds and must cop most of the rotten tomatoes when it fails.

Having said that, I am hardly alone when I say that Steve Smith’s press conference was heart rending. The genuine, deep remorse was palpable and, if it is true that he didn’t have full knowledge of what was intended, then I for one am starting to think that the penalty is a bit of an over-reaction.

The first Captain Smith wasn’t responsible for that Atlantic iceberg, but it sank the Titanic on his watch. In those days, honour demanded he go down with the ship.

Is that how we still feel?


Adrian’s latest book The Fighting Man is in the shops right now or available through Booktopia. Adrian also wrote Mr Cleansheets.