Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
In June, Barry O'Farrell called in Rodney Cavalier, the former Labor minister, for a chat.
The Premier delivered some bad news to the cricket tragic and author: Mr Cavalier had served long enough as the chairman on the state's most prestigious board, the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust.
After almost two decades on the board, he was gone.
At the next meeting of the trustees of the SCG, on June 27, the chairman delivered the news.
He was gone, and so, too, were other board members, former premier Morris Iemma, an education adviser to AusAID Kaye Schofield, former QBE chairman John Cloney and chairman of the Peter Warren group Paul Warren.
The room was shocked. Mr Cavalier had been a fixture since the 1990s, successfully lobbying state and federal governments for a $186 million upgrade of the Bradman, Noble and Messenger stands.
As the farewell speeches were delivered, no one was more displeased (except, perhaps, Mr Cavalier) than the other trust stalwart, 2GB shock-jock Alan Jones, who had occupied a seat since 1989.
So Mr Jones picked up the phone to the Premier, the Herald has been told. On Thursday, Mr O'Farrell did not deny the conversation took place.
By the following Monday - just four days after the board meeting, the speeches and the sombre handshakes - Mr Cavalier was not just back on the board, but in the chairman's seat for another four years.
His reappointment was confirmed by Sports Minister Graham Annesley on July 9.
The Herald sent a list of questions about the affair to Mr O'Farrell on Thursday, but his office said only: ''The Premier has no comment.''
The questions included: ''What did Alan Jones tell him in a phone call he made after this decision that made him change his mind?'' And: ''Was Mr O'Farrell concerned about a potential backlash from Mr Jones' radio program?''
Mr Cavalier said: ''The best thing for me to say is no comment.''
Mr Jones' influence over state politics is legendary. Not only does he bombard ministers with letters of opinion - to which he expects a swift reply - but over the years he has had many of them on speed dial.
Bob Carr famously tested Mr Jones' opinion in 2001 before appointing Michael Costa as his new police minister as the state battled a heroin-fuelled crime wave.
Membership of the trust is a coveted trophy among Sydney's elite, a who's who of business (chief executive of Westpac Gail Kelly is on the board), sport (former Test cricketers Stuart MacGill and Steve Waugh among them) and status (eight of the trustees in the past year are Officers of the Order of Australia). Nine former premiers and two former prime ministers have served on the board.
Among the new appointees announced by Mr Annesley last month was DEC Australia boss Nihal Gupta, a Liberal Party donor and a friend of Mr O'Farrell.