Cricket legend Robert "Dutchy" Holland is facing the fight of his life after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour last week.
Holland, 70, was diagnosed after CAT scans a fortnight ago and was admitted for neurosurgery within a week.
"They removed about 70 or 80 per cent [of the tumour], and now they're hoping to control the remaining 20 per cent with chemo and radiotherapy,'' Holland's son, Craig, told the Newcastle Herald on Sunday.
"It's a high-risk operation, but he's come through it with flying colours. He's won round one.
“The day after it he was sitting up in his room and chatting. He didn't even look like he'd had an operation, other than the bandage on his head.
"He came home on Friday and has just been resting. He was going to come and watch my son play baseball this weekend, but decided he didn't want everyone making a fuss over him.''
Craig said the Holland family were still waiting for a definitive prognosis.
"The specialist thinks it's a grade four, but that hasn't been confirmed,'' he said. "We're still waiting for the results of pathology tests.''
He said that the family had been "been noticing a few things", which prompted Robert to undergo a CAT scan in December.
"But that came up clear,'' Craig said. "Then at the [district cricket] grand final in second grade a few weeks ago, a few funny things happened with him not recollecting things, so we sent him off again, and the second CAT scan revealed what they called a 'shadow'."
Craig was optimistic that his father's active lifestyle and physical fitness would give him a fighting chance.
"I think it's got to help,'' Craig said.
"If you're fit and your body is ready to fight, your immune system is healthy, there is only good that can come out of that."
The cricket community has already rallied behind the Holland family, who have received phone calls from a host of former teammates.
Holland became a household name in the mid-1980s when, at the age of 38, he was chosen for his Test debut against Clive Lloyd's mighty West Indies. In his third Test he bowled Australia to a famous victory at the SCG, taking 6-54 and 4-90.
Six months later, the wily leg-spinner from Toronto's Southern Lakes club helped win another Test, this time against England at Lords, with a second-innings haul of 5-68.
In total he appeared in 11 Tests, taking 34 wickets, as well as two one-day internationals and 95 first-class matches.
After retiring from professional cricket, the Lake Macquarie City Council surveyor continued to play for Southern Lakes and serve the club in a host of off-field roles, including chairman, coach and groundsman.
He was still playing in golden oldies matches as recently as last year.
In August last year, he was involved in an unfortunate incident when he and wife Carolyn were allegedly assaulted at Awaba Oval by two motorcyclists.
Police charges of aggravated robbery and inflicting actual bodily harm were laid against a man and a woman. The matter was adjourned in Newcastle Local Court until May.