Australian cricket's players union has defended the presence of families on the Ashes tour as the fall-out around their defeat goes on.
The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has leapt to the defence of wives and partners of Australia's defeated Ashes squad, amid reports that their presence had resulted in surrendering the urn to England.
Stinging reports of unrest in the Australia camp have surfaced after capitulations at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge handed England an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series and a fourth consecutive Ashes win on home soil.
Retiring captain Michael Clarke and bowler Mitchell Johnson have also publicly aired their disappointment at suggestions that their families' presence has resulted in bickering and distraction.
Clarke branded such talk a "load of s***" on Australian radio, while Johnson took one journalist to task on Twitter, claiming their suggestions were "well off the mark".
The pair have now been supported by the ACA, which plays a vital role in organising the families' trips abroad when the players are on tour.
A statement from chief executive Alistair Nicholson read: "Having families on tour is an important part of the support network for players, particularly with three forms of the game and year-round travel.
"Overseas campaigns can be brutal and while players understand that it is part and parcel of what they do, the relatively short periods they spend with their families and partners has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
"The official overseas travel periods are negotiated as part of the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] and paid for by the players from the Player Payment Pool. The support provided to them is valued highly."