For some sporting superstars one sport is not enough. Some feel the ned to try their hand at something else after possibly mastering their chosen sport. We celebrate the good and not so great of Australian Sporting Crossovers.
Some of these were World Champions before failing in another sport. Some went from one sport to another with no worries. Others went from middle of the road talent in one sport to slightly better/worse in another.
We got the idea from our Forgotten Olympic Crap Fantale of former runner Darren Clark who tried his hand at Rugby League. Surely there were some more memorable or forgotten Australian Sporting Crossovers.
You should never die trying. All of the below should be commended for trying. They are after all, memorable Australian Sporting Crossovers. Not all good.
The Marrickville Mauler was a World Champion in Boxing and loved by all. And he loved us back. The fastest man to three world titles in just 20 fights. For that he was inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame.
What was probably not a factor in his HOF selection was his attempt to break into rugby league. He got as far as Parramatta reserve grade in 1990, and returned to the ring afterwards. These days he is a media personality, public speaker and watch enthusiast.
The Manly and Roosters flyer played 149 games from 1993 to 2000 and scored 60 tries in total. He scored 12 tries in his first season – good enough for the Rookie of the Year accolade. He was also part of the squad at Manly that won the premiership, although he didn’t feature in the grand final.
After leaving league he turned his hand at motor racing, and to some success. He won a V8 Ute Championship, and finished runner up on four more occasions. He also finished first in class at the 2007 Bathurst 12 Hour race. A fine effort and one of the better Australian Sporting Crossovers.
The burly prop won premierships with three different clubs and played for NSW and Australia. His record will be very tough to beat. His great Australian Sporting Crossover saw him jump of the public service bandwagon and become a politician. Elected to the Senate on the back of Clive Palmer hijacking the 2013 federal Election, he didn’t last as long as he would like as he was not re-elected in the recent election.
At least his new political career lasted multiple years. The other famous and memorable crossover from rugby league to politics belongs to Mal Meninga. His political career was over in just under 20 seconds.
In the Olympic Crap Fantale for forgotten Olympians the track runner turned his hand to rugby league in the 1990’s. His record of 11 tries in Reserve Grade for Balmain might sound modest, but is one of the better stories of the Australian Sporting Crossover into rugby league.
One of the more successful Australian Sporting Crossovers with the Queenslander doing almost equally well in two sports – Tennis and Golf. His tennis career’s heights included a doubles win at the Australian Open with Sam Stosur in 2005 and a win at Queens club. It also feature very little jerk work that is currently on display from Aussie Tennis Jerks Kyrgios and Tomic. He then changed to Golf with slightly less, but still impressive success. He won the NSW PGA for Golf in 2007 giving him a professional title in two sports.
You remember the South Queensland Crushers don’t you? Their memorable three year stint in Australian Rugby League can probably be summed up with some of their signings. A Mario Fenech in his twilight years, a relatively unknown Brit St John Ellis and rugby convert Garrick Morgan.
Garrick Morgan was stolen from rugby union where he had already played for the Wallabies. His career for the Crushers was less memorable for him, but still memorable for our look back on Australian Sporting Crossovers. His rugby league career lasted just two mediocre games, and the hype was over as quick as 1995. It was all over for the Crushers just two years further down. Garrick Morgan ended up returning to rugby union where played for the Wallabies again as well as stints overseas.
Probably the best Australian Sporting Crossover as she not only crossed over but maintained two sports at once. Outstanding at both Cricket and Football, she has played W League football since 2008 and for Australia in cricket since 2007.
OTHER QUICK AUSTRALIAN SPORTING CROSSOVER NOTABLES
THE IPSWICH CONNECTION – KEVIN, KERROD WALTERS AND ALLAN LANGER
From Rugby League Premiers to Pop Stars with their Hey Hey we’re the Broncos. Not to forget the B Side – Broncos Rap. And back very quickly.
From League to AFL to Union. Consequently an indictment on rugby union that their best player was a better than average rugby league players and not a great AFL player.
Laid the groundwork for the League to AFL switch, and managed it quite well. Scored a winning goal for the Gold Coast. Then scored a lot on the Gold Coast.
First to make the switch from NRL to NFL (although the NRL itself has been trying to become NFL for years now). He inevitably will be back for Parramatta after a failed detour with Fiji rugby, earning him a Forgotten Olympian tag.
Switched between League and Union with abandon and success winning Premierships and World Cups. A universal soldier of football.
Went from bruising fellow league forwards to protecting the great Russell Crows from bruising as his bodyguard.