Countdown: Queensland's greatest 100 sporting heroes 80-61
QUEENSLAND is a passionate state which bleeds maroon and proudly punches well above our weight in international sporting achievement, producing some of the greatest international sportsmen and sportswomen in history.
The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail and News Regional have compiled the definitive and provocative list ranking Queensland's greatest 100 athletes - including those born and raised in the state as well as imports whose magnificent careers were synonymous with Queensland.
80. JOHN CUNEO
Sailing: Olympic gold
Born in 1928, he was the first Queenslander to win an Olympic gold medal in yachting. He won the Dragon class, together with crew members Thomas Anderson and John Shaw, at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Cuneo, a graduate of Churchie, won his first Queensland championship in the Trainee Dinghies in 1947. He was national champion in the 12sq m Sharpie Class in 1956, '58 and '60 and in the Lightweight Sharpie class in '61, '62, '64 and '65. In '66 he moved into the International 505 class with a view to competing in the World Series in Adelaide. He won the Australian championship and then finished third at the World Series. Moving into the International Dragon class, he won the Australian championship in '67 and '68 and was selected for the '68 Olympic Games in Mexico, finishing fifth. In Munich he dominated the Dragon class, winning gold, 28 points ahead of the East German second placegetter. Cuneo also sailed on board Southern Cross, the defeated Australian challenger for the 1974 America's Cup. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.
79. LAURA GEITZ
Netball: 169 games for the Firebirds, 71 games for Australia, 2 World Championships, Commonwealth Games gold
From Allora, she studied at the Scots PGC College in Warwick, made her debut for the Firebirds in 2008 aged 20 and led the team to the 2011 ANZ Championship. Geitz was part of the Australian Diamonds squad for the 2011 Netball World Championships in Singapore. Although she did not play as goal keeper in the first half against New Zealand in the final, her impact helped recover a six-goal deficit to force the match into overtime. The Diamonds prevailed in a one-goal victory. Geitz was presented with the Liz Ellis Diamonds Award in 2011. Two years later she led the Australian team for the first time, winning the Constellation Cup against New Zealand, and in 2014 was captain of the side that again defeated New Zealand in the gold medal match at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, ending Australia's 12-year gold medal drought in that competition. In Sydney in 2015, Australia won the world title again and Geitz captained the Queensland Firebirds to another ANZ Championship, beating the NSW Swifts. She won two player-of-the-year awards at the club before announcing her retirement this year.
78. CATE CAMPBELL
Swimming: 2 Olympic Games gold, 2 World Championships, 6 Commonwealth Games gold
Born in Malawi, Campbell recalls swimming as a small child in the lake where her father would go sailing on weekends. She took up the sport competitively after her family moved to Brisbane in 2001 when she was nine. She attended Kenmore State High and in 2007 won two gold medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney. The following year she beat Libby Trickett in the 50m freestyle at the Japan Open, setting a new Commonwealth record. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 she won bronze in the 50m freestyle and the 4x100m freestyle relay. At London in 2012, Campbell was a member of the Australian team that won the gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. In the women's 50m freestyle she and sister Bronte swam in the same heat, finishing third and second respectively, and qualifying for the semi-final in 10th and ninth place respectively. At the 2016 Rio Olympics she won a gold medal as a member of the Australian women's 4x100m freestyle team. The team, which included Bronte, set a world record time of 3:30.65. This was followed by a silver medal as a member of the 4x100m medley team.
77. HEC HOGAN
Athletics: Olympic bronze, 3 Commonwealth Games bronze
Australia's greatest sprinter was born in Rockhampton and built his pace running on Nudgee Beach and at Marist Brothers' College, Rosalie, as well as while cycling to work during his five-year apprenticeship as a refrigeration mechanic. In 1952 he began a seven-year domination of the Australian athletics championships. Known as "Hustling Hec" for his lightning starts, the stocky, prematurely balding flyer hit his straps on a grass track in Sydney on March 13, 1954. On that one day he equalled two world records - 9.3 sec for the 100 yards and the 10.2 sec for the 100m set by the great Jesse Owens 18 years before. Even though he was suffering tiredness, Hogan won both his 100m heats at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. A crowd of 100,000 at the MCG saw him line up on the start line for the final in running shorts made from bridal satin and sewn by his mother-in-law. Hogan surged near the end of the race before American Bobby Morrow leapt forward to win by more than a metre. Hogan took bronze. Although he won a relay bronze at the 1958 Cardiff Empire Games, lethargy had set in. Hogan died just two years later from leukaemia aged 29.
76. TONY SHAW
Rugby union: 89 games for Queensland, 36 for Australia
A graduate of St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, Shaw was a star sportsman from a young age and also represented Queensland in water polo. He led the Wallabies 15 times including in the Bledisloe Cup series of 1980, when the Australians retained the trans-Tasman silverware for a second straight year. In 1973, aged 20, he put on a powerful display for Queensland against Tonga and played himself into the Wallabies squad for a nine-match tour of England, Wales and Italy. His greatest rugby was played at flanker. A hard-driving forward who led from the front, he was an outstanding rucker and mauler and a cunning line-out technician who could outwit taller and more agile opponents. Queensland packs containing Shaw and Mark Loane dominated their NSW rivals in the late 1970s and in '78 new national coach Daryl Haberecht built his side around the leadership strength of Shaw and his Queensland back star Paul McLean. On July 10, 1982 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Shaw played his final Test for the Wallabies against Scotland - and although there were appearances for his state against the All Blacks and Argentina, the curtain was drawn on a remarkable Test career.
75. NORMA CROKER
Athletics: Olympic gold medal
Norma Croker met her fiance Lloyd Fleming at the old Cloudland Ballroom. After four years of courtship, he said they could get engaged if she beat world record holder Marlene Matthews in the 110 yards at the Gabba during Easter in 1956. Lloyd thought he was on safe ground as Matthews was one of Australia's greatest sprinters, but Norma ran the race of her life and waved her wedding ring finger at Lloyd as she crossed the line in first place. Norma, then a teacher at the tiny Nindooinbah school near Beaudesert, made a rare trip out of the state to compete at the Melbourne Olympics. In the 200m, she finished fourth behind Australia's golden girl, Betty Cuthbert, and bronze medallist and compatriot Marlene Matthews. In the 4x100m relay final, run in front of a huge crowd, dual Olympic gold medallist Shirley Strickland took off like white lightning. Before she knew it, Norma was racing like she was chasing that engagement ring all over again. She passed the baton to Fleur Mellor, who handed it on to Cuthbert, who stormed home as the girls set a world record. Queensland had its first Olympic gold medallist and Norma married Lloyd in 1957.
74. DUNCAN THOMPSON
Rugby league: 11 games for Queensland, 9 Tests
In April 1918, Thompson was shot through the chest fighting the Germans at Dernancourt. He survived but was told he would never play sport again, and he carried a bullet fragment in his body for the rest of his life. Born in 1895, he began his club rugby league career in Ipswich and first represented Queensland in 1915. He moved south to play halfback with North Sydney and after World War 1 made the 1919 tour of New Zealand. He and teammate Chook Fraser came down with blood-poisoned legs because of all the cockroaches and rats on the cargo ship that transported the team across the Tasman. In 1921, Thompson won the premiership with Norths and was chosen for the 1921-22 Kangaroos tour of Great Britain, playing in all three Tests and 23 tour matches, topping 100 points and landing 49 goals. He also took Norths to victory in the 1922 grand final. Returning to Queensland, he captained the Toowoomba team in 1924 and '25, alongside Herb Steinohrt and Tom Gorman. Toowoomba beat all-comers, including Sydney premiers Souths, Brisbane, Ipswich and visiting representative sides, including NSWs, Victoria, Great Britain and New Zealand.
73. CLINT ROBINSON
Sprint kayak: Olympic gold, silver and bronze
A five-time Olympian, Robinson grew up in Nambour and became a junior surf lifesaving champion. As a 20-year-old at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics he became Australia's first kayak gold medallist when he defeated the Norwegian world champion Knut Holmann in the K-1 1000m. Afterwards Robinson was so dehydrated he was unable to produce a urine sample for doping analysis for six hours. Four years later in Atlanta he lined up against Holmann again in the K-1 1000m and led early, but finished with the bronze. At the Athens Olympics in 2004, he won silver in the K-2 500m. Robinson won gold in the K-1 1000m at the 1994 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Mexico City. As a professional ironman, Robinson competed in the Uncle Toby's Super Series from 1989-95 and dominated both the board and ski legs of the races. Due to his heavy training regime for kayaks, he had little time to train for swimming and running and his performances on the ironman circuit suffered. In 1999, he surpassed Trevor Hendy's record of 23 national titles to become the most successful Australian surf lifesaver ever. By 2008 at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, he had extended his tally to 36 titles.
72. MATTHEW BELCHER
Sailing: Olympic gold and silver, 9 world championships
Belcher is a dual Olympic medallist in the men's 470 class, claiming gold at the London 2012 Games and then a silver at the Rio 2016 Games. The Gold Coast-based sailor took up the sport at age six and was a rising star in sailing while still a student at The Southport School. He first represented Australia at 16 in the 1998-99 420 World Championships in Athens. At the London Olympics, Belcher made his Olympic debut alongside Beijing 2008 Olympic Champion Malcom Page. Having combined with Page to win the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, the pair were expected to be fighting it out for the medals and they did not disappoint. They scored five victories out of the 10 races prior to the medal race and apart from one ninth did not finish outside the top five. Their second in the medal race was more than enough to ensure Belcher made a golden Olympic debut and Page went back-to-back. After Page's retirement, Belcher teamed with Will Ryan, a training partner in the lead-up to 2012. They performed superbly to take silver at Rio in 2016.
71. MICHELLE MARTIN
Squash: 3 World Open titles, 6 British Open titles, 2 Commonwealth Games gold medals
Martin was ranked No.1 in the world from 1993-96 and again in 1998 and '99. By the time she arrived from Sydney at the Everton Park State High School aged 13, she was already a star junior player. Her parents had built a squash centre underneath their house and introduced her to the game when she was three years old. Her older brothers Brett and Rodney also became top professional players. She joined the Australian Institute of Sport's squash unit shortly after its establishment in 1985 and was part of the program for the rest of the 1980s. Her coaches there included squash greats Geoff Hunt and Heather McKay. After working in a bank for a short while, Martin began her professional squash career in 1987. She won three consecutive World Open championships from 1993-95 and was a finalist in all the World Opens from 1992-99 except '96. She won six consecutive British Opens from 1993-98 and represented Australia at the '96 and '99 World Cups. At the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games she won gold in the women's singles and mixed doubles.
70. NATALIE COOK
Beach volleyball: Olympic gold and bronze
The first Australian woman to compete at five Olympics, she was born in Townsville and inspired at the age of seven by watching Lisa Curry win three swimming gold medals at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Cook was the dux of Corinda State High in Brisbane and enrolled in a Bachelor of Physiotherapy course at Queensland University. As captain of the Australian junior volleyball team in 1992 she decided on a change of course when she heard beach volleyball would be included at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She and Kerri Pottharst were selected to represent Australia there and won bronze. Four years later, the pair were selected to represent Australia at Sydney 2000 and they won gold on the iconic Bondi Beach. Pottharst retired shortly after the 2000 Olympics but Cook went on to compete in another three Games (one with partner Nicole Sanderson and two with Tamsin Hinchley) before retiring after London 2012. Part of the successful team that lobbied to get beach volleyball into the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the first time, she is currently lobbying for the 2032 Olympic Games to be held in Brisbane.
69. EMMA SNOWSILL
Triathlon: Olympic gold, Commonwealth Games gold, 3 world championships
The 49kg pocket dynamo from the Gold Coast won the 2000 International Triathlon Union World Championship in the 16-20 years age category and the gold medal at the 2001 Sydney Youth Olympic Festival Triathlon at age 19. Awarded a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport, she was voted the female triathlete of the year in the 16-19 years category in 2000. In 2003 in Queenstown, New Zealand, she became ITU world champion for the first time. Snowsill won a second world crown in Gamagori, Japan two years later in sweltering conditions of 90 per cent humidity. She won the gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and another World Championship in Lausanne. This made her the first female triathlete to win three world titles. In 2008, Snowsill won the Mooloolaba World Cup season-opener, beating her Olympic rival Vanessa Fernandes. Then at the 2008 Beijing Olympics she stayed with the leaders in the triathlon's swim and cycle legs before breaking clear in the run to win the gold medal 67 seconds ahead of Fernandes. Fellow Australian Emma Moffatt won bronze.
68. SIMON BLACK
Australian rules: 322 games for the Brisbane Lions, 171 goals, 3 Premierships, Brownlow Medal, Norm Smith medal
Born in Mount Isa, he relocated to Perth with his family at a young age. He was a junior 800m and 1500m champion, played for the East Fremantle Football Club and represented Western Australia at the under-18 level, earning All-Australian honours. A member of East Fremantle's losing 1997 WAFL grand final team, Black was drafted by the Brisbane Lions that year. He became one of the league's elite midfielders as the Lions contested four grand finals, winning the premiership in 2001, '02 and '03 and losing in the decider of 2004. Brisbane's midfield combination - Black, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Nigel Lappin - became known as the "Fab Four". In 2001, Black played every match for the season, led the AFL in tackles and averaged a team-high 24.6 possessions. He was joint club champion with captain Michael Voss and named as the starting ruck-rover in the All-Australian team. In 2002, he won the Brownlow Medal, polling 25 votes, and earned All-Australian selection. The following year he won the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the grand final with a career-best 39 possessions - the most ever recorded by any player in a grand final.
67. ANDREW SLACK
Rugby union: 133 games for Queensland, 39 Tests.
Slack captained the Wallabies in 19 Tests from 1984-87, including the historic Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland in 1984 when the Wallabies became the only Australian side to beat England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland on their home soil. Slack attended school at Villanova College in Coorparoo and played with Brisbane Souths. He made his Queensland debut against a Combined Services side as a five-eighth at age 19 in 1975. He soon switched to centre for the rest of his career, which included a then record of 133 appearances for his state from 1975-87, and 87 appearances for Australia from 1978-87, including 39 Test caps. He scored 10 Test tries and captained Australia on 34 occasions in total. He debuted for Australia in 1978 in the heated home series against Wales, which the Wallabies won 2-nil under Tony Shaw, and a year later he featured in Australia's 12-6 victory over New Zealand in Sydney. In 1986 he led Australia to a series win on New Zealand soil.
66. BILL BROWN
Cricket: 22 Tests, 1592 runs at 46.82, 4 centuries
Brown was born in Toowoomba in 1912 but his family moved to Sydney in financial distress when he was three. He made his debut for NSW against Queensland in 1932 but was run out for a duck without facing a ball, while opening with Jack Fingleton. The following season, in the opening match against Queensland at Brisbane in November 1933, Brown made 154, partnering Don Bradman in a stand of 294 in just three hours. He made his Test debut at Trent Bridge on the 1934 Ashes tour and in the next Test at Lord's made his first Test hundred while opening the batting with Bill Woodfull. Eighteen months later in the Third Test against South Africa at Cape Town, he and Fingleton set a new Australian opening record of 233, Australia's first double-century opening stand in Test cricket. In 1936, Brown accepted a coaching position and employment as a car salesman to move back to Queensland and was appointed Sheffield Shield captain the following season. In 1938 in the second Test at Lord's, Brown remained unbeaten throughout the Australian innings, hitting 206 not out in the first televised Test match.
65. DUNCAN HALL
Rugby league: 24 games for Queensland, 22 Tests
ONE of Australia's greatest post-war front-rowers, he was an Australian powerhouse immediately following World War II and toured twice with the Kangaroos. He played in two Ashes-winning series for Australia. From 1945-47 he played for the Christian Brothers at Rockhampton. He had accepted a playing position at Alpha in Central Queensland in the mid-1940s, but a railway strike meant he was unable to take up the position. Instead he moved to Brisbane, where he linked with the Valleys club. From there he made a meteoric rise to representative football, first with Brisbane, then Queensland and in little more than three months he was selected in Australia's Test side to play New Zealand. Hall became a mainstay of Australian teams for the next seven years, contributing mightily to Australia's Ashes triumphs in 1950 and 1954. He played his entire domestic career in Queensland, moving from Valleys back to his hometown of Home Hill in 1950, before stints in Toowoomba and with Brisbane Wests. A knee injury cost him the opportunity of a third Kangaroo tour in 1956 when he was 31. His son Duncan Hall Jr played 15 rugby Tests for the Wallabies.
64. NEVILLE SELLWOOD
Horse racing: 1860 race wins, 2 Melbourne Cups, 3 Caulfield Cups, Cox Plate, 5 Victoria Derbys, QTC Derby, Golden Slipper, English Derby
Born in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton in 1922, Sellwood was apprenticed to horse trainer Jim Shean at 15. His first ride was at Bundamba and his first win was on Ourimbah at Doomben in 1939. He served with postal units in Brisbane and at Townsville during World War II and topped the jockeys' premiership in Townsville in three successive years while stationed there. Within two years of his military discharge he had won the Sydney jockeys' premiership - a feat he would repeat five times. His first major wins were on Delta in 1949 in the Victoria Derby and the Cox Plate. He steered Delta to the 1951 Melbourne Cup and was rewarded by the owner with a Rolls Royce. Four years later he saluted in the Cup with Toporoa. Sellwood won three successive Caulfield Cups, the last on Tulloch in 1957, and he was Todman's jockey in winning the inaugural Golden Slipper Stakes that year. In 1962 he travelled to England to win the Derby on Larkspur but soon after, while leading the French jockeys' premiership, he was crushed and killed, aged 39, by a falling horse on a wet track at Maison Lafitte racecourse, near Paris.
63. PAUL McLEAN
Rugby union: 31 Tests, 263 points; 100 games for Queensland, 1000 points
Born at Ipswich, McLean has six relatives who represented Australia in rugby union or league. His grandfather Doug McLean Sr and uncle Doug McLean Jr were dual internationals who played for the Wallabies and Kangaroos. His uncle Bill captained the Wallabies after World War II and his uncle Jack toured with the Wallabies in 1946. His brother Jeff and cousin Peter also played for the Wallabies. McLean attended St Edmund's College in Ipswich and Nudgee College in Brisbane and played for the Ipswich Rangers before joining Brothers in Brisbane, where he played for the rest of his career. McLean made his debut for Queensland in 1973 and for the Wallabies the following year against the All Blacks. He was a key member of the Australian team for the next eight years, usually at fly-half but sometimes fullback or centre to make way for other fly-halves Tony Melrose, Ken Wright and Mark Ella. McLean had a great tactical kicking game and was a tremendous goalkicker. He reached 1000 points for Queensland in his 100th and final game and also scored 21 points against Scotland in his final Test match, which was the Australian individual record at that time.
62. WAYNE GRADY
Golf: 1990 US PGA, 11 professional wins
He honed his game at Brisbane's Virginia Golf Course and was a regular at the Banyo pie shop for two pies and an ice coffee every morning. He reached the big time from a start on the Queensland Troppo Tour, but had to borrow $140 as his share of the fee to hire a 14-seat bus with other touring players. Grady first gained membership of the US-based PGA Tour at its 1984 Qualifying School and spent most of his career playing in America. He was also twice winner of the Australian PGA and played intermittently on the European Tour, picking up the 1984 German Open. Grady was runner-up at the 1989 British Open, losing in a four-hole playoff to Mark Calcavecchia. The following year, Grady won one of golf's four majors, the PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, Alabama, shooting six under to finish three strokes ahead of American Fred Couples. Grady led by two strokes going into the final round. He plunked his drive to the middle of the 18th fairway, knocked a seven-iron to the centre of the green and two-putted for a par and a championship that changed his life.
61. TREVOR HENDY
Ironman: 6 Australian Ironman Championships
Born in Melbourne in 1968, he was encouraged by teammates at the Surfers Demons Aussie rules club on the Gold Coast to take up nippers. He cried his eyes out, intimidated by the kids and the surf but by the end of the first day he was in love with the sport and the crashing waves. In the 1980s and '90s, he won the Australian Ironman Championship six times and was runner-up on another three occasions. He also won the Uncle Toby's Super Series four times. He is a member of the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australian Surf Lifesaving Halls of Fame and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Later in his career, Hendy switched to kayak paddling. He made the Australian team in 1998 for the World Championships and World Cup season. After a successful European summer in which he medalled as a part of Australia's K41000m combination, he returned home and announced his retirement, ending his bid for a place at the 2000 Olympics. In 2015, Hendy came out of retirement at 46 to partner son TJ in winning the Australian Board Rescue event, coming from last to take out a desperate sprint up the beach.