Top 50 sports stars of all time.
Top 50 sports stars of all time. Contributed

TOP 50: The Northern Rivers' best sports stars of all time

THE Northern Rivers can lay claim to some of Australia's best sportspeople.

We've got talented cricket players, football stars, surfers, track and field athletes and swimmers who have gone on to represent their region, state and country at the highest levels.

But who's the best of the best? Who deserves the title of the Northern Rivers' greatest sports star of all time?

The Northern Star has been trawling through the names and their achievements to come up with a list of the top 50 sportspeople from the region.

Some may be controversial, some you may applaud. Let us know who would have made your list.

We welcome your feedback, so email news@northernstar.com.au with your suggestions and thoughts.

 

50. Islay Lee

Rowing Book Lauch - Maclean - Carolyn Cameron and Islay Lee.jpg
Carolyn Cameron and Islay Lee.

LONG before the Oarsome Foursome made rowing a high-profile sport, dual Olympian Islay Lee showed he was made of the right stuff.

Lee, who was born and bred in Lismore, rowed stroke in Australian men's eights crews at Montreal in 1976 and again at Moscow in 1980.

He also represented his country at world championships in the Netherlands in 1977 and in New Zealand in 1978 where they finished fourth in the finals after being edged out for third by the host nation.

A talented athlete, Lee's prowess saw him hold national championship 15 times -- four times in sculls and 11 times in sweep-oared boats.

From 1976 to 1980 he was Australia's prominent sweep-oared stroke, setting the pace in Sydney Rowing Club crews which won five successive national titles in the coxed four, three successive titles in a coxed pair, and in three successive King's Cups winning New South Wales selection eights.

 

49. Ben Auckram

AQUA MEN: Lismore Workers Swim Team captain Ben Auckram, 13, with some of his medals. After less than two years, Ben has gone from zero to hero, winning events and setting a national record in his multiclass
Ben Auckram. Alison Paterson

ONLY a few months after he took up swimming, Ben Auckram started breaking records.

Now aged 15 and in Year 9 at Trinity College, the Lismore teen has broken local, state and national records in various multi-classes.

His resilience was tested when, only 20 weeks before the 2019 NSW multi-class state titles in Sydney, he underwent surgery to have an injured foot re-broken and set.

But he was in the pool the day his cast was removed and he claimed five gold medals for five events at the October event.

Ben started swimming at the Year 5 school camp after a teacher suggested he join the Lismore Workers Swim Team where he found he could leave his spina bifida in the wheelchair and be the best possible version of himself in the pool.

Since then Ben has competed in many multiswim classes and has set national records at events including the Australian Age Championships.

48. Nick Shailes

LISMORE STAR: A home run by former Lismore athlete Nick Shailes  helped the Australian Steelers to the playoffs where they went down to the Kiwis in the in the final of the XV WBSC Men's Softball World Championship in Whitehorse, Canada.
Nick Shailes. Supplied: Madeleine Flanagan

LISMORE-born world softball champion Nick Shailes is tour de force in the game having been a fixture on the Australian men's team for a decade.

Shailes, 34, is considered a formidable infielder and extraordinary batter and has played in five World Baseball and Softball Confederation World Championships since 2009.

Named in the 'All World' team on 10 separate occasions, Shailes has also been awarded the Leading Hitter in 2007 and 2016, named the Most Valuable Player in 2010, 2013 and 2015 and has won six International Softball Congress titles in 2010 to 2011, 2013-15 and again in 2017 with two different teams.

He grew up playing and used to watch his mother Kayleen, a former NSW State player.

Shailes was voted as the Best Player in the World in 2015 by his peers.

Having made the decision to move to Canada in 2015 to continue his playing career, Shailes is at the peak of his career.

 

47. Ryan Cuskelly

Australia's number one ranked squash player Ryan Cuskelly has hit out at the scheduling of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Ryan Cuskelly. Jono Searle/Getty Images

FORMER Evans Head squash player Ryan Cuskelly, 32, is one of the world's top squash players.

Since he joined the Professional Squash Association World Tour in 2006 he has been charging up the ranks.

In 2007 Cuskelly won his first title at the Topend Open Series then in 2009 he won four PSA World Tour titles to elevate himself into the world's top 50 for the first time.

A dynamic player Cuskelly played a magnificent game at the Northern Ontario Open in 2015 where he stunned Laurens Jan Anjema in the final.

After reaching the last four of the Hong Kong Open in August 2016, Cuskelly made the world's top 15 for the first time.

In 2018 he was runner-up to Max Lee in the final of the Canada Cup, ahead of winning the Chicago Open.

In June 2019 Cuskelly won the Australian Nationals and with Yamba mate Cameron Pilley claimed the World Doubles Championship.

 

46. Guy Creighton

Guy Creighton
Guy Creighton.

A FORMER member of the Casino Pony Club, Guy Creighton competed in equestrian at the highest level including the Montreal and Los Angeles Olympics.

In 2018 Creighton, 70, was named the inaugural Inductee of the Equestrian Queensland Hall of Fame.

An outstanding rider, Creighton competed for Australia at two Olympic Games, took part in 14 Nations Cups, won 13 World Cup events and was placed second at seven others.

He also claimed four Australian Championships among many other accolades.

Closer to home, Creighton competed in every Royal Show across the country and is the only rider to hold the lead rider title at every event.

His influence on the sport has endured through coaching the next wave of champions and he continues to mentor riders.

He spent 15 years as the Australian Young Rider Team coach and and still continues to be a highly sought after coach, judge and course builder.

 

45. Adam Melling

Former World Championship Tour (CT) surfer Adam Melling is expected to represent Le-Ba this weekend.
Adam Melling. Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW

FROM Lennox Head to the World Qualifying Tour and back again, it has been a wild ride for regular-foot Adam Melling, 34, who started surfing competitively when he was nine years old in the Le-Ba boardriders club.

After winning the aptly named 6-Star Cold Water Classic in Scotland in 2009 and finishing the season in fourth on the WQS, he qualified to join the best in the world on the ASP World Tour beginning in 2010.

In 2012, Melling qualified for the World Tour (WCT), finishing 2nd at Jeffrey's Bay, 3rd in the 2011 Triple Crown and in 2012 he won The World Cup of surfing at Sunset Beach to re-qualify for the 2013 WCT.

One of Melling's biggest wins was in 2012 at the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach in Hawaii.

His best result in 2016 was a highly respectable 5th in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro at the Oi Rio Pro and he retired soon after.

 

44. Sam Brazel

epa05670298 Sam Brazel from Australia hits during the UBS Hong Kong Open in Hong Kong, China, 11 December 2016.  EPA/JEROME FAVRE
Sam Brazel. JEROME FAVRE

HE MAY be ranked 976th in the world but Lismore-Born golfer Sam Brazel is no slouch on the green.

Brazel, 40, first turned professional in 2002 and since then has played on the Asian Tour since 2013 and on the European Tour since 2017.

His best result to date was when the powered through the field to snatch the 2016 UBS Hong Kong Open that was part of the 2016 Asian Tour and the 2017 European Tour from under the nose of his more experienced and higher-ranked rivals.

Brazel was considered and outsider with a world ranking of 480 and the win in Hong Kong secured him his European Tour victory and gave him a two-year exemption on the tour.

Before living and working overseas to follow his golfing dream, Brazel formerly worked in the pro shop at the Lismore Workers Golf Club, where he took out the 2008 Lismore Pro-Am.

 

43. Katie Kelly

Casino para-triathlete Katie Kelly and her guide Michellie Jones took out first place in the PT5 category of the 2015 World Triathlon Championships in Chicago on September 17. Photo Contributed
Katie Kelly and her guide Michellie Jones. Contributed

CASINO-born para-athlete Katie Kelly OAM won the first gold medal on debut in her sport, as Para-triathlon made its debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Crossing in 1:12:18, she and her guide Olympic silver medallist Michelle Jones raced over a minute faster than second-placed British pair Alison Patrick and Hazel Smith to win gold.

Born with Usher Syndrome, a degenerative disease affecting her hearing and vision, Kelly, 44, was declared legally blind in January 2015 but turned her disability into an opportunity when she began competing in Para-triathlon.

Her accolades include 2016/17 Sir Roden Cutler Award, Primary Club of Australia, 2017 Order of Australia Medal, Triathlon Australia Female Performance of the Year and Triathlon Australia Paratriathlete Performance of the Year

Prior to paratriathlon, Kelly was involved in distance running and ironman events.

In 2017, Kelly established the Sport Access Foundation to assist children with a disability with access to sport and recreational facilities.

42. Ken Nagas

Ken Nagas (NSW) at the International Legends of League game played at Browne Park.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Ken Nagas. Chris Ison ROK210713clegend10

AS TOUGH as he was talented, Ken Nagas is a former Kyogle junior who starred at the Canberra Raiders and played Origin for NSW in 1994.

Queensland-raised Nagas, formerly of Bundaberg, could have played for the Maroons.

But playing first grade while spending a year in Casino as a schoolboy made him eligible for NSW.

In 1991, Nagas represented the Australian Schoolboys on the tour of England and was graded by the Raiders the following year.

Nagas was an explosive centre/winger who joined the Canberra district and in 1994 he made his debut for Country and NSW before rounding off a great year by scoring two tries in Canberra's 36-12 pitching Canterbury out of contention in the grand final.

In 1997 Nagas was selected in all five Super League Tests but was unable to adapt back into rep football after the reunification of the game.

Injuries forced his eventual retirement in 2002, although he contemplated a comeback in 2004.

 

41. Lyn Larsen

CHAMPION CAPTAIN: Lyn Larsen captioned the Australian Women's Cricket Team between 1985 and 1993, including leading them to a World Cup win in 1988.
Lyn Larsen. Supplied

FORMER Australia women's cricket captain Lyn Larsen lead her squad between 1985 and 1993, including all the way to a World Cup win in 1988.

Born in Lismore, Larsen, 56, was a talented all-rounder who captained the side in 10 Test matches, including five victories.

Larsen also captained the side in 39 Women's one-day internationals, winning 27 and losing 10, including winning the Women's Cricket World Cup in 1988.

In all, Larsen played in 15 Test matches, scoring 410 runs at a batting average of 41.00 with a high score of 86.

She also bowled 354 overs of leg spin, taking 26 wickets at a bowling average of 18.73 and giving away under 1.5 runs per over.

Larsen was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1999 and the NSW Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2013 Larsen became the first female cricketer appointed to the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust.

 

40. Kerrie Perkins

Athlete Kerrie Perkins.
Athlete Kerrie Perkins.

BETWEEN 1997 and 2013, Kyogle-born long jumper Kerrie Perkins won the national title five times and was runner-up for another six.

Perkins is a five-time Australian long jump champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist who leaped 6.57m in 2006 in Melbourne after being out of the medal contention until the penultimate round.

From her first national competition, she was jumping 6m plus and reached a personal best in 2011-12 season with a leviathan 6.70m result.

Not a sport renowned for grace under pressure, Perkins made time stand still as she soared and broke records.

Perkins, who has been based in Canberra since attending the Australian Institute of Sport narrowly missed selection for 2012 London Olympics when she jumped 6.63m and came within 2 cms of the B qualifier.

She first jumped more than 6.50m, a measure of a world-class long jumper, in 2003. In 2007 foot problems kept her off the runway for a year and she has been a regular medallist at Australian Athletics Championships.

39. Bill Chaffey

Bill Chaffey.
Bill Chaffey. SCOTT POWICK

BILL Chaffey has become the gold-standard when it is comes to measuring Para triathalon athletes.

As Australia's five-time world Para triathlon Chaffey, 44, has won five world titles, four continental championships, three Australian titles, a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and came fourth at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

After he was hit by a truck while training for the 2005 Australian Ironman Championships near Chinderah, Chaffey suffered four broken vertebrae, broke both his elbows and fractured his pelvis.

Based at Murwillumbah, Chasey competes in the gruelling PT1 (handcycle/racing wheelchair classification -formerly TRI-1) and was TRI-1 Paratriathlon World Champion in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Awards include the 2013, inaugural Australian Paratriathlon Championships, silver in the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Kona, the 2014 the Oceania Paratriathlon Championships in a world best time of 58.22, and the ITU World Paratriathlon event in Elwood, Melbourne.

Forced to withdraw from the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Series Final in Canada after breaking two bones in his pelvis when he fell out of his racing wheelchair training prior to the event, a year later he won the Oceania Paratriathlon Championships PT1 event.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he won the bronze medal in the Men's PWTC despite crashing whilst leading in the hand cycle leg and finishing with a damaged bike.

Chaffeys final international event was the 2018 World Championships where he finished sixth in the Men's PWTC.

 

38. Izack Rodda

Izack Rodda.
Izack Rodda. Stuart Walmsley

TOWERING and talented rugby union lock Izack Rodda focussed on playing junior rugby union at 13 after playing both union and league in his early years.

Rodda, 23, stands 2.2m and commenced playing union in 2009 for the Ballina Seahorses RUFC and was selected for NSW Country junior teams.

He attended Queensland's Ipswich Grammar for his final two years of high school.

In 2014 he was selected for the Australian Schoolboys rugby team and joined the Easts Tigers club in Brisbane to play Queensland Premier Rugby.

Rodda represented the Queensland Under-20 team in 2015 and 2016, played in the National Rugby Championship for Queensland Country and in 2017, he made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds.

Selected for the Wallabies squad by national coach Michael Cheika, Rodda made his first Test cap for Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup match of 2017 in New Zealand.

In September Rodda signed a four-year deal with Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds

 

37. Dean Ferris

Dean Ferris.
Dean Ferris. Contributed

AUSTRALIAN motocross champion Dean Ferris started out on the path to a professional motocross career chasing cows around the 1600ha family farm outside Kyogle.

Ferris began his formal racing career in 2001 riding a Yamaha YZ 80 2-stroke and he's never looked back.

Seemingly unbeatable, Ferris, 29, is the reigning Australian Motocross Champion in the premier class and added his name to the history books in 2018 as the first rider to win all 10-rounds of the series.

He has also gone undefeated in the title chase for the last three years aboard Yamaha's popular YZ450F.

Earlier this season, the 'Kyogle Kid' filled in for the injured Romain Febvre in the MXGP World Championship.

Having achieved his current goals in the national Australian championship, Ferris moved overseas for a second time chasing opportunities to further hone his skills as a top motocross rider.

But the grounded champion still calls Kyogle home.

 

36. Cody Walker

Cody Walker.
Cody Walker. john mccutcheon

FORMER Casino Cougars junior player Cody Walker, 29, was a late bloomer to the National Rugby League when he made his first-grade debut for South Sydney at the age of 26.

Since that match, the passionate Rabbitoh's player has since established himself as one of the best five-eighths in the competition.

But Walker was returned to representative football after he was demoted from NSW's State of Origin side this season.

Walker played for Country NSW and New South Wales in the 2019 State of Origin series and the Prime Minister's XIII.

On October 7, Walker was named in the Australian side for the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s.

A proud man from the Yuin and Bundjalung tribes, Walker also undertakes a great deal a lot of charity work in the indigenous community.

In 2017 Walker had the honour to captain the Indigenous All Stars to victory in the 2019 NRL All Stars match.

 

35. Brendan Drew

Brendan Drew.
Brendan Drew. Supplied

FAST-medium pace bowler Brendan Drew graduated from playing cricket in the Lismore Workers Club Under-12 carnival.

An outstanding junior, as a 17-year-old Drew played for Alstonville when it defeated Tintenbar-East Ballina in the 2001-02 Hooker League final at Oakes Oval, Lismore.

In 2012 he played his first Sheffield Shield final against Queensland.

Drew arrived in Tasmania mid-season in 2005 and 2006 was his year, taking 20 Pura Cup wickets at 31.60 in six matches, and was 12th man in the Tasmania's historic first ever Pura Cup win in 2006/07.

Part of the Tasmanian Tigers for seven years, his Shield and one-day team appearances were sporadic, but he played in the Twenty20 Big Bash League's last three games.

Moving to Victoria saw him head coach premier cricket player for Camberwell 2012- 2018, winning the Jack Ryder Medal as Premier Cricket's best player in 2016/17.

Drew was a Melbourne Renegades squad member for the 2012-13 Big Bash 2 season.

 

34. Matt Gahan

Matt Gahan.
Matt Gahan. The Northern Star

Currently a free agent, the former New York Mets prospect, Team Australia pitcher and Australian Baseball League player, Gahan, 43, is a firebrand on the mound.

Respected for his speedy pitching, reaching speeds of 150km/h.

Part of one of the first families of Australian baseball Gahan's great-uncle and cousins (and currently nephew Michael), have all played representative baseball for Queensland and, at times, Australia

In 2000 Gahan played with the Brooklyn Cyclones and a report from their first match stated: "Australian hurler Matthew Gahan struck out an impressive six batters in his four innings of work, but was tagged with an earned run despite his teammates' inability to catch a simple pop-up in the seventh inning".

In other words, watch this pitcher, he's on fire.

In 2001 he moved to the Capital City Bombers , before being promoted to Advanced A with the St Lucie Mets in 2002.

His first Australian selection came in 2002 before he suited up against Korea, Japan and also in the World Baseball Classic and the Intercontinental Cup in 2006.

In 2006 he was secured to play professional baseball in Japan and was selected in the 75th Diamond Allstar Queensland team.

Gahan also played in the International Baseball League of Australia with the International All-Stars in 2000/2001.

He played Claxton Shield from 2003 to present with the Queensland Rams (Lismore is part of Baseball Queensland), where he won a Golden Arm award in 2006 and appeared in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

 

33. Stuart Herne

Stuart Herne.
Stuart Herne. Graham Broadhead

HEAD of a Lismore motor racing dynasty, Stuart Herne raced karts until he was 17-years-old.

He was considered a natural driver and when Herne moved into the high-octane world speedway racing in 1986 he raced for 16 years.

The winner of six V8 Dirt Modified division champion titles, along the way Herne collected dozen of cups, silverware and medals for his results.

It seemed there was always a place on the V8 Dirt Modified division podium when Herne was behind the wheel.

Herne's luck seemed to turn when he broke his C6 and C7 vertebrae whilst navigating in an off-road dirt buggy, contesting the Donald 500 on May 3, 2008. His vehicle crashed after hitting a dip on a section of the 100km track that runs around Lake Buloke.

The buggy rolled several times after crashing at more than 150km/h.

It took paramedics more than an hour to extract the father-of-three from the wreck.

After undergoing an arduous seven-hours of surgery to stabilise the fractured vertebrae with rods placed next to the injured spine and bone from his hip, he spent some time recovering in The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne .

Against all odds Herne recovered and reckoned that he was "the luckiest person in Australia".

Herne acted as chief mechanic for his three children and nephew when they started karting.

Son Nathan now races in the TA2 Racing Muscle Car Series and was the 2018 Victorian and New South Wales Formula Ford Champion.

Meanwhile, his daughters Bianca and Natasha competed in NSW Wingless Sprintcar Championship and nephew Josh, is an accomplished karter.

 

32. Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper.
Tom Cooper. Andrew Taylor

NOT many cricketers can claim to have played international crickets for the Netherlands and Australia, but former Lismore junior cricket player of the year, Tom Cooper, has that distinction.

Cooper, 32, who holds a dual Australian-Dutch passport, discovered in 2010 he was eligible to play for the Netherlands national cricket team due to his Dutch passport, and he has represented the country in a World Cup and two World Twenty20s.

The talented middle-order batsman bowls a right-arm off spin and bats right-handed, represented the Dutch at the 2011 World Cup.

He then found form for the Redbacks in Sheffield Shield cricket, scoring an unbeaten 203 against NSW in Sydney and compiling 881 runs at 51.82 in 2013-14 to earn Australia A selection.

Cooper plays domestic cricket for South Australia and for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.

He always shone in the limited overs matches, and his breakout performance came in a match for the Prime Minister's XI against a touring West Indies team, when he scored 160 not out.

In 2014 Cooper helped guide the Netherlands at the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh where he averaged 57.75 for the tournament, including an incredible innings of 45 from just 15 balls to steer the Dutch to a qualification win over Ireland.

In 2016 his inconsistent performances coupled with the emergence of younger players at the Redbacks saw Cooper dropped for a season.

But he regained form with SA signing him for his 10th contract year.

In October Cooper went past 203 for the first time in first class cricket when he was left unbeaten on 271 with SA 6-671 before the Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria.

31. David Mead

David Mead.
David Mead. Rob Wright

A STELLAR career playing junior rugby league football for Lismore Marist Brothers saw David Mead signed by the Gold Coast Titans.

Born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea as David Moore, the lightweight full back moved to Australia as a 12-year-old where he attended Kadina High School and Trinity Catholic College.

In 2008 Mead burst onto the scene representing his PNG homeland at the 2008 World Cup.

Mead debuted for the Titans the following year and proceeded to score 67 tries across eight years and 147 appearances for the club

Between the 2008 World Cup and the 2009 NRL season he changed his surname from Moore to Mead to honour his aunt's family who had raised him when he moved to Australia.

In Round 13 of the 2009 NRL season, Mead made his NRL debut for the Titans against the St George Illawarra Dragons off the interchange bench in the Titans 28-24 win at Skilled Park.

His next appearance in Round 16 against the New Zealand Warriors, Mead made his first appearance in the starting line-up, scoring his first and second NRL career tries in the Titans 28-12 win.

Mead finished his debut year in the NRL with 14 matches and eight tries.

He was part of the PNG squad for the 2009 Pacific Cup, and was named their player of the year by the Rugby League International Federation.

A New South Wales Country Origin and World All Stars representative, Mead also represented his country at the 2013 World Cups and was the PNG Kumuls' captain for the 2017 World Cup.

In 2017 Mead moved to the Brisbane Broncos, in 2018 he joined the English Super League season with the French-based Catalans Dragons on a three-year deal.

30. Rhein Gibson

Lismore touring golf pro, Rhein Gibson, is preparing for a big year on the course. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
Lismore touring golf pro, Rhein Gibson, is preparing for a big year on the course. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

CURRENTLY ranked 315th in the world, former Lismore golfer Rhein Gibson has made a sensational PGA comback.

In June, Gibson, 33, achieved his maiden victory on the Web.com tour, and qualified for the US PGA Tour for a second time, when he shot a 21-under par score of 193 in a rain-shortened 54-hole competition at the BMW event in Greenville, South Carolina.

Gibson's impressive performance saw him come from two strokes behind to win by three courtesy of a bogey-free round of eight-under 63 to record the most significant win of his professional career.

He moved to the United States as an 18-year-old on a college scholarship in Oklahoma.

In 2008 Gibson who was attending Oklahoma Christian University was named the Oklahoma Amateur Player of the Year.

The four-time first-team NAIA All-American, Cooper, graduated with a degree in marketing turned professional in 2010.

Gibson first competed on the PGA Tour in 2016 and has been a regular on the second tier Web.com Tour in hopes of re-qualification.

In 2012 he gained a new moniker 'Mr 55' when he made the golf world sit up and take notice with his 16-under 55 at the River Oakes Golf Club, confirmed as the lowest score shot in the history of a regulation 18-hole course.

Prior to earning his stripes on the PGA Tour, Gibson had played just one PGA event, the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

He earned that start with a hot finish at the 2013 Australian Open, which doubles as an Open Championship Qualifying Series event.

In 2014 he came fourth in the Australian Open before joining the Web.com Tour.

In 2015 Gibson finished equal second in the NSW PGA Championship at the Riverside Oaks Golf Resort.

29. Terry Greedy

Former Australian footballer and Lismore local Terry Greedy at the Football FNC premier league soccer match at Oakes Oval. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Terry Greedy. Marc Stapelberg

REGARDED as one of Australia's best goalkeepers of his generation, Socceroos goalkeeper Terry Greedy, 65, skills took him to within one match from the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

The former Lismore player who cut his teeth playing for Lismore clubs including Thistles, Italo Stars, Eastwood (now Lismore Workers') and Goonellabah, is regarded as one of greatest goalies of his generation.

At 27 he was late-starter as he finished his teacher-training in Lismore before he went to Sydney in 1978 to play for Bankstown Football Club for two years.

Greedy then spent the next two season at Melita Eagles, before settling in with the St George Saints as goal-keeper for four years in the then national league and won a premiership in 1983.

When Saints coach Frank Arok was seconded to the Socceroos the same year, he took Gibson with him,

A year later Greedy almost retired to pursue a second career in teaching but fortunately for soccer, while waiting for a response from the education department, he had second thoughts.

He became first-choice for an eventful 1985 World Cup campaign which ended in the final play-off match against arguably Scotland's best-ever team.

In 1987 he transferred to APIA Leichardt for two seasons.

Greedy went on to play 38 matches for the Socceroos, was honoured with a Hall of Fame Award of Distinction in 2008.

Named in the Socceroos Team of the Decade for the 1980s, even though he served the national team for only 16 full internationals over three years from 1983-1985, Greedy was recognised as an outstanding goalkeeper.

Greedy retired from the sport in 1990.

In 2011 Football Far North Coast named a medal awarded to the male player of the grand final in Greedy's honour.

28. David Russell

Yuya Sakamoto and David Russell finished third in the first Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Series race of the season.
David Russell with Yuya Sakamoto Marinelli Motorsport

LISMORE driver David Russell has a better than one-in-four chance of getting on the podium whenever he gets behind the wheel.

He's been in form in 2019 with a 2nd at the Liqui-moly Bathurst 12 Hour Race - Class A - GT3 Pro-Am and top of the podium at the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour Race - Class B High Performance race.

The 37-year-old has been on the V8 Supercars grid for nine editions of the Bathurst 1000 but missed out on a co-driving spot this year.

With a strong track record of 31 wins in 326 races, he's been on the podium 93 times and recorded the fastest lap in his events on 20 occasions.

With 11 pole positions under his dash, Russell carries a race win percentage of 9.5 per cent and a podium percentage of 28.5 per cent.

It all adds up to a journey which commenced his circuit racing career in Production Car racing, driving a Suzuki Swift in the 2000 Australian GT Production Car Championship.

A year later Russell went to a Proton Satria in the same entry level class of the same series and finished runner-up in class behind the Holden Astra of Luke Youlden.

Later on he raced the Carrera Cup with Sherrin Motor Sport, culminating with third place in the 2008 series behind Craig Baird and Dean Fiore, which also then led to various endurance race drives in Europe and Asia with Juniper Racing and Lago Racing.

In 2018 Russell celebrated a decade of main series Bathurst supercar co-driver racing, having competed there with Fernandez Racing (one season), Kelly Racing ( two seasons), Nissan Motorsport (five seasons) and Tickford Racing (one season).

27. Kieren Perrow

The Quiksilver Pro is only days away and all the big names are in town.Kieran Perrow. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Kieren Perrow. Blainey Woodham /

FORMER Suffolk Park professional surfer Kieren Perrow has seen all aspects of the sport from grommet to one the top jobs on the World Surf League after five years as its founding commissioner.

Perrow, 42, was born at Byron Bay where he joined and joined the local boardriders club at 13.

He was on the professional tour as a full-time competitor in 2002, then moved into the operational side of surfing when he retired from the world tour in 2013 after 11 years on the circuit.

One of the biggest changes he oversaw was the 2018 decision to ensure women will be paid the same prize money as men across all World Surf League events from 2019.

The move was backed by leading athletes on both the women's and men's tours.

However, the sport won't lose this intelligent and articulate ambassador as he shifted his focus to a development role, coaching with the WSL.

Perrow was one of the first surfers whose incredible rides, on a then-unknown wave at Shipstern's Bluff in Tasmania, entered the public stream of consciousness in 2001 as the new gold-standard of heavy-wave surfing.

His gliding along the leviathan barrels of Shipstern's led the mainstream charge of big-wave surfing.

After losing to Jeremy Flores in the 2010 final, Perrow's Billabong Pipeline Masters victory in Hawaii at the end of 2011 was one of the most emotional wins of his career.

Two years later at the same event he dislocated his shoulder in the first round first round of a competition which would become his last.

While leading a large sports organisation through changes is never easy, Perrow has come through as both respected and liked.

26. Aaron Teys

THE CHAMP: 2015 Australian Open Winner Aaron Teys, will return for 2016.
Aaron Teys. Glen Wimberley

BALLINA product Aaron Teys is one of the most gifted lawn bowlers to come out of the region.

The home-grown international won the 2017 World Singles Champion of Champions and a multiple champion of indoor and outdoor championships, Teys, 26, continues his impressive dominance of the sport.

In November, Teys will be one of six Jackaroos from the recent Asia Pacific championships to be retained by Bowls Australia in the side to contest the new international event, the World Bowls Challenge at Moama, Victoria, which is considered the bowls equivalent of golf's Ryder Cup.

Knee-high to a boundary peg when he started bowls, by the time he was 13, Teys was collecting top championships against the best adult bowlers in two local clubs.

By then he'd already won junior bowler of the year.

Showing a maturity on the green beyond his years with a gentlemanly approach to sportsmanship to match, Teys won two major club singles titles against all-comers at Ballina club and Evans Head.

He left Ballina to become an apprentice greenkeeper at one of Australia's biggest bowls clubs, Warilla, where he learned from six-times World Cup singles winner, the giant Northern Ireland star Jeremy Henry, and has gone on to win an Australian Open singles among other impressive titles.

Teys is building a remarkable record and his pool room haul includes gold in the Triples and Fours at the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships, bronze in the Singles at 2018 Welsh 10-Nations, silver in the Triples and Fours for the 2017 Gold Coast Multi-Nations, gold in the 2018 Australian Indoor Championships and silver in the pairs, and gold in the 2015 Australian Open Singles.

25. Adam Pine

Australian freestyle and butterfly swimmer Adam Pine.Photo The Northern Star Archives
Adam Pine. The Northern Star Archives

ONE of the hardest working swimmers to come out of Lismore, Olympic gold medallist Adam Pine was outstanding in the freestyle and butterfly events.

He gained a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport and his career included three Olympics and four Commonwealth Games.

Pine competed for Australia in the 2000, and 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.

In 2000, he swam in the heats for the gold (4x100-metre freestyle relay) and silver (4x100-metre medley relay) medal winning relay teams.

At the 2004 Olympics, he swam in the 100-metre butterfly and was a member of the Australian 4x100-metre medley relay team, however this relay team failed to reach the finals.

Pine recited the Athletes Oath at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as the occasion was his fourth appearance.

At the age of 31 he astounded pundits when he qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 100-metre butterfly.

At the 2009 Rome World Championship trials (Australian Long Course swimming trials) Pine swam in the finals finishing 2nd in the 100-metre butterfly.

This swim was under the A qualifying time for the world championships and earned Pine a slot on the Australian World Championship Team.

Married to Sasha, whom he met when they attended the University of Nebraska in the United States on scholarships, the couple have four children.

His wife's parents are Olympic swimmers Diana Rickard and Roger van Hamburg.

After retirement from competition, Pine stayed in the pool when he became general manager of Community Sports at Swimming Australia.

In 2013 Pine became the administrative head of the Paralympic Swimming Program for Swimming Australia and he was appointed Team Leader for the Australian Swim Team at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

24. Naazmi Johnston

SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE DISCUSS USE WITH YOUR EDITOR - GYMNASTIC GOLD: Lismore-born Naazmi Johnston was grace under pressure and won five medals including two gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games,
Naazmi Johnston. Supplied

LISMORE-BORN Commonwealth Games gold medallist Naazmi Johnston was an outstanding rhythmic gymnast.

The younger sister of sister Shaneez who won two silver and three bronze at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Johnston went on to eclipse her talented sibling.

Her family has a strong link with the Northern Rivers, moving to Woodburn and then Wyrallah from Sydney, with Johnston born in 1988.

She caught the rhythmic gymnastics bug as a youngster watching Shaneez learn the basics of the sport at Lismore's Police Citizens Youth Club, under the watchful eyes of firstly Margaret Watts and then Kim Haynes.

As an eight-year-old, she would sit and watch her sister in the gym, then sneak away to experiment with various apparatus on her own.

The family eventually moved to Sydney to allow their daughters to chase their gymnastic dreams - which they did.

Recognised as one of Australia's most decorated rhythmic gymnasts, which involves ball, hoop, ribbon and rope routines, Johnston won six Commonwealth Games medals including three gold at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

She competed at world championships, including at the 2005 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, 2009 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships.

Johnston represented Australia at the 2008 Summer Olympics where she finished just outside the top 20.

In the 2010 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in India she won gold for Australia for the first time in 16 years and took silver the same year at the Pacific Rim Championships in Australia.

In 2011 Johnston performed on Australia's Got Talent with a group called Meriden Rhythmix where they performed routines of rhythmic gymnastics and made it to the semi-finals before being eliminated.

23. Arthur Black

Arthur Black. The Northern Star
Arthur Black.

A SOUTH Lismore giant of the greens, Arthur Black, was a an outstanding lawn bowler who represented Australia at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Together with lawn bowls pairs partner, Kevin Henricks the dynamic duo came away with a highly respectable ninth against some very tough teams in unbelievable conditions.

Afterwards Black commented on the game and said it was an experience that tested even his remarkable skill.

He described the experience as "playing at 10 o'clock at night in pouring rain on saturated greens".

During his incredible 40 years as a competitive lawn bowler, Black played for New South Wales 121 times and for Australia 28 times.

However, the passionate bowler was always ready to to step up and represent his club and he took these matches just a seriously, which no doubt contributed to his fine form on the national and international scene.

In 1985 Black was chosen to play in the pairs and fours squads in the Asia-Pacific Bowls Championships inaugural games at Tweed Heads.

He was an inspired choice as his efforts helped Australia to come away the gold medal in the Men's Fours and silver medal in the Men's Pairs events.

Black also played for his country in Trans-Tasman tests against New Zealand.

He also won the prestigious and hard-fought Northern Rivers District Bowls Association title five times and was made a life member of the South Lismore Bowling Club

In 2016 Black and Australia's most decorated bowler Rex Johnston, better known as Paddles, were honoured by a trophy known as the Black Paddles Shield which is contested between local Zone One and Zone 11 (Manning district) senior sides.

In 2017 Black passed away.

22. Nathan Baggaley

**FILE** An August 28, 2004 file photo of Australian Nathan Baggaley on his way to finishing second in the K1 500 mens event at tthe 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Baggaley, appeared before Lismore District Court on Thursday, May 28, 2009 facing a total of three charges, with the most serious being the supply of a commercial quantity of ecstasy, or 1,000 pills. (AAP Image/Julian Smith, file) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE
Nathan Baggaley. JULIAN SMITH

A MAGNIFICENT career overshadowed by several drug scandals, kayaker Nathan Baggaley is a multiple former world champion and Olympic silver medallist.

A triple world champion in the K1 Class sprints, Baggaley, 43, won gold in 2002 at Seville and in 2003 at Gainsville in the highly competitive 500m events.

He came back to win the same event in 2005 at Zagreb after being banned for 24 months for steroid use, which brought into question his results although none of his medals were ever withdrawn.

Baggaley was nothing if not versatile, taking silver medals in both the K1 and K2 500m sprints at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

A seven times national champion, the incredibly talented Byron Bay athlete made his international debut for Australia in 1997, initially competing in the K-2 class.

Then two years later Baggaley switched to the K-1 were he enjoyed stunning success and reached the K-1 500m semifinals at Sydney in 2000.

Baggaley was voted the Australian Institute of Sport's Athlete of the Year in 2004 and in August 2005, he was honoured with carrying the Australian flag at the opening ceremony for the 34th International Canoe Federation World Championships in Croatia.

But a month later Baggaley was again banned, this time for 15 months for the use of performance enhancing drugs when he tested positive to banned steroids stanozolol and methandienone in an out-of-competition drug test conducted by the Australian Sports

He was subsequently jailed for drugs charges in 2009.

This downward spiral continued and in August 2018, Baggaley's brother, Dru was arrested in connection with the attempted importation of 600 kilograms of cocaine and in June 2019, Baggaley was arrested in connection with the same alleged crime.

He remains in custody while the case continues.

21. Harold Crozier

Harold Crozier was a top ranked baseman and batter in the 1950s and 60s.
Harold Crozier. Contributed

EXCELLING at cricket and baseball, Harold Crozier, was a lifelong sportsman whose achievements were honoured with the naming of one of Lismore's main sporting faculties, Crozier Field.

Born in 1932, Crozier spent parts of his early childhood in Lismore before spending his teenage years in Alstonville where he discovered his first love cricket in 1946 at the local club.

A First Grade cricketer for 40 years, Crozier played well into his 50s, reportedlye scoring close to 10,000 runs, including 10 centuries.

His career also included being in the representative cricket team for NSW playing against South Africa when they toured in 1963 and then in 1966 against England.

A talented and tough wicket keeper-batsman, Crozier also captained both the Marist Brothers and the Easts Cricket Clubs which under his leadership won either a minor or major premiership 17 times over a 20-year period.

A life member of Eastern Districts Cricket Club in Lismore, Far North Coast Cricket Council, Far North Coast Cricket Umpires' Association and Lismore District Cricket Association.

His second sporting love was baseball which he started at the age of 10, suiting up for Brothers.

In the 1960s when he was in his early 20s he transferred to The Wanderers, also played for Norths and Ballina and was part of the Far North Coast representative team from 1952 through to 1962 as the regular second baseman.

In 1959 Crozier was selected to be in the Australian team as a second baseman.

Crozier retired from playing baseball in 1973 at the age of 41, making a return at 72 to play alongside his son David for the Ballina Sharks, where in the second year they won the grand final.

He died this year.

20. Danny Wills

OLD MATES: Mick Fanning and Danny Wills prepare to paddle out for their heat.
Mick Fanning and Danny Wills. Contributed

THE best surfer from Byron Bay to never have won a world title, Danny Wills had the misfortune to be a stand-out surfer at a time when the competition was tougher than usual.

The former ASP World Tour surfer and 'Top-44' contender grew up surfing with his dad Mick at four.

Wills, a natural-footer, made his debut on the surfing world tour in 1997 where he spent 13 years.

In his maiden year he stunned onlookers when he managed a big heat win at the Buondi Pro, in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, against Kelly Slater, the seemingly impregnable then five-time World Champion.

With his deadly combination of power, determination and finesse, Wills was once praised as the most technically perfect on tour and rose to be ranked number three in the world in 1998.

He'd taken out back-to-back contests in Japan, before losing out to then 11-time world champion Slater.

Sponsored by Quiksilver and regarded as one of the fittest men on the professional tour, he had beaten some of the most impressive wave-riders including American Tom Curren.

At Bells Beach in 2001 he surfed superbly but came unstuck in the final when wild-card Mick Fanning blitzed through in the frenzy that is the Rip Curl Pro, to beat one of his childhood idols.

Wills came second and narrowly missing out on the ringing the famous trophy Willis was a good sport at the presentation.

In March 2009 Wills formerly retired from the ASP

In 2016 Wills became the NSW Open Shortboard Champion and he's previously won the local Ben King Memorial Easter Surf Classic at Byron Bay.

Wills who is still an active member of the local surfing club, now runs a surf shop in his hometown and can still be seen ripping on waves up and down the coast.

19. Lisa Casagrande

SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE DISCUSS USE WITH YOUR EDITOR - STRIKING MIDFIELDER: Former Matlida Lisa Casagrande is regarded as one of he best soccer female soccer players Australia has produced after she made her international debut at 14..
Former Matlida Lisa Casagrande. Supplied

A VERSATILE and assertive midfielder, former Matildas player Lisa Casagrande is regarded as one of Australia's best female soccer players.

Now 41, Casagrande's first match for the Matildas came against Japan in 1994 when she was only 14 years old.

A year later she scored in a 3-2 win over Brazil.

Casagrande featured at two FIFA Women's World Cups and became the youngest player to reach 50 international caps, finishing at 22 with a total of 64 international appearances and 13 goals.

She represented Australia in the 1995 World Cup, scoring in Australia's 1-4 loss to USA.

As the first woman to receive an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship, Casagrande was invited to train with the male AIS team in 1994.

A skilful player who scored regularly in the mid-1990s for Australia against sides like South Korea, Canada, and Netherlands., Casagrande bagged four goals during the 1998 World Cup qualifying matches, and one goal in pre-World Cup matches against Canada.

Casagrande was also the top scorer in 1998-99 in the national women's league for Canberra Eclipse.

She played in all of Australia's matches at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and scored a goal against the United States in the qualifications.

The men's USA Olympic coach invited Casagrande to join the University of Portland football team and assisted Portland make the final four in 2000 and 2001.

Selected for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the Matildas failed to place.

She played for the Goonellabah Football Club (1995-1996), the Northern NSW Pride (1996-1997) and the Canberra Eclipse (1997-1999)

The Football Federation Australia named her in its "Teams of the Decade" for 1990-1999 and in 2015 she was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

 

18. Mitchell Aubusson

Mitchell Aubusson of the Roosters during the NRL First Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, September 13, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Mitchell Aubusson. JOEL CARRETT

FORMER Ballina student, Mitchell Aubusson, plays as a second-row, centre and lock for the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League.

In October a knee injury forced Aubusson, 32, to watch most of the Sydney Roosters' NRL grand final back-to-back win from the sidelines after he left the field in the 13th minute after he struggled to get up from a try-saving tackle on Canberra second-rower Elliot Whitehead.

It was a third grand final win for Aubusson, who was part of the Roosters' premiership-winning teams in 2013 and 2018.

Aubusson played his first grand final in 2010 and has just completed his 13th season in the NRL.

In August he signed a one-year contract extension.

He is the third most-capped player in the Roosters' 111-year history behind Luke Ricketson (301 games) and Anthony Minichiello (302).

Aubusson attended Xavier Catholic College Ballina and in 2005 he was selected for and played played for the Australian Schoolboys team and also played for NSW Country.

Aubusson was part of the Roosters sides who won three 3 consecutive minor premierships in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but failed to reach the grand final in the latter two seasons.

In 2017, Aubusson made 25 appearances for the club as the Roosters made the preliminary final but fell short of a grand final appearance losing to North Queensland 29-16.

In 2018, he was part of the side that won their fourth minor premiership in six years. and played in the 2018 NRL Grand Final in which the Sydney Roosters defeated Melbourne 21-6 winning their 14th premiership.

The younger brother of former Rooster James, Aubusson is a three-time recipient of the Roosters' prestigious James Mathews Award for Clubman of the Year (2011, 2015, 2016).

 

17. Justin Harrison

Justin Harrison of Classic Wallabies against Darling Downs Over 35s Barbarians at Gold Park, Sunday, June 10, 2018.
Justin Harrison of Classic Wallabies against Darling Downs Over 35s Barbarians at Gold Park, Sunday, June 10, 2018. Kevin Farmer

THE decision to join the Southern Cross University rugby team to make friend when he moved to Lismore to study marine science, led James Harrison to an international career.

Starting out in SCU's Baby Rats team, his natural skills saw Harrison promoted into the Gold Rats squad, where the coach must have thought all his dreams had come true.

Harrison then soon moved to Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club in Canberra and he made the 1994 Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Under-21s and then the Australian Universities team.

The following year, he played in the Australian U21s team and made his debut for the ACT against New South Wales.

Harrison made his Super 12 debut with the Brumbies in 1997.

In 2001 he made his international début as Australia took on the British and Irish Lions in the third and final test of the 2001 series.

By now he had switched courses and universities and that year graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sports Administration at the University of Canberra.

A veteran of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Harrison joined the New South Wales Waratahs at the beginning of 2004 for two seasons before moving to the northern hemisphere to play for Ulster.

He played 25 games for Ulster, 19 of those in the Celtic League and 6 in the Heineken Cup.

At the end of the 2008 season, Harrison moved to Bath Rugby then in November 2009, it was announced that Harrison would return to play for the Brumbies in 2010 on a one-year deal, as coverage for Peter Kimlin.

In July 2010 it was announced that Harrison would become forwards coach at Brumbies, agreeing a two-year deal with the club

Harrison, 45, is currently head coach for RC Narbonne in France.

16. Pauline Menczer

LEGEND: Former World Women's Surfing Champion Pauline Menczer.
Pauline Menczer. Chruistian Morrow

THERE are not many surfers with the grit and formidable determination which accompanied the powerful athletic grace and style of world champion surfer Pauline Menczer.

The living embodiment of Shakespeare's Hermia,"though she be but little she is fierce," Menczer's competitive record includes winning 20 major surf events, including the 1988 World Women's Amateur Championship, 1993 World Women's Surf Championship and WQS champion in 2002.

These titles are all the more remarkable in that Menczer achieved these results without major sponsorships and while battling bouts of crippling rheumatoid arthritis.

Now living in Brunswick Heads with her fiancee Samantha, in 2018 Menczer was honoured by the sport that for a long time had overlooked her qualities in the surf when she was inducted into Surfing Australia's Hall of Fame.

Raised at Bronte, by 13 she was a Bondi grommet and determined to enter surfing competitions, so funded her amateur career by collecting aluminium cans, baking cakes and selling toffees at high school.

Possessed by a powerful, athletic style and no shortage of courage, she won her way to a berth in the world amateur championships in Puerto Rico in 1988 and came home world champion, at just 18.

The win gave her the confidence to launch a pro career and get a coach in Steve Foreman, who helped her take on her idols Wendy Botha and Pam Burridge.

Throughout the late 80s and early 90s Menczer raised the bar in the women's pro scene and kept challenging the likes of Lisa Andersen, Burridge and Layne Beachley.

Menczer, 48, moved to Byron when she was 22 and she and her partner Sam now live in Brunswick Heads.

 

15. Gary Elkerton

The power surfing that drove Gary Elkerton to second place on the world tour on three occasions hasn't diminished with age.
Gary Elkerton.

FORMER world surfing tour three-time runner-up Gary "Kong" Elkerton is regarded as the best surfer never to win a world title.

The Ballina-born natural-footer, who grew up in Byron, moved to the Sunshine Coast when he was 11.

He spent many years at sea working on his Dad's prawn trawler, ranging up and down the Great Barrier Reef, but it was wave-riding not seafood that captured his attention.

By 1980, he had achieved significant success as a competitive junior surfer during his breaks from the trawler, so much so that he won his first of several Queensland titles.

Encouraged by sponsorships from emerging surf labels Quiksilver and Rip Curl, the Elkertons encouraged their son to pursue a career as a surfer.

So the highly talented amateur with a powerful quench for big waves turned professional as a 17-year-old in 1984 and stepped off the world championship tour 15 years later.

His final Tour highlight was at Grajagan in '96 where he beat rising super star Kelly Slater in the semi-final by scoring a perfect 10-point ride.

Elkerton won many prestigious amateur and pro-am titles around Australia throughout the years 1980-1984, including numerous Queensland Junior and Opens, the Cue Cola and JJJ Pro Juniors, The Jesus Classic Pro-Am and the Australian Open Amateur.

Along the way he showed he was one of the few non-Hawaiians who could match them in massive waves when he picked up two Hawaiian Triple Crown Champions, multiple Sunset Beach and Pipeline Masters Champion.

Elkerton was runner-up world champion in 1987, 1990 and 1993 but took three World Masters Champion titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

In 2009 Elkerton was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.

 

14. Matt King

NRL player and former Kangaroo Matt King watches local junior rugby league players taking part in the second annaul Matt King Shield at Casino on Friday.

Photo Doug Eaton / Richmond River Express Examiner
Matt King. Doug Eaton

TALENTED player turned coach, Matthew King, was a potent centre who played New South Wales State of Origin and was an Australian international representative.

Born in Casino in 1980, King won a first grade premiership at Brothers under current coach Michael Woods and played all his juniors at the Casino Cougars.

In 2000, he was signed by the North Sydney Bears where he worked his way through the grades at the club playing in both Jersey Flegg and reserve grade.

King suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2002 while playing off the bench for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks' reserve grade side and then quit NRL aged 22.

By 2003 he returned to NRL and signed with the Melbourne Storm's feeder club, Brisbane Norths, where he played for nearly a year before being selected to make his début against the St George Illawarra Dragons in round 24.

In 2005 he was called up for his first major representative honour, being selected for the NSW State of Origin side for all three games and in the decider he became the 9th player (and 4th New South Welshman) to score a hat-trick.

King was selected to play for the Australian national team on the wing in the 2007 ANZAC Test match against New Zealand, scoring a try in the Kangaroos' 30-6 victory.

After playing 91 games at the Storm between 2003-2007 he signed a lucrative four-year deal with Warrington Wolves in the English Super League and won the 2009 and 2010 Challenge Cups with Warrington Wolves.

He was also named at centre in the 2010 Super League Dream Team.

After he returned to the NRL in 2012, King finished his career at South Sydney, where he retired after the following season and joined the team's coaching staff, contributing to their winning the 2014 NRL premiership.

He returned home to play a handful of first grade games with the Casino Cougars in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League in 2014.

Currently an assistant coach at the Sydney Roosters, King also works as a guest commentator on Fox Sports.

 

13. Sam Trimble

Sam Trimble
Sam Trimble. Contributed

REGARDED as one of the best cricketers to not play a Test match for Australia, Lismore-born Sam Trimble was a formidable opening batsman.

Trimble who passed away in July, grew up at Booyong playing in inter-district competitions on his way to play for Queensland where he moved to maximise his chances of playing first class cricket.

Few have come closer to playing a test match; Trimble was 12th man for the first Test against the West Indies in Jamaica in 1965 and he also captained an Australia Second XI to New Zealand in 1969, making a double century.

A Life Member of Queensland Cricket, Trimble was the only member selected in its Team of the 20th Century who did not play Test cricket.

His path was blocked at international level by the likes of Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson, despite regularly being among the leading scorers for Queensland.

The Sheffield Shield centuries which are so elusive to modern players came readily to Trimble in 1963-64 (five), 1964-65 (three) and 1965-66 (three).

Trimble's 144-match first class career saw him harvest 10,282 runs at 41.00.

His Shield record for Queensland returned 8647 runs at 39.85 including 22 centuries.

Trimble possessed a first-class record of runs for Queensland of 9465 at 40.80 from 133 games, which meant he was the State's all-time leading runs-scorer until eventually eclipsed by Stuart Law and Martin Love.

After his career he ran the indoor nets at the 'Gabba in Brisbane and the sports field at Bexhill was named in his honour.

Trimble was generous with his advice and encouraged all athletes in the sport, providing meticulous and enthusiastic coaching.

In the 1990s he worked with Ian Healy to assist him to improve his batting for Australia.

12. David Kennedy

TIGHT GRIP: David Kennedy holds on to Freckles Brown at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct Rodeo.
Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
David Kennedy. Paul Donaldson BUN260915PBR3

IT'S eight of the most dangerous seconds in one of the toughest sports in the world.

Bull-riding requires more than luck and fitness and while it may not be as big here -- or as well paid -- as it is in the United States, Kyogle-born David Kennedy showed he was a champion on both sides of the world.

A shed builder from Kyogle, Kennedy made his first ride at age 11 in his home town and spent spent 13 years riding before bursting onto the Professional Bull Rider scene in 2008 at the Troy Dunn International in Townsville, where he qualified for his first of many Australian National Finals.

A key member of Australia's Professional Bull Riders World Cup Team, Kennedy was the only athlete to have won four times and was previously the only competitor to win it for a third time in 2012.

And he helped them recognised internationally when he was part of the Australian team who took out third place at the Professional Bull Riders World Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kennedy won the title back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 before heading to the US to compete the following year.

He became enamoured with the sport as an 11-year-old growing up on the family farm outside of Grevillea, near Kyogle, after his father told him to try riding a calf after he complained of being bored.

In 2011 he was named the Kyogle sportsperson of the year, in 2014 won his fourth Professional Bull Rider Australian title.

The 2015 Troy Dunn Invitational was especially special to four-time Australia Champion David Kennedy, who nodded his head for the last time in his career in front of a vocal Townsville crowd.

 

 

11. Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright of Australia, current World No.1 on the Jeep Leaderboard and defending WSL Women's World Champion pictured with the WSL Title Trophy at the Maui Women's Pro where she has a chance to second consecutive WSL World Title.
Tyler Wright. Kelly Cestari

TWO-time World Champion Tyler Wright made everyone sit and take notice when, as a 14-year-old wildcard, she became the youngest surfer in history to win a Championship Tour event at the 2008 Beachley Classic in Sydney.

Tyler was considered a surfing prodigy, being one of several surfing siblings including brothers Mikey and Owen, who are also on the pro tour.

Currently all three surfers have been sidelined from the surf due to injury.

While Tyler competed all over Australia for years as junior, it was the Beachley Classic where she out-surfed several elite athletes twice her age and experience that made her win all the more significant.

Three years later she joined the Tour full-time and showed her sublime surfing with a finals appearance at the Roxy Pro.

In 2013 Wright was the runner-up to Hawaiian Carissa Moore and in 2014 she was again the bridesmaid, this time to fellow-Aussie, Stephanie Gilmore.

In 2016 Wright won five events to secure her first World Title.

A year later, despite a knee injury, Wright made an incredible move from underdog to top-cat in the final two events of the season to claim the crown.

In 2018 Wright contracted influenza in Africa and has been unable to compete due to significant post-viral symptoms.

In March this year she confirmed her return to the WCT would be delayed while she recovered.

Meanwhile, in 2015, Owen suffered a severe head trauma resulting in a brain injury at Pipeline on the North Shore of Hawaii and has yet to return to competitive surfing.

Earlier this year Mikey injured his back and is still in recovery.

10. Warren Birmingham

Australian hockey great, Warren Birmingham, who resides in Ballina and Kingscliff, was inducted into the NSW Sports Hall of Champions on Monday night.
Warren Birmingham. Matthias Engesser

CORAKI-raised Warren "Busta" Birmingham's passion for field hockey saw him rise to the top and captain the Australian men's team the Kookaburras to win a silver at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Under Birmingham's leadership at the 19912 Olympics, the Kookaburras dominated their preliminary games, scoring 20 goals and only conceding two, before beating the Netherlands in the semi-final.

In the final the Kookaburras lost to Germany 2-1, having drawn 1-1 with them in a preliminary match.

A superb player whose sublime talents were highly respected, Birmingham won the International Player of the Year that same year.

Birmingham debuted for the Kookaburras in 1984 and represented Australia at the Olympic Games in 1988 at Seoul where the Kookaburras came fourth.

Born in 1962, the former Marist Brothers student maintained an elite level of skill and fitness which saw him selected in nine consecutive World XI teams.

He played in 200 international games, including three World Cups winning one gold and two bronze medals.

In 2008 Hockey Australia honoured his efforts as one of the inaugural inductees of Hockey Australia's Hall of Fame.

Now based on the Far North Coast, Birmingham's insightful approach to his beloved sport allowed him to male the seemingly simple but in fact often difficult transition to coaching, where he showed he possessed the ability to wield a team of individuals to achieve at the highest level.

In 2015 Birmingham was selected to coach the NSW Waratahs hockey team after he guided he NSW women's team to a gold medal in the Australian Hockey League in 2014 and he held the role of coaching director for Hockey NSW.

 

9. Kerry Saxby-Junna

Kerry Saxby-Junna will be participating in the Ballina to Byron Charity walk on Sunday. Mireille Merlet-Shaw / The Northern Star
Kerry Saxby-Junna. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

KNOWN as Ballina's Golden Girl, Kerry Saxby-Junna originally competed in running, but it was when she switched to race walking that she found her mettle.

An outstanding track and field athlete, she represented Australia 27 times in international competitions and set 32 world records or world bests, along the way scooping up 27 Australian Championships and 13 individual international medals before retiring in 2001.

Among these events throughout her 18-year athletic career, she competed at the 1990, 1994, and 1998 Commonwealth Games, and the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games.

Saxby-Junna was named AIS sportsperson of the year three times and Australian Sportswoman of the Year in 1989 and 1990.

She was also awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and an AM on Australia Day in 1992 for services to Australian Athletics.

Saxby-Junna, who now lives in Canberra first represented Australia in the Isle of Man at the World Walk Race Walking Cup in 1985.

In 1990 the women's walk was finally introduced to the Commonwealth Games and in Auckland she was supreme, winning by two minutes.

She repeated four years later and took silver in 1998.

By 1999 the women's walk had matured as an event, extended to 20km at championship level.

In the searing heat of Seville, seemingly against all odds and expectation Kerry finished a magnificent third at the World Championships.

Her time -- a quick 1:31.18 -- was surprise enough for the by-then 38 year old but she was even more shocked by the news of a medal - believing she had finished fourth.

In 2000, at her home Olympics in Sydney, by then a mother, she finished seventh and she retired after the Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001 aged 40.

 

8. Athol McQueen

Historic: Sport: Boxing
Athol Ferguson McQueen of Kyogle, who knocked down Joe Frazier at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. McQueen rates Frazier among the top 10 boxers of all time.
Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star 
10 September 2004
Athol McQueen. Cathy Adams

KYOGLE'S former heavy-weight boxing champion of Australia thundering right-fist sent Smokin' Joe Frazier into the canvas during a quarter-final in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

McQuen had beaten home-town hero Tadayuki Maruyama 5-0 in the first bout.

While McQueen etched his name in boxing history when he knocked down Frazier as the first man to ever do so, Frazier eventually returned the favour in the third round.

In a controversial decision, the referee did not apply an obligatory eight count.

McQueen later admitted he'd thought the fight had been stopped and walked towards his corner where the bout was then declared over.

It was a contentious ending, although McQueen said he probably would not have won the fight, he said he would have finished the bout.

Frazier, who had a lethal left hook, went on to win the gold medal before becoming a household name, including his knocking down of Muhammad Ali in the heavyweight "Fight of the Century" in 1971.

McQueen won the Queensland light heavyweight title in 1960 and the NSW title the following year.

He also went on to numerous Australian heavyweight titles before his meeting with Frazier in Tokyo.

McQueen also had two memorable battles with former Olympic bronze medallist Tony Madigan, one at the Kyogle Memorial Hall, where he lost both bouts to the man who went on to represent Australia in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics.

While he also won the right to represent Australia in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, McQueen missed out as officials only took half a boxing team.

In 2009 McQueen was named in the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame.

7. Ben Kennedy

Ben Kennedy.
Ben Kennedy. Brett Wortman/bw163477n

HE CARVED out a career in as one of the most rugged NRL forwards of his generation, but Casino-born Ben Kennedy started out in union.

Born in 1974, Kennedy played the first of his 16 Tests for Australia in 2000, when the Kangaroos played Fiji in the World Cup tournament.

Kennedy's ability to bust the line on the edge of the rucks and his fearsome defence was seen to great affect in England where he played in each of the three Tests.

He dominated rugby league, playing in six out seven Australian test matches in 2005 and captaining the Manly Sea Eagles.

In an 11-year career, Kennedy was a NSW State of Origin and Australian international representative forward and made 13 appearances for NSW between 1999 and 2005, scoring one try.

Kennedy played his 67 times for the Canberra Raiders (where he was the 1996 Rookie of the Year), 86 times Newcastle Knights (with whom he won the 2001 NRL Premiership) and the 42 times for Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

In 1999, Kennedy and team-mate Brandon Pearson were accused of drug-taking but subsequent tests for both returned negative.

Also known as BK, he first represented NSW in 1999 after a schoolboy career playing GPS 1st 15 rugby union at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, when he transferred to grade 12.

He was selected in the Australian Schoolboys side before switching to rugby league, playing for the Casino Cougars.

BK wrapped up his international career in the 2006 Anzac Test with six tries to his name.

 

6. Chris Munce

chris munce
Chris Munce

LISMORE-born, Melbourne Cup winning jockey-turned-trainer Chris Munce has had a colourful career in the saddle, riding well over 2500 winners including 42 Group victories.

One of only seven hoops to have won racing's Grand Slam -- Golden Slipper, Cox Plate, Caulfield and Melbourne Cups -- the talented rider was raised in Casino.

Munce was trusted by Australia's top trainers including Gai Waterhouse and Bart Cummings, to ride some of the best gallopers of his generation, including Desert War, Dance Hero, Dane Ripper and Savabeel to victory.

His dream of wining the race which stops a nation came true in the 1998 Melbourne Cup where he steered the Brian Jenkins trained Jezabeel to victory, earning his connections $1,680,000 plus trophies.

Six years later on Savabeel, he took home the 2004 W.S. Cox Plate.

A career low in 2007 for the much sought-after jockey then riding in Hong Kong, saw him jailed after he was found guilty of selling racing tips.

Munce allegedly accepted favours in the form of bets in return for tips from businessman Andy Lau between December 2005 and July 2006, a charge which Munce denied.

He spent 20 months in jail in Hong Kong and Sydney and was released from Silverwater Jail on October 30, 2008.

In 2015 Munce switched the saddle for stables after 29 years, to take on the reins from father-in-law Barry Mitchell, training 54 winners in 2018.

Munce, 50, works his eponymous stables at Brisbane's Eagle Farm where his wife Cathy is the training manager.

 

5. Craig Foster

Former Socceroo captain and Lismore local Craig Foster will play in the 2019 Lismore Workers Masters Games.
Craig Foster.

LISMORE'S home-grown Socceroo midfielder Craig Foster has shown he has much courage on the field as off.

The former player with, and captain of, the Socceroos, Foster made 29 appearances for the Australian national team and his professional soccer career included playing in Australia, Asia and England.

Following his retirement from the field, Craig enjoyed a multiple Logie-winning broadcast career with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) alongside some of the great men of football broadcasting including Johnny Warren and Les Murray.

His parents still live in Lismore and Foster is regular visitor.

However, it is through Foster's support as well as his advocacy for sport and human rights, that he has shown himself to be a real hero when in 2018/19, he lead a global advocacy and lobbying campaign for an imprisoned young, refugee footballer in a Thai prison.

Foster's championship of the cause of Hakeem al-Araibi, who was in danger of extradition to Bahrain where he faced a repeat of torture suffered in 2012 and, many believed, possible loss of life after speaking out against a member of the Royal family.

He worked closely with the Australian Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Bangkok, travelled the world to lobby FIFA and the United Nations, lobbied Governments and Embassies in Thailand and coordinated with numerous stakeholders including World Players United, FIFPro, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network to result in the release of Hakeem and safe return to his young wife in Australia.

As a member of the Multicultural Council of Australia, Foster works to ensure the ongoing social harmony of Australia's diverse and changing population and works with a vast range of social programs in indigenous football, homelessness, domestic violence and refugee advocacy.

As an Ambassador for Human Rights and Refugees with Amnesty Australia, Foster has developed a primary school initiative with the Australian Government for Harmony Day and is a former Chairman, Life Member and chief executive of Professional Footballers Australia, Australia's representative body of the Socceroos, Matildas and professional players around the world.

As well as a Masters of International Sport Management and Postgraduate Degree in Football Management, he is completing his law degree.

As a player, Foster started his football career with National Soccer League clubs Adelaide City and Marconi and also played for English sides, Portsmouth and Crystal Palace as skipper and National Soccer League side, Northern Spirit FC.

 

4. Jacqueline Freney

The 2014 Young Australian Of The Year and OAM receiptant,  Jacqueline Freney. Pictured at Skennards Head. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Jacqueline Freney. Patrick Gorbunovs

AUSTRALIA'S most successful athlete at a single Olympic Games, Jacqueline Freney's sporting glory at the London Paralympics in 2012 equalled Michael Phelps' eight gold medals in Beijing and surpassed the great Mark Spitz's seven golds in Munich.

With a string of gold, silver and bronze medals to her name, swimmer Freney was just 20 when she smashed world records to win those eight gold medals, earning her also Paralympian of the Year by Australia Post who celebrated her achievements with the release of a commemorative stamp featuring the inspirational athlete.

In 2012 she was named Ballina Shire's Sportsperson of the Year, the 2012 Australian Paralympian of the Year overall and the Female Paralympian of the Year.

Four years earlier Freney, who lives at Skennars Head, was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport Paralympic swimming scholarship and went on to win three bronze medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.

On Australian Day 2014 she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, "For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games," and in October 2014, she was inducted into the Path of Champions at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

Her past achievements, as well as her success in Beijing, include winning two gold medals at the Australian short-course open championships in Melbourne and silver and bronze at the Australian open championships in Sydney.

Freney is the holder of one world short-course record, five Oceania records, five Australian open records and several Australian age records.

Born in Brisbane, Queensland, 25 years ago with cerebral palsy, Freney is coached by her father Michael, while her grandfather Peter Freney coached 2000 Sydney Games multiple gold medallist Siobhan Paton.

She attended her first championships at the age of 14, her first international competition in Maryland, USA at 15, and her Beijing swims when she was only 16.

In 2008, , in November 2013, she was named NSW Young Australian of the Year for 2014, and in 2014 was named Young Australian of the Year.

However, Freney was unable to compete at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to a medical issue.

Considered a real champion outside the pool, Freney is known for her encouragement to swimmers of all abilities.

"I've always wanted to be a role model to the younger generations," she said.

"My main message is that no matter what obstacles or challenges come your way, you can always overcome them."

 

3. Liz Ellis

Liz Ellis
Liz Ellis. Contributed GLA230818ELLIS

NETBALL great and local resident Liz Ellis is one of the most respected names in the game, with an 18-year elite career at a national and international level.

In 2018, Ellis who made a home on the Northern Rivers since building at Booyong in 2012, was been named an Officer of the Order as part of the Australia Day honours list.

Ellis received the award for her "distinguished service to netball as an elite player and coach, through support and advocacy for young women, as a contributor to the broadcast and print media industries, and to the community".

Regarded as Australia's most successful netballer and leading circle defender, Ellis played a record 122 times for Australia from 1993 - 2007, and was the most capped Commonwealth Bank Trophy player in history with 173 matches.

Originally from Hawkesbury Netball Association, Ellis was an constant force in Netball NSW junior and senior State teams, and was a member of the NSW Open Team who won four national titles (1992, 1993, 1994, 1997), three of these during the Golden Boot era.

Ellis received a number of individual accolades during her career, being named Australia's Most Valuable Netballer on four occasions (1996, 1998, 2002, 2006).

Her string of successes includes playing 122 times for her country, winning three World Championships, two Commonwealth Games gold medals and several other top honours.

She played her entire domestic career for the Sydney Swifts, hold the role of captain in 2000 and held that role across the 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2007 Commonwealth Bank Trophy premierships.

In 2006, led by Ellis, the team achieved an historic undefeated season and were awarded National Team of the Year at that year's Australian Sport Awards.

Since her retirement, Ellis has become a commentator on netball for both the ANZ Championship and International test level.

She has run coaching clinics at schools and for junior netballers across the Far North Coast and has been a guest speaker at a number of events.

Ellis has also written a book in that time which deals with frustration, disappointment and heartbreak of infertility.

In recognition of her outstanding career, since 2008 the highest individual accolade awarded to an Australian netball athlete has been the annual Liz Ellis Diamond.

In 2009 Ellis became a Member of the Order of Australia for "services to netball and the encouragement of women in sport."

Since her retirement from domestic and international netball in 2007, Ellis who is married with two children is a leading television netball commentator.

 

2. Petria Thomas

Petria Thomas celebrates after a gold medal performance.

Photo Contributed
Petria Thomas. Contributed

STELLAR swimmer Petria Thomas OAM has come a long way from Mullumbimby.

Her tally of eight Olympic medals (three gold, four silver, one bronze) is the best ever for an Australian woman, equal with Dawn Fraser and Susie O'Neill.

The swimmer battled injury and depression for many years. She was a star in her speciality event, the women's 100m butterfly, and was born in Lismore in 1975.

She began swimming with formal lessons at the age of five and by 1982, aged seven, she was good enough to compete in the New South Wales State Titles.

Soon after she began training at Ballina with Stan Tilley, who specialised in coaching her pet stroke -- butterfly.

A visit to Ballina by Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) coach Jim Fowlie led to the offer of a place at the AIS in Canberra in 1992, where she opted to continue her schooling full-time despite the training rigours.

Thomas now manages the Swimming Australia National Training Centre at the AIS.

In recognition of her dedication to her beloved sport in an out of the pool, last month Thomas was announced she will lead the Australian team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, becoming Australia's first female Commonwealth Games team Chef de Mission.

It's the latest tribute for the athlete also holds four silver and one bronze medal from her Olympic efforts as well as 15 national titles.

A life member of the Brunswick Surf Lifesaving Club, Mullumbimby's 50m pool was named in her honour.

Famously, at the 2001 World Championships in Japan, she was part of 4x200m freestyle relay team, which completed the race first, but was disqualified when she jumped in the pool to celebrate before the other competitors finished the race.

Following a break to recover from injuries in 2003, Thomas won gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics where she announced her retirement from competitive swimming.

In mid-2005, Thomas released an autobiography, Swimming Against The Tide, in which she describes her experiences with depression and injuries.

Inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996, Thomas was the AIS Athlete of the Year in 2001 (with gymnast Philippe Rizzo) and 2002.

In 2006 inducted in the AIS 'Best of the Best' and year later inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007.

She is married to Julian Jones, AIS head strength and conditioning coach, and they have two children.

 

1. Adam Gilchrist

*WARNING EMBARGOED for the November 15 cover of The Guide* Adam Gilchrist returns as part of the Fox Cricket commentary team.
Adam Gilchrist. Michael Klein

THE first time he kept wicket aged 10 he broke his nose, but Gilchrist went on to become arguably the most dangerous attacking batsman of his generation and is widely regarded as the greatest wicket-keeper-batsman in the history of the game.

Gilchrist's left-handed attacking and aggressive precision changed the way the sport looks at wicketkeeper-batsmen.

Now 47, the former Kadina High School student, whose first captaincy was of his school's cricket team, was also a Lismore junior cricketer of the year before moving to Sydney, then Perth, on his way to becoming one of the stars of the powerful Australian team of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Gilchrist was beloved by fans for his swashbuckling style while batting or behind the stumps.

The youngest son of Stan, a leg-spinner good enough to play first grade for Paddington, then for Sutherland, to take 17 wickets at 21 on a tour of Malaysia and Singapore with the fabled Emus in July 1959, Adam was encouraged to apply himself to turn his dreams into a reality.

Gilchrist had made his first-class debut in 1992 and was helping his father run a coaching clinic for juniors at Woodlawn College in January 1993 when NSW selector Steve Bernard rang to advise of his Sheffield Shield baptism.

His first One-Day International appearance was in 1996 in India and his Test debut in 1999, held the world record for the most dismissals by a wicket-keeper in ODIs until it was surpassed by Kumar Sangakkara in 2015 and the most by an Australian in Test cricket.

During his career, Gilchrist played for Australia in 96 Test matches and over 270 ODIs and possesses a strike rate amongst the highest in the history of both ODI and Test cricket.

His century against England at Perth in December 2006 is the fourth-fastest century in all Test cricket and was the first player to have hit 100 sixes in Test cricket, his 17 Test centuries are the most by a wicket-keeper and his 16 in ODIs second only to Sangakkara.

Gilchrist also holds the record of scoring at least 50 runs in successive World Cup finals (in 1999, 2003 and 2007).

His 149 off 104 balls against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup final is rated one of the greatest World Cup innings of all time and he's currently one of the only three players to have won three World Cup titles.

Gilchrist was renowned for fairness by walking when he considered himself to be out, sometimes contrary to the decision of the umpire.

A regular vice-captain in both forms of the game, Gilchrist captained Test, ODI and Twenty20 International matches.

He retired from international cricket in 2008, although played domestic tournaments until 2013, was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2015.

Gilchrist is patron of the Lismore branch of the Taverners, is a popular Australian cricket commentator and is married to his high school sweetheart, Melinda, with four children.

20. Danny Wills

OLD MATES: Mick Fanning and Danny Wills prepare to paddle out for their heat.
Mick Fanning and Danny Wills. Contributed

THE best surfer from Byron Bay to never have won a world title, Danny Wills had the misfortune to be a stand-out surfer at a time when the competition was tougher than usual.

The former ASP World Tour surfer and 'Top-44' contender grew up surfing with his dad Mick at four.

Wills, a natural-footer, made his debut on the surfing world tour in 1997 where he spent 13 years.

In his maiden year he stunned onlookers when he managed a big heat win at the Buondi Pro, in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, against Kelly Slater, the seemingly impregnable then five-time World Champion.

With his deadly combination of power, determination and finesse, Wills was once praised as the most technically perfect on tour and rose to be ranked number three in the world in 1998.

He'd taken out back-to-back contests in Japan, before losing out to then 11-time world champion Slater.

Sponsored by Quiksilver and regarded as one of the fittest men on the professional tour, he had beaten some of the most impressive wave-riders including American Tom Curren.

At Bells Beach in 2001 he surfed superbly but came unstuck in the final when wild-card Mick Fanning blitzed through in the frenzy that is the Rip Curl Pro, to beat one of his childhood idols.

Wills came second and narrowly missing out on the ringing the famous trophy Willis was a good sport at the presentation.

In March 2009 Wills formerly retired from the ASP

In 2016 Wills became the NSW Open Shortboard Champion and he's previously won the local Ben King Memorial Easter Surf Classic at Byron Bay.

Wills who is still an active member of the local surfing club, now runs a surf shop in his hometown and can still be seen ripping on waves up and down the coast.

 

19. Lisa Casagrande

SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE DISCUSS USE WITH YOUR EDITOR - STRIKING MIDFIELDER: Former Matlida Lisa Casagrande is regarded as one of he best soccer female soccer players Australia has produced after she made her international debut at 14..
Former Matlida Lisa Casagrande. Supplied

A VERSATILE and assertive midfielder, former Matildas player Lisa Casagrande is regarded as one of Australia's best female soccer players.

Now 41, Casagrande's first match for the Matildas came against Japan in 1994 when she was only 14 years old.

A year later she scored in a 3-2 win over Brazil.

Casagrande featured at two FIFA Women's World Cups and became the youngest player to reach 50 international caps, finishing at 22 with a total of 64 international appearances and 13 goals.

She represented Australia in the 1995 World Cup, scoring in Australia's 1-4 loss to USA.

As the first woman to receive an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship, Casagrande was invited to train with the male AIS team in 1994.

A skilful player who scored regularly in the mid-1990s for Australia against sides like South Korea, Canada, and Netherlands., Casagrande bagged four goals during the 1998 World Cup qualifying matches, and one goal in pre-World Cup matches against Canada.

Casagrande was also the top scorer in 1998-99 in the national women's league for Canberra Eclipse.

She played in all of Australia's matches at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and scored a goal against the United States in the qualifications.

The men's USA Olympic coach invited Casagrande to join the University of Portland football team and assisted Portland make the final four in 2000 and 2001.

Selected for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the Matildas failed to place.

She played for the Goonellabah Football Club (1995-1996), the Northern NSW Pride (1996-1997) and the Canberra Eclipse (1997-1999)

The Football Federation Australia named her in its "Teams of the Decade" for 1990-1999 and in 2015 she was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

 

18. Mitchell Aubusson

Mitchell Aubusson of the Roosters during the NRL First Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, September 13, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Mitchell Aubusson. JOEL CARRETT

FORMER Ballina student, Mitchell Aubusson, plays as a second-row, centre and lock for the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League.

In October a knee injury forced Aubusson, 32, to watch most of the Sydney Roosters' NRL grand final back-to-back win from the sidelines after he left the field in the 13th minute after he struggled to get up from a try-saving tackle on Canberra second-rower Elliot Whitehead.

It was a third grand final win for Aubusson, who was part of the Roosters' premiership-winning teams in 2013 and 2018.

Aubusson played his first grand final in 2010 and has just completed his 13th season in the NRL.

In August he signed a one-year contract extension.

He is the third most-capped player in the Roosters' 111-year history behind Luke Ricketson (301 games) and Anthony Minichiello (302).

Aubusson attended Xavier Catholic College Ballina and in 2005 he was selected for and played played for the Australian Schoolboys team and also played for NSW Country.

Aubusson was part of the Roosters sides who won three 3 consecutive minor premierships in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but failed to reach the grand final in the latter two seasons.

In 2017, Aubusson made 25 appearances for the club as the Roosters made the preliminary final but fell short of a grand final appearance losing to North Queensland 29-16.

In 2018, he was part of the side that won their fourth minor premiership in six years. and played in the 2018 NRL Grand Final in which the Sydney Roosters defeated Melbourne 21-6 winning their 14th premiership.

The younger brother of former Rooster James, Aubusson is a three-time recipient of the Roosters' prestigious James Mathews Award for Clubman of the Year (2011, 2015, 2016).

 

17. Justin Harrison

Justin Harrison of Classic Wallabies against Darling Downs Over 35s Barbarians at Gold Park, Sunday, June 10, 2018.
Justin Harrison of Classic Wallabies against Darling Downs Over 35s Barbarians at Gold Park, Sunday, June 10, 2018. Kevin Farmer

THE decision to join the Southern Cross University rugby team to make friend when he moved to Lismore to study marine science, led James Harrison to an international career.

Starting out in SCU's Baby Rats team, his natural skills saw Harrison promoted into the Gold Rats squad, where the coach must have thought all his dreams had come true.

Harrison then soon moved to Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club in Canberra and he made the 1994 Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Under-21s and then the Australian Universities team.

The following year, he played in the Australian U21s team and made his debut for the ACT against New South Wales.

Harrison made his Super 12 debut with the Brumbies in 1997.

In 2001 he made his international début as Australia took on the British and Irish Lions in the third and final test of the 2001 series.

By now he had switched courses and universities and that year graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sports Administration at the University of Canberra.

A veteran of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Harrison joined the New South Wales Waratahs at the beginning of 2004 for two seasons before moving to the northern hemisphere to play for Ulster.

He played 25 games for Ulster, 19 of those in the Celtic League and 6 in the Heineken Cup.

At the end of the 2008 season, Harrison moved to Bath Rugby then in November 2009, it was announced that Harrison would return to play for the Brumbies in 2010 on a one-year deal, as coverage for Peter Kimlin.

In July 2010 it was announced that Harrison would become forwards coach at Brumbies, agreeing a two-year deal with the club

Harrison, 45, is currently head coach for RC Narbonne in France.

 

16. Pauline Menczer

LEGEND: Former World Women's Surfing Champion Pauline Menczer.
Pauline Menczer. Chruistian Morrow

THERE are not many surfers with the grit and formidable determination which accompanied the powerful athletic grace and style of world champion surfer Pauline Menczer.

The living embodiment of Shakespeare's Hermia,"though she be but little she is fierce," Menczer's competitive record includes winning 20 major surf events, including the 1988 World Women's Amateur Championship, 1993 World Women's Surf Championship and WQS champion in 2002.

These titles are all the more remarkable in that Menczer achieved these results without major sponsorships and while battling bouts of crippling rheumatoid arthritis.

Now living in Brunswick Heads with her fiancee Samantha, in 2018 Menczer was honoured by the sport that for a long time had overlooked her qualities in the surf when she was inducted into Surfing Australia's Hall of Fame.

Raised at Bronte, by 13 she was a Bondi grommet and determined to enter surfing competitions, so funded her amateur career by collecting aluminium cans, baking cakes and selling toffees at high school.

Possessed by a powerful, athletic style and no shortage of courage, she won her way to a berth in the world amateur championships in Puerto Rico in 1988 and came home world champion, at just 18.

The win gave her the confidence to launch a pro career and get a coach in Steve Foreman, who helped her take on her idols Wendy Botha and Pam Burridge.

Throughout the late 80s and early 90s Menczer raised the bar in the women's pro scene and kept challenging the likes of Lisa Andersen, Burridge and Layne Beachley.

Menczer, 48, moved to Byron when she was 22 and she and her partner Sam now live in Brunswick Heads.

 

15. Gary Elkerton

The power surfing that drove Gary Elkerton to second place on the world tour on three occasions hasn't diminished with age.
Gary Elkerton.

FORMER world surfing tour three-time runner-up Gary "Kong" Elkerton is regarded as the best surfer never to win a world title.

The Ballina-born natural-footer, who grew up in Byron, moved to the Sunshine Coast when he was 11.

He spent many years at sea working on his Dad's prawn trawler, ranging up and down the Great Barrier Reef, but it was wave-riding not seafood that captured his attention.

By 1980, he had achieved significant success as a competitive junior surfer during his breaks from the trawler, so much so that he won his first of several Queensland titles.

Encouraged by sponsorships from emerging surf labels Quiksilver and Rip Curl, the Elkertons encouraged their son to pursue a career as a surfer.

So the highly talented amateur with a powerful quench for big waves turned professional as a 17-year-old in 1984 and stepped off the world championship tour 15 years later.

His final Tour highlight was at Grajagan in '96 where he beat rising super star Kelly Slater in the semi-final by scoring a perfect 10-point ride.

Elkerton won many prestigious amateur and pro-am titles around Australia throughout the years 1980-1984, including numerous Queensland Junior and Opens, the Cue Cola and JJJ Pro Juniors, The Jesus Classic Pro-Am and the Australian Open Amateur.

Along the way he showed he was one of the few non-Hawaiians who could match them in massive waves when he picked up two Hawaiian Triple Crown Champions, multiple Sunset Beach and Pipeline Masters Champion.

Elkerton was runner-up world champion in 1987, 1990 and 1993 but took three World Masters Champion titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

In 2009 Elkerton was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.

 

14. Matt King

NRL player and former Kangaroo Matt King watches local junior rugby league players taking part in the second annaul Matt King Shield at Casino on Friday.

Photo Doug Eaton / Richmond River Express Examiner
Matt King. Doug Eaton

TALENTED player turned coach, Matthew King, was a potent centre who played New South Wales State of Origin and was an Australian international representative.

Born in Casino in 1980, King won a first grade premiership at Brothers under current coach Michael Woods and played all his juniors at the Casino Cougars.

In 2000, he was signed by the North Sydney Bears where he worked his way through the grades at the club playing in both Jersey Flegg and reserve grade.

King suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2002 while playing off the bench for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks' reserve grade side and then quit NRL aged 22.

By 2003 he returned to NRL and signed with the Melbourne Storm's feeder club, Brisbane Norths, where he played for nearly a year before being selected to make his début against the St George Illawarra Dragons in round 24.

In 2005 he was called up for his first major representative honour, being selected for the NSW State of Origin side for all three games and in the decider he became the 9th player (and 4th New South Welshman) to score a hat-trick.

King was selected to play for the Australian national team on the wing in the 2007 ANZAC Test match against New Zealand, scoring a try in the Kangaroos' 30-6 victory.

After playing 91 games at the Storm between 2003-2007 he signed a lucrative four-year deal with Warrington Wolves in the English Super League and won the 2009 and 2010 Challenge Cups with Warrington Wolves.

He was also named at centre in the 2010 Super League Dream Team.

After he returned to the NRL in 2012, King finished his career at South Sydney, where he retired after the following season and joined the team's coaching staff, contributing to their winning the 2014 NRL premiership.

He returned home to play a handful of first grade games with the Casino Cougars in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League in 2014.

Currently an assistant coach at the Sydney Roosters, King also works as a guest commentator on Fox Sports.

 

13. Sam Trimble

Sam Trimble
Sam Trimble. Contributed

REGARDED as one of the best cricketers to not play a Test match for Australia, Lismore-born Sam Trimble was a formidable opening batsman.

Trimble who passed away in July, grew up at Booyong playing in inter-district competitions on his way to play for Queensland where he moved to maximise his chances of playing first class cricket.

Few have come closer to playing a test match; Trimble was 12th man for the first Test against the West Indies in Jamaica in 1965 and he also captained an Australia Second XI to New Zealand in 1969, making a double century.

A Life Member of Queensland Cricket, Trimble was the only member selected in its Team of the 20th Century who did not play Test cricket.

His path was blocked at international level by the likes of Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson, despite regularly being among the leading scorers for Queensland.

The Sheffield Shield centuries which are so elusive to modern players came readily to Trimble in 1963-64 (five), 1964-65 (three) and 1965-66 (three).

Trimble's 144-match first class career saw him harvest 10,282 runs at 41.00.

His Shield record for Queensland returned 8647 runs at 39.85 including 22 centuries.

Trimble possessed a first-class record of runs for Queensland of 9465 at 40.80 from 133 games, which meant he was the State's all-time leading runs-scorer until eventually eclipsed by Stuart Law and Martin Love.

After his career he ran the indoor nets at the 'Gabba in Brisbane and the sports field at Bexhill was named in his honour.

Trimble was generous with his advice and encouraged all athletes in the sport, providing meticulous and enthusiastic coaching.

In the 1990s he worked with Ian Healy to assist him to improve his batting for Australia.

 

12. David Kennedy

TIGHT GRIP: David Kennedy holds on to Freckles Brown at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct Rodeo.
Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
David Kennedy. Paul Donaldson BUN260915PBR3

IT'S eight of the most dangerous seconds in one of the toughest sports in the world.

Bull-riding requires more than luck and fitness and while it may not be as big here -- or as well paid -- as it is in the United States, Kyogle-born David Kennedy showed he was a champion on both sides of the world.

A shed builder from Kyogle, Kennedy made his first ride at age 11 in his home town and spent spent 13 years riding before bursting onto the Professional Bull Rider scene in 2008 at the Troy Dunn International in Townsville, where he qualified for his first of many Australian National Finals.

A key member of Australia's Professional Bull Riders World Cup Team, Kennedy was the only athlete to have won four times and was previously the only competitor to win it for a third time in 2012.

And he helped them recognised internationally when he was part of the Australian team who took out third place at the Professional Bull Riders World Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kennedy won the title back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 before heading to the US to compete the following year.

He became enamoured with the sport as an 11-year-old growing up on the family farm outside of Grevillea, near Kyogle, after his father told him to try riding a calf after he complained of being bored.

In 2011 he was named the Kyogle sportsperson of the year, in 2014 won his fourth Professional Bull Rider Australian title.

The 2015 Troy Dunn Invitational was especially special to four-time Australia Champion David Kennedy, who nodded his head for the last time in his career in front of a vocal Townsville crowd.

 

11. Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright of Australia, current World No.1 on the Jeep Leaderboard and defending WSL Women's World Champion pictured with the WSL Title Trophy at the Maui Women's Pro where she has a chance to second consecutive WSL World Title.
Tyler Wright. Kelly Cestari

TWO-time World Champion Tyler Wright made everyone sit and take notice when, as a 14-year-old wildcard, she became the youngest surfer in history to win a Championship Tour event at the 2008 Beachley Classic in Sydney.

Tyler was considered a surfing prodigy, being one of several surfing siblings including brothers Mikey and Owen, who are also on the pro tour.

Currently all three surfers have been sidelined from the surf due to injury.

While Tyler competed all over Australia for years as junior, it was the Beachley Classic where she out-surfed several elite athletes twice her age and experience that made her win all the more significant.

Three years later she joined the Tour full-time and showed her sublime surfing with a finals appearance at the Roxy Pro.

In 2013 Wright was the runner-up to Hawaiian Carissa Moore and in 2014 she was again the bridesmaid, this time to fellow-Aussie, Stephanie Gilmore.

In 2016 Wright won five events to secure her first World Title.

A year later, despite a knee injury, Wright made an incredible move from underdog to top-cat in the final two events of the season to claim the crown.

In 2018 Wright contracted influenza in Africa and has been unable to compete due to significant post-viral symptoms.

In March this year she confirmed her return to the WCT would be delayed while she recovered.

Meanwhile, in 2015, Owen suffered a severe head trauma resulting in a brain injury at Pipeline on the North Shore of Hawaii and has yet to return to competitive surfing.

Earlier this year Mikey injured his back and is still in recovery.