Sprint king Usain Bolt is going to try his hand in the A-League.
Sprint king Usain Bolt is going to try his hand in the A-League.

The hits and misses of sport’s code hoppers

OLYMPIC sprint sensation Usain Bolt could soon be playing in the A-League with the Central Coast Mariners if he is able to prove himself in a six-week audition.

While details of the negotiations to bring the 100m and 200m world record holder to the Central Coast are still not disclosed, it's hoped Bolt will join the Mariners' pre-season program in August.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist has hinted at making the cross from athletics since retiring from the track last year and given he played both soccer and cricket growing up in his native Jamaica, the A-League could be the perfect fit.

If the Mariners can land the unique marquee signing, it would see the world's fastest man joining the following list of code swapping athletes.

 

 

Jarryd Hayne became Australia’s first running back to play in the NFL.
Jarryd Hayne became Australia’s first running back to play in the NFL.

JARRYD HAYNE

The Parramatta Eels fullback played nine seasons with the club before famously making a switch to the NFL.

Hayne quickly cemented himself as a star of the NRL and was named the 2009 and 2014 Dally M Player of the Year, but walked away from the game in March 2015 when he was signed to the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite wanting to move into the NFL for a number of years, the rugby league icon was cut from the squad after eight games.

Hayne then tried his hand at Rugby Sevens, with a short stint playing for Fiji.

The NSW Origin player returned to rugby league in August 2016 after joining the Gold Coast Titans.

His stint in Queensland was also short-lived, with Hayne taking a cut-price, one-year deal to return to Parramatta for the 2018 season.

 

Mundine is well known for his heated rivalries with fellow Australians Danny Green and Daniel Geale.
Mundine is well known for his heated rivalries with fellow Australians Danny Green and Daniel Geale.

ANTHONY MUNDINE

Anthony "The Man" Mundine made a name for himself as a professional rugby league footballer before turning his focus to the boxing ring.

Mundine started his career with the St George Dragons in 1993 and played with the club until he moved to the Brisbane Broncos for one season in 1997. He then returned to the Dragons and played there until he retired from rugby league halfway through the 2000 season.

He also played three games for New South Wales in the 1999 State of Origin series.

Mundine walked out on footy to become a professional boxer.

The former rugby league footballer saw great success in boxing, holding the WBA super-middleweight title twice between 2003 and 2008, the IBO middleweight title from 2009 to 2010, and the WBA interim super-welterweight title from 2011 to 2012.

He has also generated more pay-per-views than any other Aussie boxer since turning professional and is the first local fighter in history to have every one of his professional bouts broadcast on television.

Mundine hinted at a return to league late last year, but nothing ever came of it.

 

 

Rumours swirled that Sonny Bill Williams would return to the Roosters but he has put paid to those. Pic Brett Costello
Rumours swirled that Sonny Bill Williams would return to the Roosters but he has put paid to those. Pic Brett Costello

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS

He was in the first year of a $400,000-a-year deal with the Bulldogs when Sonny Bill Williams famously walked out on the NRL club and signed a two-year, three-million-dollar deal with French rugby club Toulon.

During his time in union, Williams played for Crusaders, Chiefs, Counties Manukau and Blues, while also having a stint for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan.

He was part of the All Blacks teams that won the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups and also competed in the 2015 and 2016 World Rugby Sevens Series and the 2016 Olympics.

The dual international returned to league for a short stint with the Roosters, playing in the premiership winning squad in 2013.

He later returned to union, although he has also boxed professionally seven times, winning all of his heavyweight bouts.

Rumours were suggesting Williams might once again return to league, but he has been quick to dismiss these.

 

 

Karmichael Hunt in action for Gold Coast. Picture: Radke Brendan
Karmichael Hunt in action for Gold Coast. Picture: Radke Brendan

KARMICHAEL HUNT

Like other athletes on this list, Hunt started his career in the NRL, playing for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia between 2004 to 2009.

In 2010 he played a season with Biarritz Olympique in the French Top 14 rugby union competition, before returning to Australia to play in the AFL.

Hunt played AFL with the Gold Coast Suns for four years, with his performances receiving mixed reviews.

In 2015, Hunt returned to rugby union joining the Queensland Reds on a three-year contract.

Hunt's union career was in tatters after being arrested for cocaine use late last year, however he has since been playing for Souths in Queensland's club competition.

 

 

Folau has played rugby league, AFL and rugby union at the highest level.
Folau has played rugby league, AFL and rugby union at the highest level.

ISRAEL FOLAU

Folau started his NRL career with Melbourne Storm playing with the club for the 2007/2008 seasons before switching to the Brisbane Broncos for the 2009/2010 competitions.

During this time he represented Queensland in State of Origin and played for Australia, becoming the youngest player ever to play for both teams.

In 2011, Folau joined the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the AFL and played for two seasons before jumping codes again and joining rugby union with the Waratahs.

The 29-year-old has since had a short stint in Japanese rugby and has played 54 games for the Wallabies.

 

 

Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan dominated basketball, but didn’t have the same luck in baseball.
Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan dominated basketball, but didn’t have the same luck in baseball.

MICHAEL JORDAN

Arguably one of the most high-profile code swappers of all time is Michael Jordan.

The basketball superstar joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and quickly developed a cult following for his prolific scoring and strong defensive efforts.

He won his first NBA championship with the Bulls in 1991 and won successive championships in 1992 and 1993.

Before the beginning of the following NBA season, Jordan abruptly retired from basketball and started a new career playing minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox, although he had less than stellar results.

Jordan returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998, before retiring for a second time in 1999.

However, he returned to basketball in 2001 and played two seasons with the Washington Wizards.

 

 

Jeff Fenech posing in a boxing ring in 1993.
Jeff Fenech posing in a boxing ring in 1993.

JEFF FENECH

Retired Australian professional boxer Jeff Fenech won world titles in three weight divisions and has been inducted into both the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The boxing legend had a total of 33 professional fights, winning 21 of those by knockout.

After retiring from boxing, he tried his luck at playing rugby league for Parramatta Eels in 1989.

His efforts to replicate his success from the boxing ring on the footy field didn't go as planned, with Fenech returning to the combat sport after a handful of reserve games for Parramatta.

 

 

Pittman went from hurdles to bobsleigh.
Pittman went from hurdles to bobsleigh.

JANA PITTMAN

The reigning 400m hurdles world champion made history in 2014 when she became the first Australian woman to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

Pittman competed in athletics at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games, but had her summer Olympic dreams at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 ruined by injury.

At the end of 2012, Pittman teamed up with her former hurdles training partner, Astrid Radjenovic, only this time it was to train bobsleigh for the Winter Olympics at Sochi 2014.

Pittman was selected to be Radjenovic's brakewoman and the pair finished a credible 14th.

 

Sav Rocca dominated the AFL before heading to play in the NFL.
Sav Rocca dominated the AFL before heading to play in the NFL.

SAV ROCCA

Between 1992 and 2007, Sav Rocca played 257 AFL games for Collingwood and North Melbourne where he dominated as full forward and centre half-forward.

Rocca kicked 500 goals over 150 games for the Pies and 230-odd goals in 100 games for North Melbourne before setting his sights on the NFL.

The AFL star would become the oldest rookie in history when he signed for the NFL, playing from 2007 - 2013 with the Philadelphia Eagles and then the Washington Redskins.

 

 

Former English Test cricketer Ian Botham was also pretty talented at soccer.
Former English Test cricketer Ian Botham was also pretty talented at soccer.

IAN BOTHAM

Widely regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history, Ian Botham represented England in both Test and One-Day International cricket.

However, in the off-season he tried his luck with soccer and played centre half for English minnows Scunthorpe United, notching up 11 unremarkable appearances from 1980-85.

 

Darren Clark wasn’t the best footy player to ever take the field. .
Darren Clark wasn’t the best footy player to ever take the field. .

DARREN CLARK

The 400m champion thought his track pace would translate well to the football field but the year he played with the Balmain Tigers in 1991 was spent languishing in reserve grade.