The emails just poured in yesterday for
our list of sports stars who subsequently had a crack at politics and
below are the names of ten more successful tilters and five unsuccessful
ones. It will be interesting to see which category Jack Reilly,
Australia’s goal keeper in the 1974 World Cup, falls into. Reilly’s
pitch for start-up party People Power was announced yesterday and generated a little bit of coverage, including this piece from AAP.

Another ten sports stars who made it into Parliament

Darrel Baldock:
one of the great AFL players who captained St Kilda to its only
premiership in 1966 but made an ordinary politician from 1972 until
1987 for the ALP in Tasmania although he was a minister for seven years
until 1982.

Ric Charlesworth: former WA shield cricketer
and captain of Australia’s men’s hockey team who played in four Olympic
games. Political career from 1983-93 as the ALP Federal member for
Perth didn’t live up to high expectations.

Michael Cleary:
one of the few sportsmen to have represented Australia in three sports
– rugby league, rugby union and athletics – the speedy Souths and Easts
winger was a state ALP member in the Wran Labor Government.

Joseph Darling: A former Australian cricket captain who was elected as an independent to the Tasmanian Legislative Council in 1921.

Gil Langley:
the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1957 kept wickets in the Baggy
Green and also played Aussie Rules for South Australia, before becoming
the Member for Unley in the SA State Parliament under Don Dunstan.

Sam Loxton:
The great test cricketer and member of Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles
represented Prahran for many years in the Victorian Parliament but
never made it to Cabinet.

Paul Osbourne: Mal Meninga’s
Canberra Raiders colleague who made it into the ACT Legislative
Assembly as a pro-life independent but couldn’t quite persuade his
former captain to join him.

Neil Tresize: premiership rover for Geelong in the 1950s who rose to be John Cain’s sports minister in the 1980s.

Tom Veivers:
off spinner who played 21 tests for Australia before becoming the ALP
member for Ashgrove in the Queensland Parliament for one term in the
early 1980s.

Five sports stars who failed to cut the mustard

Mal Meninga:
the legendary rugby league great and Australian captain lined up for an
independent shot at in the ACT assembly in 2001 when he memorably had this meltdown
live on local radio and pronounced under only the mildest of
questioning – “I’m b*ggered. I’m sorry. I have to resign” – before
doffing the headphones and walking out of the studio.

John “Sammy” Newman: former Geelong player and Footy Show buffoon once tried to gain preselection for the Liberals in Victoria.

Paul Couch: Geelong champion and 1989 Brownlow Medallist who failed to win a seat in Victoria when running for the Nationals.

Martin Bella: Former Australian and Queensland rugby league prop
unsuccessfully contested the last Queensland election as a National
Party candidate in the state seat of Mackay.

Percy Jones: Former Carlton premiership ruckman whose “Point Percy at Parliament” campaign for the Victorian Liberals failed in 1988.

Finally, thanks to everyone who pointed out that it was Hubert
Opperman, not Oppenheimer in yesterday’s list. Keep the feedback coming
[email protected] as we’ll certainly get close to 50 names by the time we’re done.

Peter Fray

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