Retirement Class of 2018 - Oddschecker's Year in Review

When you look back at 2018 at some of the legends that we’ve said goodbye to, you just know that sport won’t be the same again.

Oddschecker
 | 
Fri, 28 Dec, 12:00 AM

 

 

This year we said farewell to some outstanding athletes across a number of different sports including rugby league, boxing and tennis just to name a few.

 

While we have tried to focus on our own Aussie champions who have captured Golden Boots, world titles and championships etc, overseas stars and even one from the equine world haven’t been omitted from our list either.

 

 

 

JOHNATHAN THURSTON

 

‘JT’ as he was affectionately known is an Immortal in waiting.

 

A two-time premiership winner, Thurston wrote his name in rugby league folklore by guiding the North Queensland Cowboys to their maiden premiership win in 2015 – 10 years after the Townsville outfit sold the farm to pry him off the Bulldogs.

 

As well as capturing a record four Dally M Medals, Thurston was a key figure in Queensland’s dominance in State Of Origin from 2006 where they have won all but two series and was also a two-time winner of the Golden Boot.

 

Thurston also led Australia to victory in the 2013 World Cup where he was named Man of the Match in their 34-2 demolition of the Kiwis.

 

Unfortunately for the champion half, injuries cruelled the final two seasons of his career while his beloved Cowboys were dismal for most of 2018. They still managed to produce a comeback win over the Titans in their final match to send the great man out a winner.

 

 

 

 

 

BILLY SLATER

 

Getting hammered in the 2018 NRL Grand Final probably wasn't the way Slater wanted to be remembered.

 

The champion fullback tried his guts out, as he always did, but couldn't inspire his teammates to overcome a rampant Roosters outfit at ANZ Stadium, going down 21-6 at the finish.

 

Slater was booed after final siren which was a low blow for Melbourne custodian, with the reaction largely caused by the fact he escaped punishment from the judiciary leading up to the game when many thought he should have been suspended.

 

That aside, you cannot question the Golden Boot winner’s abilities on the field.

He terrorised club sides and the NSW Origin team for over a decade, scoring one of the best tries in Origin history early on in his career. He won premierships, a World Cup, State Of Origins and was even named Man of the Series this year in a losing side.

 

He retires second on the NRL all-time leading try-scorers list with 190 with only the legendary Ken Irvine (212) scoring more.

 

 

 

 

 

ANTHONY MUNDINE

 

A polarising figure at the best of times.

 

The 43-year-old recently announced his retirement after losing to fellow Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane.

 

The performance itself, a first-round KO, doesn't define Mundine though who captured the Light-Middleweight, Middleweight, Super-Middleweight and Cruiserweight titles during his stint in the squared circle.

 

‘The Man’ or ‘Choc’ as he was mainly referred to, was known as being one of the best rugby league players in the world prior to giving up his career to pursue boxing halfway through the 2000 season.

 

He won his first world title in 2003 against Antwun Echols but many would argue one of his finest moments was defeating heated rival Danny Green on points in 2006. The fight itself was one of the most anticipated in Australian sport.

 

He also had big rivalries with fellow Aussies Daniel Geale, Garth Wood and Sam Soliman.

 

While a brilliant athlete, Mundie’s mouth always meant that the public either loved him or hated him but one thing is for sure - the media always loved whenever he had something to say.

 

 

 

CHAUTAUQUA

 

One of the most iconic gallopers of our time.

 

Chautauqua's retirement from racing could probably be compared to Johnathan Thurston's exit from rugby league in that it wasn't the perfect way to see off such an amazing animal.

 

Chautauqua simply refused to leave the barriers later on in his career and it got to the point stewards had to stand him down pending he jump successfully in two trials. The gelding's quirky habit initially started with him missing the jump but ended in him simply staying in the stalls.

 

The 'Grey Flash' had a habit of winning Group Ones from impossible situations, with his wins in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (Hong Kong) and his third TJ Smith Stakes triumph just two great examples.

 

Trained by father and sons John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes, Chautauqua earned nearly $9million in prizemoney and captured six Group Ones.

 

 

 

 

 

FERNANDO ALONSO

 

The two-time world champion bid farewell to Formula One after a forgettable stint with Maclaren.

 

Alonso is considered one of the best drivers of his generation and captured his first world title in 2005 for Renault and then backed it up the following season, becoming the youngest double championship winner (at the time) in the sport's history at just 25.

 

He is just one of two active drivers to have captured two of the three legs of Motorsport’s triple crown. Having won the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hour race, only the Indy 500 eludes him in that regard.

 

He isn’t completely retired though as he will still compete in the World Endurance Championship and the 2019 Indy 500.

 

 

 

CYRIL RIOLI

 

The 29-year-old retired prematurely this season but leaves an undeniable mark on the game.

 

Rioli began his career in 2008 and during a glittering stint with Hawthorn, captured four flags and the Norm Smith Medal in 2015.

 

An all-Australian three times, Rioli regularly terrorised his opponents and bagged 275 goals during his time in the AFL and will be sorely missed by not only the Hawks but the sport in general.

 

 

 

 

 

TIM CAHILL

 

It won’t be ‘Timmy Time’ anymore, from a Socceroos perspective anyway, as our greatest ever footballer called it quits on the international stage.

 

The 39-year-old from Sydney’s south-west headed to England straight out of high school and carved out what would be a glittering career, going from Millwall to Everton before various other stints abroad.

 

He is currently plying his trade in India but announced a few months ago that he would be retiring from Socceroos duty.

 

Coach Graham Arnold promised him some minutes in the friendly against Lebanon at ANZ Stadium and was good on his word, however, Cahill didn’t get much opportunity to score a farewell goal.

 

Cahill leaves the international scene as Australia’s greatest ever goal scorer (50) having played 108 times for the Green and Gold. He was the first Socceroo to score a World Cup goal and is the only one to have scored in three straight World Cups. He is also one of a handful of players to have competed in four World Cups.

 

 

 

 

 

MANU GINOBILI

 

The Argentine announced earlier in the year that he would be finishing up with professional basketball after a stellar career.

 

One of the ‘Big Three’ in San Antonio, Ginobili played an integral role in four NBA championships for the franchise as his connection with Spurs big man Tim Duncan and Tony Parker became the cornerstone of coach Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio sides which were regular title contenders.

 

As well as his NBA titles, Ginobili was a two-time All-Star and won a Gold Medal for basketball in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

 

 

 

CRAIG LOWNDES

 

The seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner is scaling back commitments in the V8s and will only be a part-timer from 2019.

 

Lowndes’s career has been littered with success, highlighted by his Bathurst wins of course but on top of that, he has three V8 Supercars Championships to his credit as well as 107 race wins. Lowndes won his seventh title on the mountain just a few months back with only his idol, the legendary Peter Brock, holding more.

 

 

 

 

MARTINA HINGIS

 

Now we know what you were thinking – yes, she was still playing!

 

Hingis was on the circuit for nearly 23 years and claimed five Grand Slam singles titles, seven in mixed doubles and 13 in women’s doubles.

 

The Swiss star who recently turned 38 initially retired way back in 2003 but came back just three years later.

 

Hingis’ most recent successes have been in the doubles circuit but a teenage prodigy, all five of her finest moments in singles came prior to the age of 20.

 

 

 

JOEL PARKINSON

 

The 2012 World Champion decided earlier this year that enough was enough.

 

A veteran of the tour since 1999, ‘Parko’ won on his first attempt on the pro surfing tour as a wildcard entry at Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa. The Australian’s crowning glory was capturing the

 

World title in 2012 after several near misses prior to that.

 

Parkinson, 38, retires with a tick over $2million in earnings.

 

 

 

MICK FANNING

 

Like his good mate Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning decided 2018 would be it for him on the WLS World Tour.

 

Fanning captured the world title on three occasions and enjoyed a healthy rivalry with Parkinson which seemed to drive the pair to greater heights.

 

He first entered the tour in 2002 and was crowned world champion in 2007, 2009 and 2013. The 37-year-old announced earlier this year that he would finish up and he leaves the sport with over $2.7million in career earnings.

 

 

 

 

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