A salute to the also-rans of sport

Matt Simpson Roar Pro

By Matt Simpson, Matt Simpson is a Roar Pro

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    Joel Parkinson, the perennial place getter of the surf scene, finally clinched his first world title in Hawaii on Sunday, and officially avoided the title of being an ‘almost’.

    It must have been a massive sigh of relief.

    Here is a list of some unlucky sportspeople and teams who have been unfortunate enough to fit into this category:

    Daniel Kowalski is one of the unluckiest swimmers there has been. He was an excellent medium-to-long distance freestyle swimmer, competing at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

    At the Atlanta Games he became the first man in 92 years to win medals in the 1500m, 400m and 200m freestyle events (winning silver, bronze, bronze respectively).

    His career was constantly in the shadow of the great Kieran Perkins and, later, Grant Hackett, especially in the prestigious 1500m race.

    His first gold medal was as a member of the 4x200m team. Although he was not part of the final race, as he swam in the qualifiers and was then replaced by Ian Thorpe. He retired in 2002.

    The dominant teams of Australian Cricket through the 90s and 00s were full of so many legends, including the Waugh brothers, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Mark Taylor, Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, and a young Ricky Ponting.

    The flipside is that were some really good cricketers that constantly missed out.

    Perhaps the unluckiest was batsman Jamie Siddons.

    Siddons amassed an impressive 11,587 first class runs at an average of 44.91, impressive figures over a 16 year career by any standard. However, Siddons was making his tally at exactly the wrong time. He played a solitary one-day international for Australia, scoring 32 runs.

    Leg spinner Stuart MacGill is another example of a good player who probably missed out on the career their ability deserved, almost entirely on account of the presence of Shane Warne.

    MacGill was regarded as having one of the best strike rates in world cricket. In 44 Tests, he boasted 208 wickets at 29.02, with best figures of 8/108. Both Siddons and MacGill are players who would be very handy in the current setup.

    The St Kilda Football Club is the Aussie Rules equivalent of the bridesmaid who is destined to never get a ring on the finger – or trophy in the cabinet.

    The Saints’ only premiership came all the way back in 1966. That gives them an overall record of eight grand final appearances and 25 finals series for one solitary premiership.

    Even in the modern day, with a team including Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne, Brendon Goddard and Nick Dal Santo, the club still managed to avoid a flag.

    2010 was potentially the most heart breaking, with a draw against Collinwood the closest they have come to breaking a 44 year premiership draught.

    There are of course so many others that come to mind. Wallaby Phil Waugh, like Stuart Macgill, was a fine international level player – only he was up against the great George Smith.

    Irish racehorse Vinnie Roe was a great stayer, but was only ever a place bet in his three attempts.

    Even Lleyton Hewitt, among others, was sandwiched in between the dominance of Sampras and Federer.

    Add to that the innumerable sportspeople who had careers cut short through injuries or health. Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack means he went from England under 21 to retired at 23.

    Ex-Carlton defender David Teague went from best and fairest to assistant coach in the blink of an eye.

    We should still look at all these with some perspective. They are all excellent sportspeople/teams, it’s just they came with a bad sense of timing or weren’t blessed by lady luck.

    What can we learn? Even without the best trophies or careers, if you keep plugging away, something might come up. Just ask our own Cadel Evans.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • December 18th 2012 @ 8:36am
      Johnno said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      One of lifes unfair realities, someone has to miss out , come 2nd, have less talent, there is always someone better than you.

      The reality of this also ran group is they did make such a high standard anyway. A guy like Jamie Siddons who did play 1 ODI match for Australia, he had a phenominal career. Most cricket player feel privlaged just to make 1st grade forget, shefield sheild or test cricket.

      Marc Nicholas the channel 9 cricketer was seen as one of England’s best never to play test cricket.
      Ivan Lendl on grass could make a final, but couldn’t crack a win.
      Scud never won a grand slam, beaten by Rafter and Federer in his finals.

      Gary Karpov in chess had to play 2nd fiddle to Kasparov alot.

      Guys in soccer like Damien Mori had to miss out to Viduka in the big STH American world cup qualifers.

      And all the pole vaulters during the Sergi Bubka’s time, or Ato Bolden the sprinter 2nd to Maurice Green, or sptiners like Asafa Powell of Jamiaca who was the no 1 then in his prime overtaken by Usain bolt.

      Also maybe George Forman having to play 2nd fiddle to Mohammed Ali, or guys like Guy Forget, Yannick Noah, Todd Martin Micheal Chang not quite good enough to take that extra leap to world no 1 in tennis, or in Golf guys like Brad Faxon, Mark Calcavecchia, not quite good enough to be no 1, or Phil Milckelson not as good as Tiger Woods.

    • December 18th 2012 @ 1:03pm
      Seano said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

      Ahhhhh Roar you try so hard to hide your Sydney bias but it floats through, I think you will find the western bulldogs in the afl have a more bridesmaid style record than the saints, misses the gf in those same saints years by a kick, 4 prelims in a row, not to mention the famous billy brown less prelim, plus just one flag in 1954 a good 12 years before the saints, just made on more since then not to mention they even missed out to the saints in this article!!! Now that’s a bridesmaid!!!!!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • December 21st 2012 @ 3:07am
        The Link said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:07am | ! Report

        Yeah can’t stand the Sydney bias in this article, all the references to Rugby League drove me mad.

        Oh wait….

    • December 18th 2012 @ 1:10pm
      Pope Paul VII said | December 18th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      Geelong 1989 GF runners up. Epic.

      1978/79 Australian Establishment Ashes team. Deserved better.

    • December 18th 2012 @ 7:18pm
      Floyd Calhoun said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

      The team that always loses to the Harlem Globetrotters? Is it the Washington Senators? Although that’s more show biz than sport.

      • December 18th 2012 @ 7:47pm
        Brewski said | December 18th 2012 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

        Floyd, the Washington Senators have been very, very unlucky, nothing more or less. 🙂

    • December 18th 2012 @ 8:22pm
      Floyd Calhoun said | December 18th 2012 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

      Brewski, how about East Fremantle, who between 1898 & 1965 lost 20 Grand Finals. The upside was that they won 23 in the same period! Despite their dominance though, opposing coaches must have instilled into their players on GF day: ‘Theyre beatable boys!!’ Must be a unique record. As for the Washington Senators, the board has re-affirmed to the media that the coach’s position is secure.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 9:09pm
        Brewski said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

        Interesting, East Freo still remains a very strong club and from memory has provided the most players to the AFL than any other club.

        Strong city zone, and very strong country zone.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 9:50pm
          Floyd Calhoun said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

          Yeah, the gold medals outweigh the silver, just. It’s OK to push aside the 20 Grand Final losses when you’ve won 23, and missed the finals twice in 70 years! 1915 & 1952. I have to admit, they don’t really qualify as true also ran cases. I’ll have to come up with better examples. Maybe all the poor sods who played Lindrum in billiards.

          • December 19th 2012 @ 10:23pm
            Brewski said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

            Nope, i think Lindrum was so far ahead that it was probably a honour to lose to him.

            Not sport, but how about Kochie to Carl Stefanovic 🙂

            • December 20th 2012 @ 10:07pm
              Floyd Calhoun said | December 20th 2012 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

              Kochie vs Carl? Subliminally, I’m reminded of Killer Carl Cox. Wrestler from the old days! Jack Little doing the commentary. But, back on planet earth, didn’t the Newtown Jets lose the NSWRL GF back in the early eighties, and were never heard of again?!! Well, not at the top level anyway. I mean, they vanished the following year.

              • December 21st 2012 @ 2:15am
                Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 2:15am | ! Report

                Ok, my point was that Carl kills Kochie in personality stakes etc (IMO) poor old Kochie runs second every time, not that i watch much morning TV.

                Back to sports but Collingwood after a flag in 1958 ran second in 1964 1966 1970 1977 1979 1980 1981 before winning another one in 1990, i might also add that the team that won that flag minus Daicos and Millane was one of the worst/weakest teams to win a premiership IMO.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 3:02pm
      Australian Rules said | December 19th 2012 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

      I always felt for Andy Roddick.

      Yes, 1 US Open title…but would have won more if not for Federer.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 9:06pm
        Brewski said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

        Rather watch Federer than Roddick any day, one has a big serve and the other is actually a great tennis player.

        • December 21st 2012 @ 10:34pm
          Floyd Calhoun said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          You’re right about the 1990 Premiers Brewski. The worst Premiers ever. Hence the Carlton run through banner the following year when they played Essendon : ‘If you allow Collingwood to win the flag you’re a bloody idiot’. A play on words with the anti drink driving campaign of the day for non Victorians. The only positive thing I’ve ever seen from Princes Park. BTW, did you see Brewski win at Stawell the other week at 5-1?

          • December 21st 2012 @ 11:01pm
            Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

            Nope did not, Rebelson tomorrow in Perth, race 5 Ascot, back him if he is a decent price, very very fast last 600, he is only a 3 year old.

            Back to Collingwood, Manson could not kick, Gayfer was not allowed to kick and Shaw could not kick over a jam tin, etc etc etc

            Although Brown, Starcivich, Russell, Francis etc were all quite servicable.

            • December 21st 2012 @ 11:20pm
              Floyd Calhoun said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

              I’m going large on Rebelson! What’s a decent price though? Was the ’90 GF, the one where Terry Daniher, for the only time in his career, went ‘bad’, copped a multi week suspension, and only fueled Collingwood’s win? And, if I remember correctly, Sheedy left Derek Kickett out of the team? I suspect Harry won’t be able to help out much in this area. It’s a great pity.

              • December 21st 2012 @ 11:30pm
                Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:30pm | ! Report

                🙂 Yes, put it all on, can’t possibly lose :), spend all the kids inheritance, they will only waste it anyway.

                Yep the farmer from Ungarie got down and ugly, although i have plenty of respect for TD, must have been playing – captain/coaching footy well into his late 30’s early 40’s around the Riverina, had one of those tough wiry builds that has sharp elbows and knees etc.

                C/Coached Wagga Tigers , and i saw him play plenty of times.

                As far as a decent price goes, i reckon anything over $5, although a big step up in distance, so i dont really know.

              • December 23rd 2012 @ 10:50am
                Brewski said | December 23rd 2012 @ 10:50am | ! Report

                Sorry Floyd, Rebelson ran second, i did not actually bet on it as was playing tennis all arvo, ( bad form not betting on own tips I know) but apparently started at around $3.50. so i would not have bet on it anyway.

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