The Roar
The Roar


Notable Australian sports deaths in 2018

Kel Nagle (right) with his good friend Peter Thomson. (AAP Image/Stephen Harman)
Roar Rookie
29th December, 2018

In 2018, several significant Australian athletes, coaches, administrators and journalists passed away.

This list below aims to recognise those with significant careers and achievements. It includes several members of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame – canoeist Dennis Green, rugby league footballer Graeme Langlands and golfer Peter Thomson (Legend).

Frank Allen (1926-2018) – Australian footballer who played 190 games for East Perth and represented Western Australia.

Jarrod Bannister (1984-2018) – javelin thrower who won the gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Tony Benneworth (1950-2018) – Tasmanian first-class cricketer and state politician.

Jan Cameron (1947-2018) – swimming silver medallist at the 1964 Olympics, a triple medallist at the 1966 Commonwealth Games and high-performance swimming coach.

Edwin Carr (1928-2018) – track sprinter at the 1952 Olympics and dual gold medallist at the 1950 British Empire Games.

Ron Carter (1932-2018) – sports journalist who worked for The Age and covered Australian football and Olympic sports for 42 years.

Ron Casey OAM (1929-2018) – controversial sports broadcaster with the Nine and Ten networks.


John Daly OAM (1936-2018) – university physical educator, sports historian and Australian Olympic athletics coach. Coached Glynis Nunn to gold in the heptathlon at the 1984 Olympics.

Peter Diversi (1932-2018) – rugby league player who played 130 games with North Sydney and Manly and represented Australia and New South Wales.

Darrell Eastlake (1942-2018) – television presenter and sports commentator with the Nine Network. Noted for his booming voice whilst commentating on rugby league, weightlifting and motorsport.

Steve Folkes (1959-2018) – rugby league player who played 245 games for Canterbury Bulldogs including winning four NSWRL premierships. Represented Australia and New South Wales and coached the Bulldogs to 2004 NRL Premiership.

Dennis Green OAM BEM (1931-2018) – canoeist who competed at five Olympics (1956-1972) winning a bronze medal in 1956. Won numerous Australian surf ski titles and was a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Ian Hampshire (1948-2018) – Australian footballer who played 113 and 111 games for Geelong and Footscray respectively. Coached Footscray for 34 games.

Bob Jane (1929-2018) – a motor racing driver who won Armstrong 500 (now Bathurst 1000) four times and was also four-time Australian Touring Car Champion. Inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame.

Graeme Langlands MBE (1941-2018) – rugby league player who played 227 games for St George winning four premierships. Represented Australia and New South Wales in 45 and 33 matches respectively. Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.


Bruce Light (1949-2018) – Australian footballer who played 216 games for Port Adelaide and represented South Australia.

Jarrod Lyle (1981-2018) – a golfer who died of leukaemia at the age of 36. Won two titles.

John Marshall (1958-2018) – a jockey who rode Rogan Josh to victory in 1999 Melbourne Cup. In addition, rode Bart Cummings champion horses Shaftesbury Avenue and Saintly.

Harry McLeod (1924-2018) – jockey at the age of 17 rode Colonus to win the 1942 Melbourne Cup and finished second on Peter in the 1944.
Catherine Pym (1921-2018) – fencer at the 1952 Olympics and won a bronze medal at 1950 British Empire Games.

Russell Renfrey (1923-2018) – Australian footballer who played 201 games for Geelong and a member of the Geelong side which won back to back VFL premierships in 1951 and 1952.

Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE (1925-2018) – rugby union player who played 175 games for Randwick. Represented Australia and New South Wales in 30 and 37 games respectively. Lord Mayor of Sydney from 1973 to 1975.

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Ian Stanley (1948-2018) – a golfer who won 30 professional titles.

Peter Thomson AO CBE (1929-2018) – a golfer who won 84 professional titles including the Open Championship five times between 1954 and 1965. Legend of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame.

Geoffrey Vaughan (1933-2018) – rugby union player with six caps for the Wallabies.

Ron Walker AC CBE (1939-2018) -sports promoter and property developer. Chairman of Melbourne Major Events that was responsible for winning the hosting rights for the Australian Grand Prix and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Ray Weinberg AM (1926-2018) – hurdler who competed at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics and won a silver medal at 1950 British Empire Games. Coach of the athletics team at the 1968 Olympics.


Ken Wood (1929-2018) – long time Olympic swimming coach and notable Olympic medallists included Leisel Jones, Geoff Huegill and Jessicah Schipper.

In horse racing, Cliffs of Moher broke down during the Melbourne Cup and was euthanised at the end of the race. Other notable horses to die include Flying Spur (1992-2018) Encosta De lago (1993-2018) and Naturalism (1988-2018)

Sadly, during the year, it was reported that the following athletes had taken their own life – track and field athlete Jarrod Bannister (33 years), AFL player Shane Yarran (28 years), cyclist Jonathan Cantwell (36 years) and tennis player Todd Reid (34 years).

Many sporting organisations are now devoting more resources to athlete mental health including the Australian Institute of Sport establishing an Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Division in early 2018.

Evidence highlights that many full-time athletes find it difficult to transition out of their sport.