Dick Johnson features in Queensland's top 100 sporting heroes.
Dick Johnson features in Queensland's top 100 sporting heroes. Jamie Hanson

Countdown: Queensland's greatest 100 sporting heroes 60-41

QUEENSLAND is a passionate state which bleeds maroon and proudly punches well above our weight in international sporting achievement, producing some of the greatest international sportsmen and sportswomen in history.

The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail and News Regional have compiled the definitive and provocative list ranking Queensland's greatest 100 athletes - including those born and raised in the state as well as imports whose magnificent careers were synonymous with Queensland.

Our 100 Greatest has ignited debate around who really is that No.1 maroon sporting legend of all time and how the achievements of our champions compare across a diverse range of sports.

Here we reveal those ranked from 60 through to 41 - choices sure to spark controversy with sports fans across the state as we continue the countdown over the next few days.

60. DICK JOHNSON

Motor Racing

5-time Australian Touring Car Champion, 3-time winner Bathurst 1000

He started driving aged eight, chauffeuring his father over the Story Bridge at 4.30 in the morning when there was no traffic. While a student at Cavendish Road State High, he was working on neighbours' cars and helping the mechanic at his local BP service station. He competed in his first race in November 1964 aged 19 at Lakeside, north of Brisbane. He had an FJ Holden that he would drive during the day and then race on the weekends. After doing national service alongside Peter Brock, he opened a business hotting up cars under his parents' house in Mount Gravatt. He was leading Bathurst in 1980 before his Tru-Blu Ford car was wrecked after it hit a rock the size of a football that was likely kicked onto the track by drunken spectators. A huge wave of public donations allowed the immensely popular driver to race the next year and he won the Australian championship and Bathurst, the first of multiple titles over the next 15 years. Johnson retired from racing at the end of the 1999 season, though he remains in charge of Dick Johnson Racing. His son Steven raced for the team from 2000-12.

59. STEVEN BRADBURY

Ice Skating

Olympic gold, world championship

The first Australian to win a Winter Olympic gold medal he was also part of the short track relay team that won Australia's first Winter Olympic medal, a bronze, in 1994 at Lillehammer. He took an unlikely gold medal in the men's short track 1000m at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics after all the other competitors fell jostling for the lead. Bradbury, sitting in last place, cruised past the jumble of flailing limbs and shattered dreams sprawled on the ice, to take first place. Bradbury thought he had been eliminated way back in the quarter-finals of the event but Canada's world champion Marc Gagnon was disqualified for obstructing another racer and Bradbury made the semi-finals, where a crash involving the leading three racers gave him his shot at the final. In 1991, Bradbury was part of the Australian quartet that won the 5000m relay at the World Championships in Sydney, the first time Australia had won a World Championship in a winter sport. A former student at Springwood State High, he trained at Ice World in Acacia Ridge and built his fitness riding his bike up Mount Gravatt and the steep Springwood Road.

58. JEFF HORN

Boxing

WBO world welterweight champion

AUSTRALIA'S 'Cinderella Man', he had never seen a real boxing match until he was 18 and started doing self-defence classes one night a week with martial arts whiz Glenn Rushton. Bullied at high school, Horn was a self-confessed nerd but at 20 he decided to test his boxing skills in his first proper amateur bout. At 24 he made the quarter-finals of the 2012 London Olympics. On July 2, 2017 in one of the greatest days ever in Queensland sport the mild-mannered 'Fighting Schoolteacher' overpowered all-time great Manny Pacquiao on a brilliant winter's afternoon at Suncorp Stadium for the WBO world welterweight title before more than 51,000 fans at the venue and a television audience estimated to be 500 million. Horn was given little chance against a boxer who had dominated the sport for nearly 20 years but in a bloody brawl, he showed that if you work hard at your goals in life anything is possible. Anything. Horn stopped Englishman Gary Corcoran in his first title defence before losing the world championship to unbeaten Terence Crawford in Las Vegas in June. He fights Anthony Mundine at Suncorp on Friday night.

57. JON SIEBEN

Swimming

Olympic gold, Commonwealth Games gold

A butterfly swimmer since the age of nine Sieben won gold at 15 in the medley relay at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and bronze in the 200m butterfly. Coached by Laurie Lawrence, he was a rank outsider going into the 200m butterfly at the Los Angeles Olympics two years later. Known as 'The Shrimp' at 173cm, Sieben faced West Germany's 'Albatross' Michael Gross, the 200m butterfly world record holder, who stood an imposing 2m tall and hand a wingspan of 225cm. Gross had already won two Olympic gold medals. The 100m world record holder Pablo Morales was also in the medal hunt and at 188cm he still towered over the diminutive Brisbane battler, the youngest and most inexperienced swimmer in the event. The 200m final looked like it was going to form with the Brisbane minnow following in the wake of the world swimming giants for the first 150m. But in one of the great swims of all time, 'The Shrimp' flew past the 'Albatross' in the last 50m to take gold with a world record that was four seconds faster than he had ever swum before. He also took bronze for swimming in the preliminaries of the medley relay.

56. NIKKI HUDSON

Hockey

Olympic gold, 2 Commonwealth Games gold, World Cup, 3 gold medals at the Champions Trophy

Rockhampton-born Hudson made her debut with the Hockeyroos in 1993 aged just 17 and played in three Olympics, three Commonwealth Games and three World Cups. A 16-year veteran of the Australian team, she won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she was the tournament's leading goal-scorer and she was named captain of the World XI by the International Federation of Hockey in 2006. She became the first woman to play 300 international Hockey matches for Australia. Captain at the 2008 Olympics, she scored in Australia's first two games, landing the second goal in an epic comeback to win 5-4 against Korea, and then made a skilful individual effort against Spain. Her goal against Spain was her 98th international goal, in her 299th international appearance. Her 99th goal for Australia came against South Africa in the following match which was No. 300. She played three more times for Australia before retiring in March, 2009. She said while it was hard to top the Hockeyroos' gold medal win in Sydney in 2000, it was her winning goal in the gold medal game against India at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne that was among the fondest memories of her career.

55. NOEL KELLY

Rugby League

111 first-grade games for Wests (Sydney), 25 Test matches

The first hooker/prop forward to make three Kangaroo tours (1959-60, 1963-64 & 1967-68), he was born at Ipswich and raised at Goodna. Although a gentleman away from the paddock, he was one of the toughest footballers ever and played in what he called ``a time when it was catch and kill your own ... a battle for survival with coat-hanger tackles and knees in the back all the time.'' Kelly says he got so used to being sent off that when the postman blew his whistle at the front of his house, he would immediately jog towards the shower. In 1956, he began playing in the Ipswich Rugby League competition, first with Railways, and then, two years later, with Brothers. Under the coaching of former Rabbitoh great Clive Churchill, he represented Queensland in 1959 while part of a great Ipswich front row partnership with Gary Parcell and Dud Beattie. Kelly toured with the Kangaroos as the No.2 hooker to Ian Walsh but before long he was a mainstay of the team. He played in three straight grand final losses against St George (1961-63) but his Test career continued unabated. On his third Kangaroo tour he was back at hooker in five Test matches.

54. MAL ANDERSON

Tennis

1957 US Singles Champion

Anderson learnt his tennis on a dirt court on a 2500-hectare cattle property at Theodore, west of Bundaberg. In 1957, aged 22, he and Ashley Cooper won the French doubles before Anderson beat his partner for the US Singles trophy in New York. Just before the tournament Anderson received a letter from Australia's Davis Cup coach Harry Hopman who knew Anderson was due to marry Roy Emerson's sister Daphne in Brisbane straight after the event. Hopman told him if he lost early at the US Championships he wanted him to cancel the wedding and go straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Davis Cup. Anderson trained like never before and beat Cooper in straight sets. He then played his part in Australia's 3-2 win over the United States in the Davis Cup final at Kooyong in Melbourne. In 1958, Anderson was a finalist at both the Australian Championships and US Championships, losing both times to Cooper. At 36, he was a finalist at the 1972 Australian Open, losing to Ken Rosewall and the following year he captured the Australian Open doubles title with John Newcombe. He was part of victorious Davis Cup teams in 1957 and 1973.

53. CRAIG McDERMOTT

Cricket

71 Tests, 291 wickets, avge: 28.63

'Billy the Kid' made his Australian debut aged just 19 and quickly established himself as a robust and intimidating fast bowler, with seamless rhythm and a dangerous outswinger. Born in Ipswich, McDermott was just 18 when he made his debut for Queensland in 1984 and the next year he joined Geoff Lawson and Rodney Hogg as Australia's fast bowling trio in the Fourth Test against the West Indies in Melbourne. He took six wickets in the match and in the Ashes tour of 1985 claimed 30 English scalps. His pace and accuracy were key factors in Australia winning the 1987 World Cup, when he took 18 wickets in the tournament, including 5/44 in the semi-final win over Pakistan. Against England in the WACA Test in 1991, his outswingers resulted in an 11-wicket match haul which included 8/97 in the first innings. Merv Hughes claimed the other two wickets in the innings. McDermott battled with a number of injuries, missing most of the 1993 Ashes tour, the 1995 West Indies tour and the 1996 World Cup.

52. VICKI WILSON

Netball

104 games for Australia, 3 World Championships, Commonwealth Games gold

Regarded as the world's best shooter during an international career that lasted 15 years, Wilson was the first Australian to reach 100 Test caps. She was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Australian Netball Hall of Fame in November 2008. She was known for her pinpoint shooting accuracy. She debuted for Australia in 1984 and became captain of the Australian team in 1996, while on the comeback trail from a knee injury sustained at the 1995 World Championships which Australia won, adding to their 1991 title. Wilson was national captain in the last four years of her career, leading Australia to gold medal success over the Kiwis at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. She retired after then leading Australia to their third straight World Championship victory, a one-point win in the 1999 World Championship final against New Zealand in Christchurch. Australia fought back from six goals down at three-quarter time to win with a final-second shot by Sharelle McMahon. Wilson coached the Queensland Firebirds from 2006-9 and in 2013 became assistant coach for the New Zealand Silver Ferns. In 2016, she signed to coach Fiji for three years.

51 COOPER CRONK

Rugby League

349 first-grade games, 22 State of Origin matches, 38 Tests

Even before this year's NRL grand final, Cooper Cronk had cemented his place in rugby league history after 14 seasons at the Melbourne Storm with two premierships, two Dally M awards for player of the year, a Clive Churchill medal for the best player in the 2012 grand final and the 2016 Golden Boot award as the world's best footballer. But then in 2018, in his first season with the Sydney Roosters, he ran out with a broken scapula against his old club in the grand final and helped engineer a 21-6 victory. Born in Brisbane, Cronk attended St Laurence's College. In 2001 he played league for the Queensland and Australian Schoolboys teams and was signed to play for the Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup. He made his debut for the Storm in 2004 and two years later was the Dally M halfback of the year. Before long he was playing for Australia and then Queensland. In the 2012 grand final victory over Canterbury-Bankstown, he won the Clive Churchill Medal as man of the match and the following year was named the Dally M player of the season. He won the Dally M again in 2016.

50. MICK DITTMAN

Horseracing

Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, 2 Cox Plates, 3 Golden Slippers

Born in Rockhampton in 1952, his riding career spanned more than 30 years and he rode more than 1700 winners, including 88 in Group 1 races. He had a long partnership with trainer Tommy Smith that resulted in three Sydney Jockey Premierships. Dittman was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2002. Some of his achievements include the 1982 Melbourne Cup on Gurner's Lane, three Golden Slippers aboard Full On Aces (1981), Bounding Away (1986) and Bint Marscay (1993), two Cox Plates with Strawberry Road (1983) and Red Anchor (1984) and a Caulfield Cup with Sydeston in 1990. Dittman first raced on the Gold Coast, and landed a double at Murwillumbah as a 16-year-old. His first big win came in the 1968 Gold Coast Newmarket (known now as the Goldmarket) aboard Red Shah and he then won the 1969 Ipswich Cup aboard Makata. He won his first Group 1 race, The Doomben Cup, riding Knee High to victory in 1972 and at Eagle Farm in November 1976 scored six wins and a second in a seven-event program. Gurner's Lane famously beat the highly-fancied Kingston Town for the Melbourne Cup.

49. WALLY GROUT

Cricket

51 Tests, 163 catches, 24 stumpings

His name became rhyming slang for a shout at the bar, something that Wally would still be proud about. Born in Mackay, he became a cricket devotee aged seven after watching Australian wicketkeeper Don Tallon playing in a match at Brisbane's Perry Park and he made the Brisbane schoolboys team as an opening batsman. Eventually he became Tallon's understudy at the Toombul club. But he spent more than a decade waiting for a chance in the Test side before making his debut aged 30 against South Africa at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg in 1957. He had what he called ``an attack of the fumbles'' in the first innings before taking six catches in the second. Australia never lost a series in which Grout played. He played his first Test in Australia at the Gabba in 1958 and he picked up 20 wickets in the series, equalling Tallon's Ashes record. Australia went on to win the series 4-0. Asked by an Englishman if he'd attended a public school, he replied: "Eton. And drinkin''. He went on the Australian tour of the West Indies only a few months after a heart attack in 1964 and died in 1968 aged 41.

48. JAMIE DWYER

Hockey

Olympic gold, 2 Commonwealth Games gold, 6 gold medals at the Champions Trophy

In 15 years playing as an international, Dwyer made 326 appearances for Australia, scoring 215 goals. The midfielder/striker won Olympic gold in 2004 and took bronze in Beijing and London. Born in Rockhampton he played for the junior national team from the age of 17 and began playing for the Queensland Blades while still a teenager. In 2002, he won a silver medal at the World Cup and gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Going into the 2004 Athens Olympics, he was recovering from a knee injury but scored an extra-time goal in the final against the Netherlands. Australia won 2-1 and Dwyer came away being recognised as the best player in the world. Over the next eight years Australia won the Champions Trophy six times. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he was part of the bronze medal-winning team after he was carried off the pitch with a hip injury in the middle of the game against Canada that Australia won 6-1. A bronze medal followed in London in 2012. Dwyer's brother-in-law Mark Knowles and cousin Matthew Gohdes both represented Australia alongside him during his career.

47. DUNCAN ARMSTRONG

Swimming

Olympic gold and silver

Born in Rockhampton, Armstrong started swimming at five. His family moved to Brisbane where he flourished under the guidance of coach Laurie Lawrence and his star swimmer at the time, 1984 Olympic gold medallist Jon Sieben. Armstrong was determined to emulate Sieben's Olympic feat and he became captain of the Brisbane State High School swimming team. He made his international debut at 18 at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, winning his first gold medal, for the 400m freestyle, in dramatic fashion by surging from behind, after he trailed by nearly 25m at the midway point of the race. Armstrong ranked 46th in the world when he arrived at Seoul for the 1988 Olympics and in the 200m freestyle was up against a mighty trio of Matt Biondi, Artur Wojdat of Poland, and Michael Gross of West Germany. At 150 metres, Armstrong was in third place but he surged home in the final 25 metres to claim gold with a new world record. Laurie Lawrence grabbed a television reporter in a headlock and bellowed: "Mate, whadda ya think we came here for, silver? Stuff the silver, we came for the gold".

46. LIBBY LENTON

Swimming

4 Olympic gold medals, 15 World Championships, 5 Commonwealth Games gold

Born Lisbeth Constance Lenton in Townsville in 1985 and educated at Brisbane's Somerville House, she won gold medals at three Olympic Games over an eight-year period. Her international career flourished after two bronze medals at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona and she set the 100m freestyle world record (53.66) at the Olympic swimming trials held in Sydney in 2004, but lost the record to teammate Jodie Henry (53.52) at the 2004 Athens Games. Trickett won gold in the 4x100m freestyle in Athens and followed it with three gold in the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, including the 50m freestyle gold. The 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games gave her five gold medals including the 50m and 100m freestyle titles and she replicated that success with another five gold at the 2007 Melbourne World Championships. At Beijing 2008, Trickett won the 100m butterfly in history's second fastest time. Her next event was the 100m freestyle, where she was the world record holder. She was ahead of world record pace in the first 50m but finished with silver. She won another gold in the 4x100-metre medley relay. Four years later at London 2012, she won gold in the 4x100m freestyle.

45 JASON DUNSTALL

Australian Rules

4 VFL/AFL Premierships, 1254 goals

Dunstall shone in an era of great full-forward rivals such Gary Ablett Sr, Tony Lockett and Tony Modra. He is one of only five players to have kicked more than 1000 career goals in the VFL/AFL. A graduate of Brisbane's Churchie school, he played junior football at Coorparoo. He made his VFL debut for Hawthorn in 1985 aged 20 and the following year kicked six goals in his first Premiership triumph against Carlton. In 1988 he won the first of his three Coleman Medals as the competition's leading goalscorer. He then kicked seven goals in Hawthorn's 152-56 slaughter of Melbourne in the 1988 grand final. In 1989 he won his second straight Coleman Medal with 128 goals during the home-and-away season and finished third in the Brownlow Medal vote count. Dunstall kicked four goals in the 1989 grand final thriller to take his overall tally to 138 goals for the season. He also won the club's best and fairest award for the second straight year. Representing Victoria in the State of Origin series, Dunstall took the Simpson Medal for best on ground against Western Australia in Perth. He kicked 80 goals in 1991, including six in the grand final against West Coast.

44. GRANT KENNY

Ironman

4 Australian titles, Olympic bronze in kayak

He was the face and body of Australian beach life in the 1980s, the embodiment of fitness under the Queensland sun. The best-known surf lifesaver of all time, he joined a nippers squad when he was six and moved up through the cadets and juniors with Alexandra Headland Club. The son of Hayden Kenny, who won the first Australian Ironman title in 1966, he shook the Australian sporting world in 1980 when, as a 16-year-old, he won both the Australian Junior and Open Ironman Championship on the same day at Maroochydore. He then dominated the event, winning the Australian Open Ironman title for the following three years. From 1981 until 1989 he was also the Australian senior single ski champion. At his first Australian kayak championships he won eight gold medals and he was a member of the Australian team from 1980-88, winning 23 national gold medals. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Kenny won bronze in the K-2 1000m event with Barry Kelly. Four years later at Seoul his team came fourth in the K4 1000. Kenny also won the Molokai to Oahu Marathon ski race in Hawaii five times from 1979 to 1983.

43. TRACEY WICKHAM

Swimming

4 Commonwealth Games gold medals, 2 world championships

A world record holder for the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, Wickham was the world champion for the 400m and 800m freestyle in 1978, and won gold in both events at the 1978 and 1982 Commonwealth Games. Born at Rosebud on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula she was educated at Brisbane's All Hallows' School. She began swimming aged eight and at 13 swam at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games but failed to reach the finals. At Brisbane's Valley Pool, she broke her first world record, the 1500m freestyle, in a solo swim on February 8, 1978. At the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada, Wickham won both the 400m and 800m freestyle races and at the Berlin World Championships that year, she set a world 400m record which stood for almost 30 years - until 2007. She missed the 1980 Olympics because of glandular fever but she won gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Her 400m gold medal was presented by Queen Elizabeth II. Three years later Wickham was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and in 1992 was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

42. MATTHEW MITCHAM

Diving

Olympic gold, Commonwealth Games gold

The first openly gay athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, Brisbane-born Mitcham took first place on the podium at Beijing in 2008 and became the first Australian man to win an Olympic gold medal in diving since Dick Eve at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Originally a trampoline gymnast, he was spotted at the Chandler Aquatic Centre by Wang Tong Xiang, a diving coach at the Australian Institute of Sport and from 2002-2004, was a national junior diving champion. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he qualified in second position for the semi-final and final of the 10m platform event. He entered the final round of dives in second place behind Chinese diver Zhou Lüxin but his final dive was enough to win gold with four perfect 10 scores from judges in a score of 112.10, the highest single-dive score in Olympic history. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Mitcham won four silver medals, partnering fellow Australian diver Ethan Warren as runners-up in the synchronized events in both the 3m and 10m. Four years later Mitcham and Domonic Bedggood won gold in the men's synchronized 10m platform at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

41. MITCHELL JOHNSON

Cricket

73 Tests, 313 wickets at 28.40; 2065 runs at 22.2.

A left-arm fast bowler with searing pace and a big-hitting left-handed batsman with a Test century to his credit, Johnson was born and raised in Townsville. His childhood dream was to be a tennis pro in the mould of Pete Sampras but the great speedster Dennis Lillee spotted Johnson at a fast-bowling clinic in Brisbane at age 17 and he joined the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide. He toured England with the Australian Under-19 side in 1999 but back injuries stalled his career for two years and he became a plumbing van delivery driver in Brisbane. Finally he made his debut for Queensland in 2001, hitting a six off his first ball for the state in a match against New Zealand. He first played for Australia against Sri Lanka at the Gabba in 2007. In 2008 he moved to Perth to play for Western Australia. On the second day of the First Test against South Africa in Perth on December 18, 2008 Johnson took seven wickets for just 12 runs in career best figures of 8/61. The next year in South Africa he hit a rapid 123 not out at Cape Town in the Third Test.

News Corp Australia


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