The ‘shirt seller’ is a bit of banter that you don’t hear much around Australian sport these days because we simply have too much respect for our sporting teams.
Shirt sellers are certain types of players who spend more time contributing off the field than on it. The shirt seller can be characterised as a big name signing for a club more interested in commercial appeal than on-field success.
Over the years shirt sellers have had some mixed on-field success, while others have been looking for that one final payday. With Andrew Bogut making a return to the NBL, it’s worth taking a trip down memory lane to look at the highs and lows of some Aussie shirt-sellers.
Andrew Bogut – Sydney Kings
Andrew Bogut was struggling in the NBA after a run of injuries left him without a team for next season in the NBA. The former number one draft is one of six Australians to win an NBA championship but had struggled for court time over the last 18 months.
After being released in a deal that saw Kevin Durant sign with the Warriors, Bogut bounced around from the league playing for the Mavericks, Cavs and Lakers.
The Aussie was never able to recapture the form that made him one of the best defenders in the NBA and he’s now chosen to come back to Australia to play for the Sydney Kings and not his hometown club Melbourne United. The Kings struggled this season and while the signing of Bogut is a coup for the NBL, it remains to be seen if an ageing centre with a history of bad knees can turn them into championship contenders.
Cooper Cronk – Sydney Roosters
The former Melbourne Storm and Queensland Origin Star has won every trophy imaginable in the game and is now spending his first season outside the Melbourne set-up.
The Queensland halfback moved to Sydney for family reasons but managed to unseat club stalwart Mitchell Pearce in his move to the Sydney Roosters.
While Cronk maybe one of the most respected figures in the game he faces a battle to help the Bondi club challenge for the title in 2018.
While the former Qld halfback may have left his best days behind him, he still has enough in his kitbag to help his side stay in finals contention.
Chris Gayle – Melbourne Renegades
Former West Indian international Chris Gayle is one of those T20 guns for hire who plies his trade on the international T20 circuit. There’s no better site in world cricket than watch Gayle take apart a bowling attack and the veteran has managed to turn back the clock in the IPL.
Gayle was one a regular in the Big Bash in Australia but spent more time in the nightclubs of Melbourne and Sydney than scoring runs on the field. Gayle started his Australian career with the Sydney Thunder in the BBL before he was banished from the league after giving his questionable interview skills while at the Melbourne Renegades.
Dwight Yorke – Sydney FC
Dwight Yorke was the former Manchester United striker who was a key player for former United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson. Yorke formed a fearsome partnership with Andy Cole and after his playing days he was credited with help put Australia soccer on the map when he signed for Sydney FC.
Israel Folau – Greater Western Sydney
Before he was a superstar for the Wallabies, Israel Folau sharpened his skills in rugby league and AFL.
The former rugby league star shocked the football community by becoming one of the first rugby league players to attempt to make the switch to the AFL. Folau signed with the AFL’s newest franchise the Giants in Sydney.
The former rugby league winger failed to set the world on fire on the field and after two years in the competition switched things up again by joining the world of rugby union.
What he lacks in social media skills is made up for his prestigious on-field talent, and if the Wallabies can find 14 more players like him they may stand a chance of beating the All-Blacks.
Alessandro Del Piero – Sydney FC
The former Juventus hitman became the highest paid player in Australian domestic soccer when he signed for Sydney FC in 2012 for two years. Del Piero was paid $3.5million for his two seasons in the A-League and in April 2015 he was named to the AFC and Sydney FC team of the decade. Despite his age, Del Piero was a resounding success on and off the field as he contributed to a renewed interest in Australian football.
George Smith – Queensland Reds
The Reds were able to pull off the major signing of former Wallaby George Smith for a two-year stint at the struggling franchise. One of the Wallabies finest ever flankers, the former Australian star made the switch from the Japanese league to help the Reds climb out of the Super Rugby cellar. Smith has had mixed success on the field but has helped the Reds revitalise their image after the drama surrounding Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt.
Jarryd Hayne – Gold Coast Titans
After a failed stint in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, State of Origin winger Jarryd Hayne was touted as a saviour for the Gold Coast Titans after Daly Cherry-Evans reneged on his contract with the side. Hayne cost the Gold Coast a coach and a constant season of drama. The Titans were glad to see the back of the Origin winger, with Hayne jetting off to Sydney to cause havoc at his former club Parramatta.