Top Ten Cross Code Flops


Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but an NRL player is going to have a go at an NFL career! Cronulla Sharks and Queensland player Valentine Holmes is reportedly headed stateside.

Plenty of athletes have looked at another sport and thought “I could do that!” without fully grasping what goes into making the change.

Sure from a lounge chair, rugby league and rugby union can look pretty similar, but there are plenty of little differences that suddenly seem apparent when you have an All Blacks flanker running your way.

With that in mind, the Ladbrokes Blog takes a look at some of the people who have set a pretty low bar for Holmes to clear in his career change.

Sam Burgess – Rugby League to Rugby Union

Sam Burgess left the South Sydney Rabbitohs after he led them to the 2014 NRL Premiership to try his hand at Rugby Union and he made it all the way the Rugby World Cup, but he spent the majority of his time in the bench for the awful English side.

The video below makes it seem as though Burgess was some kind of Rugby Union god, but we can confirm that this was far from reality!

Benji Marshall – Rugby League to Rugby Union

Sam Burgess’ stint in Rugby Union can be classed a failure, but he was still able to represent his country and he was far from the worst league convert in the game they play in heaven.

That title belongs to Benji Marshalll – who managed to make enemies from the time that he signed with the Blues and he was nothing short of an embarrassment during his very brief stint in Super Rugby.

Credit where it is due – his return to rugby league has had some great moments.

Israel Folau – Rugby League to AFL

Israel Folau joined Karmichael Hunt in the AFL after being offered a massive deal with the Greater Western Sydney Giants and despite his natural athleticism Izzy was never able to make it in the AFL.

Thankfully, his third code swap was far more successful and he has developed into a key member of the Wallabies side, but anybody that watched his kicking during the his time with the Wallabies would question how anybody ever thought he could make it in the AFL.

Andrew Johns – Rugby League to Cricket

Twenty20 Cricket is now big business, but when it was first introduced in Australia it was nothing short of a joke and New South Wales did their best to get crowds through the gate by signing Rugby League legend Andrew Johns.

Johns looked absolutely terrified during his entire stint as a professional cricketer, but it is fair to say his stint as a cricketer is not even close to his most embarrassing moment since he retired by rugby league.

Jarryd Hayne – Rugby League to NFL to Rugby 7’s

From the minute Hayne announced his intention to move to the US and compete for a contract, it began a bizarre journey chased a spot on the 49ers roster for the 2015 season.

He had some simply phenomenal moments in preseason, playing against a bunch of guys who were also fighting for jobs come cutdown day.

While simply making the roster does warrant some credit, he was eventually unable to stick, due to an inability to score a touchdown… or hold onto the ball.

After one season with the 49ers, Hayne walked out on new coach Chip Kelly, opting to pursue his next dream of representing Fiji in the Olympic Rugby 7’s.

Hayne played a few tournaments with the side but was ultimately watching from home when the Fijians won Gold.

To add some extra salt in the wound, another NFL player Nate Ebner took a leave of absence from New England to compete in the 7’s as a part of the US squad, even scoring tries against Brazil and Fiji.

Michael Jordan – Basketball to Baseball

Those of you that have seen Space Jam, which should be all of you, will know that Michael Jordan gave up Basketball in his prime to attempt to make it as a Baseball player following the death of his Dad.

His lone season with the Birmingham Barons was not great, in fact his batting average of .202 was lower than his NBA playing weight of 216 pounds.

Jordan decided to quit baseball in early 1995 due to the players strike and return to the NBA, announcing his intention with one of the best press releases ever, just two simple words, “I’m back.”

In his first game back with the Bulls, Jordan missed his first six shots before reminding everyone why he is considered to be the best basketball player ever.

He looked like the Jordan of old… except for having to wear 45 because the Bulls couldn’t unretire his old 23 midseason.

Jeff Fenech – Boxing to Rugby League

The Parramatta Eels have produced some woeful signings in their history, but the decision to give boxer Jeff Fenech a contract rates right up there and he only managed to play a couple of reserve grade games before going back to Boxing.

We couldn’t find any footage of Fenech wearing the blue and gold, but this video of him arguing with another code-swapper Anthony Mundine is even more entertaining.

Brock Lesnar – WWE to NFL

Brock Lesnar is one of the scariest men on the planet and he has achieved success in College Wrestling, Professional Wrestling and the UFC, but even he couldn’t make it in the NFL.

Lesnar spent a pre-season as a member of the Minnesota Vikings and his most memorable moment came when he started a fight with teammate Nate Burleson at training.

James Toney – Boxing to UFC

While Toney offered no value in the Octagon, his pre-fight interviews were hilarious and this one below is no exception – ‘the only freakshow I have is between my legs’ is a personal highlight.

Usain Bolt – Track to Football

We weren’t going to leave him off this list were we?

After failing to secure a contract during training stints with Borussia Dortmund and Norwegian club Stromsgodset, he received an invite to train with the Central Coast Mariners.

Safe to say Bolt’s stint in Gosford made headlines as the World’s Fastest Man had a crack at a footballing career, you couldn’t help but keep an eye on it.

Sadly for Bolt, as a footballer he made a fantastic sprinter, not quite good enough to justify a contract offer at his age, Bolt left Gosford after a few utterly bizarre months and with a few positive memories.

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