Olden Balls: Age no barrier for these Aussie sporting heroes

The world of football got a little less good-looking this year when underwear model David Beckham retired. At 38, Becks was pretty old for a professional footballer, with most players calling it a day in their early 30s.

As we all get used to life without Golden Balls, here are some Aussie sporting heroes who defied their advancing years. And you wouldn't catch any of these guys in a sarong…

Cricket legends record Ashes whitewash
After the painful Ashes defeat by England in 2005, there was the usual hysteria in the media, with questions being asked about the fading powers of some of Australia's key players.

When England arrived on Aussie soil 18 months later, it was time for the golden generation to prove their creaking knees and receding hairlines could still win a cricket match.

An ageing Aussie squad, with the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer all 37 by the end of the series, rolled back the years to record the first 5-0 Ashes whitewash since the 1920s.

With Warney looking younger than ever these days, let's get them all out of retirement for this year's Ashes!!

Model pro keeps on trying
Rugby league is not short of impressive athletes, but even among the Super League supermen, Steve Menzies stands out. Having enjoyed a hugely successful career, Menzies is still playing top flight footy at the age of 39.

It's been few years since he played on home soil, but Menzies will always be a hero in Sydney's northern beaches, thanks to his exploits with the Sea Eagles. When he left for Bradford after a famous Grand Final victory in 2008, he had appeared in 349 first grade games and scored 180 tries.

But while a lot of modern sportsmen get distracted by tattoos and hair goo endorsements, Menzies was and is all about the game, famously turning down the opportunity of a Sea Eagles cameo to give him a shot at breaking Terry Lamb's appearance record.

Menzies started his 21st year as a professional this year, after extending his stay at the Catalan Dragons.

Ruling Aussie Rules for two decades
Another Aussie sporting great with more than two decades under his belt is Essendon's number 31, Dustin Fletcher.

With footy in his blood, Fletcher has been a star of the AFL since his premiership-winning debut season in 1993.

Fletcher, now 38, has spent his entire playing career with Essendon, appearing in 372 games and scoring 69 goals. He holds an unusual record with his dad, Ken. Between them they have played more than 500 AFL games, more than any other father and son combo.   

He is the oldest current AFL player, but has some way to go before he beats Vic Cumberland's record. Although he played in the old Victorian Football League, Cumberland was still going at 43 despite having fought in the First World War.