Jesse Ryder's latest trip to the bar could secure membership sports' least-desirable club, writes Dana Johanssen and Winston Aldworth
The most talked about statistic attributed to an Australian sportsman is David Boon's 52 - cans that is - on the flight to London ahead of the 1989 Ashes series. So revered is the figure that it was once suggested that the Tasmanian speed limit be lowered to 52km/h as a tribute.
Adding to the legend is that the exact details of the 1989 flight have always remained slightly sketchy. Teammate Dean Jones nodded off and awoke as the plane neared England to the sound of a familiar announcement on the PA. "This is your captain speaking ..."
But the captain wasn't making the expected announcement about getting ready to land - he was passing on congratulations to the Tasmanian.
According to some reports, Boon was fined $5000 and lucky to escape being sent home. Then again, he went on to make more than 500 runs for the test series, averaging more than 70, and made more than 1500 runs for the tour.
2 Ivan Ukhov
Say what you like about the foibles of the others on our list: Their drinking put them in bad physical condition and some of them even let hangovers interrupt training or matchday performances. But they would do well to match Ivan Ukhov, the Russian high-jumper who swigged vodka and Red Bull all day while waiting for his jump at an international track meeting in Lausanne last September.
Officials kicked him out of the competition after noticing he could barely stand, let alone leap. After shoving one official aside he lurched into the high-jump mat for possibly the worst attempted jump in athletic history. Tuckered out and more than a little hammered, poor old Ukhov then had a bit of a lie-down on the mat.
His manager Pavel Voronkov said: "There's no denying that Ivan was drunk but he had a fight with his girlfriend and was also upset at failing to qualify for the Beijing Olympics."
3 George Best
"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars," said George Best. "The rest I just squandered."
The tales of Best's drinking are, in equal measure, legendary and saddening. At the time of his inevitable booze-inspired demise, British football suffered a collective loss of perspective, so effusive were the tributes to the Manchester United hero. His achievements with the Red Devils were fantastic but Best never set foot on the World Cup stage where greats like Maradona and Pele had the opportunity to cast their legend. But there's no doubt that his was a special talent on the field, and a rare lunacy off it.
Told that one more drink would kill him, he naturally went to the pub and toasted his doctor's health.
4 Frank Worthington
"JESUS SAVES" a fan of the Lord wrote on an English motorway bridge in the 1970s. " ... BUT WORTHINGTON SCORES ON THE REBOUND" was added by a Bolton fan in praise of the club's own beloved deity.
Worthington's brilliance on the field was matched by his propensity for the high life away from it. Arriving for a medical examination that would have confirmed his place in the mighty Liverpool side of the 1970s, he was surprised to be told he failed the examination due to high blood pressure. The doctors were clear on the source of the problem: too much booze in his system.
So the club sent Worthington off to dry out for two weeks before another medical check. He spent the fortnight on the lash in Marbella and returned for his second medical even more hungover and with an even higher blood pressure.
The Liverpool transfer never came through.
5 Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff has a long history of drinking controversies.
He famously enjoyed an all-night drinking session after the 2005 Ashes win and turned up drunk to a reception with the Prime Minister at Downing Street.
But perhaps his most embarrassing exploits were those which occurred in the Caribbean during the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
"Freddie" commandeered then capsized a pedalo in late-night high jinks at the team's hotel which resulted in the England allrounder being stripped of the vice-captaincy for the tournament and dumped from his side's next pool match against Canada. He was also ordered to undertake a water-safety course.
6 The All Blacks thirst XV
Over the years, many members of our beloved national team have grabbed
the headlines for drunken behaviour - so many in fact, it's hard to single out just one.
So we've compiled the All Blacks thirst XV in honour of some of the idiotic acts our supposed national heroes have performed over the years. Some incidents are more serious than others, with criminal charges involved, while others are just plain embarrassing.
Doug Howlett (trampolining on cars), Mils Muliaina (urinating in a bar), Tana Umaga and Chris Masoe (handbag abuse), Ma'a Nonu (fighting outside a bar), Piri Weepu (drunk and disorderly), Jimmy Cowan (assault), Jerry Collins (assault allegations), Sione Lauaki (alleged property damage), Xavier Rush (passing out in front of a service station), Jerome Kaino (drink driving), Norm Maxwell (assaulting a bouncer), Norm Hewitt (smashing through a glass door at a Queenstown property at 3am then passing out), Keith Murdoch (assaulting a hotel doorman), Stu Wilson (drink driving).
7 Matt Henjak
Promising young Australian halfback Matt Henjak's rugby career unravelled at the beginning of last year after being involved in a violent incident with a Western Force teammate.
Henjak punched Haig Sare after a day of drinking at Fremantle's Left Bank bar five days before the start of the 2008 Super 14 season. Sare's jaw was broken and Henjak got the sack.
It wasn't the first time Henjak has been in trouble for alcohol-related misdemeanours. In 2005 he was sent home from a Wallabies tour after an incident in a Cape Town nightclub. There were several other disciplinary matters involving Henjak during his two years in Perth. But his manager Greg Keenan, blamed the Force.
"Every player they [The Western Force] contract comes from other states," he said. "That means social supports a player would usually have in his home town aren't available and as a result the responsibility to provide those supports rests with the Force."
8 Sione Faumuina
Wayward rugby league star Sione Faumuina's career has been plagued with drinking-related scandals.
Repeated indiscretions involving alcohol, including attacking an NZ sevens star at a bar in 2004, saw Faumuina sacked from the New Zealand Warriors in August 2006.
After a brief stint with Super League club Harlequins, the former Kiwi attempted to rebuild his NRL career at North Queensland after the Cowboys threw him a lifeline. But trouble followed him across the Tasman, where he snared numerous headlines in his two seasons with the Cowboys.
9 Jesse Ryder
Punters will always forgive a top athlete a bit of a blow-out from time to time. And blow out Jesse Ryder did, celebrating his elevation to international cricket with an evening of sophisticated drinking and window smashing at Christchurch's salubrious Stock X Change Bar.
But he lost the punters' goodwill in the hours that followed, lurching around Christchurch Hospital, verbally abusing medical staff and demanding special treatment.
Ryder's return to the turps is no surprise, but the statement from his manager Aaron Klee that the portly opener has put away the turps for good is a tad disingenuous. "The clock has been reset, he's on the road again and let's hope he and we can keep him good," says Klee.
10 John Daly
Troubled American golfer John Daly seems to suffer from every addiction and excess going - drugs, cigarettes, gambling, pies and especially alcohol. His career has been littered with drinking scandals too numerous to mention.
His most recent indiscretion involved being detained by police after passing out drunk at a Hooters restaurant in North Carolina last year.