Virus delay could prompt stars to play on

The break in the NRL season due to the coronavirus has enticed veteran Cameron Smith (r) to play on.
The break in the NRL season due to the coronavirus has enticed veteran Cameron Smith (r) to play on.

The dark coronavirus cloud could have one silver lining in sport.

A batch of Australia's sporting greats could extend their careers.

English Premier League megastar Kevin De Bruyne has postponed his retirement plans as the coronavirus shutdown makes him realise how much he'll miss soccer.

Will some of Australia's sporting stalwarts follow suit?

CAMERON SMITH

The NRL's most-capped player admits he was close to retiring at the end of last season, before finding the hunger to continue. Turns 37 in June and now says he has no retirement plans when his 2020 contract expires.

GARY ABLETT

Arguably the AFL's greatest modern-day play said he would hang up the boots at the end of this season. But despite turning 36 next month, will the prospect of not playing again this year prompt a rethink for the dual Brownlow medallist?

BENJI MARSHALL

The 35-year-old NRL star says his body will determine if he retires: feel good, play on; feel bad, retire. Marshall has approached every recent season as his last but the suspension will obviously help freshen his physical frame for the future.

BESART BERISHA

The A-League's super-striker holds the record for most goals in the competition after returning to Australia with newcomers Western United in the suspended season. Turns 35 in July, but surely could play on.

EDDIE BETTS

The AFL's most-loved player re-joined Carlton on a one-year contract for the stalled season. If the season is scrapped entirely, will the dynamic forward, who turns 34 in November, seek a fresh deal?

JOSH KENNEDY

The AFL goal-kicking machine was a chance to call time on his career at West Coast at season's end. The 32-year-old is now conceding that even if he wants to continue, potential cuts to player list sizes may make the decision for him.

Australian Associated Press