Dick Thornett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dick Thornett
Full name Richard Norman Thornett
Date of birth (1940-09-23)23 September 1940
Place of birth Sydney, New South Wales
Date of death 12 October 2011(2011-10-12) (aged 71)
Place of death Sydney, New South Wales
Notable relative(s) John Thornett (brother)
Ken Thornett (brother)
Rugby league career
Position(s) Second-row
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Parramatta Eels
Eastern Suburbs
State of Origin
Years Team Apps (Points)
1963–69 New South Wales 13 ((21))
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1963–68 Australia 11 ((3))
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1961–1962 Randwick DRUFC ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1961–1962 Australia 11 ((6))

Richard Norman “Dick” Thornett[1] (23 September 1940 – 12 October 2011) was one of five Australians to have represented their country in three sports. He was an Olympic water polo player before becoming a rugby league and rugby union player—a dual code international representative.


Thornett also represented Australia at Water polo at age 20 in the 1960 Rome Olympics giving him the truly rare sporting distinction of being a triple international (see also Michael Cleary).

Rugby union[edit]

A Randwick DRUFC forward, in his two senior seasons in rugby union in 1961 and 1962 Thornett made eleven national representative Tests appearances for the Wallabies. On the Wallabies 1961 tour of South Africa Thornett was in the squad with his brother John Thornett and they played Test matches together. Dick left the amateur code after two years to join his brother Ken Thornett at the Parramatta Eels.

Rugby league[edit]

Thornett was a second-rower, and joined his brother Ken at the Parramatta Eels in 1963.[2] He played there until 1971, making 168 appearances for the club, being a master ball player informing the style-changing ball skills that Arthur Beetson would bring to forward play shortly after Thornett. In a club game against Canterbury in 1968 Thornett matched the then standing club record of four tries in a match.

In 1969 he appeared as a guest player for Auckland in a match against the New Zealand Kiwis to mark the New Zealand Rugby League’s diamond jubilee.[3]

He made national representative appearances for the Kangaroos in Tests against South Africa in 1963, on the 1963–64 Kangaroo tour and in three matches of the 1968 World Cup.

His international rugby league debut in the First Test against South Africa in Brisbane on 20 July 1963 saw Thornett become Australia’s 28th dual code rugby international, following Michael Cleary and preceding Jim Lisle. Ken Thornett also appeared in that Test match, making the brothers the first to play together in an Australian test side since Bill and Viv Farnsworth in 1912.

Thornett’s final two club seasons at Parramatta were affected by a bout of hepatitis and he saw out the final year of his career with a season at Easts.

While playing rugby, Thornett also served in the New South Wales Police Force and in 2008, rugby league's centennial year in Australia, he was named as a reserve in a NSW Police team of the century.

Sporting brothers[edit]

Thornett was born into a family of legendary footballing brothers. John Thornett was an acclaimed Wallaby captain who played 37 Rugby Union Tests for Australia over a distinguished 13-year career from 1955. Ken Thornett was the leading Australian rugby league fullback in the early sixties. Ken earned 12 Test caps for Australia and played alongside Dick at Parramatta over a 136-game club career.

John and Dick Thornett both played together in Wallabies sides in 1961–62; Dick and Ken Thornett played together in three test matches on the 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour.


  1. ^ Dick Thornett rugby union profile ESPN Scrum.com
  2. ^ Toby Creswell and Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. Australia: Pluto Press. p. 715. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8. 
  3. ^ Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909-2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4. p.p.207-208


  • Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2006) The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Gavin Allen Publishing, Sydney
  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney

External links[edit]