Athlete


Date Inducted: 24 Nov 1999
Sport: Rugby Union, Rugby League
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Dick Thornett - Rugby Union, Rugby League

One of the select band of Australian triple internationals, Dick represented his country at rugby union and rugby league.

Dick played water polo for Bronte and New South Wales in 1959 and 1960 and was chosen in the 1960 Olympic team for Rome. As soon as Dick handled a water polo ball he was an instant success and possessed a shot so powerful that it made most goalkeepers shudder. At the Olympic Games he gained the respect of seasoned internationals by his vigorous play and scoring potential. He played only another two years after 1960 because his rugby career blossomed. He had enormous ability and could have been one of the greats.

A member of one of Australia's outstanding football families, Dick, Ken, and John never managed to all play together. Dick played eleven rugby union Tests with his brother John against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and France in 1961/62, before switching to rugby league in 1963.

He joined his other brother Ken at Parramatta as a front-rower, going on to play 168 games for the club. He make his Kangaroo debut in 1963 against South Africa and went on to play 14 Test matches for Australia, against Great Britain, France and New Zealand including the triumphant tour with the Kangaroos to Great Britain and France in 1963/64.

Dick and Ken played in the same side in three Test matches on the 1963/64 Kangaroo Tour and three matches of the 1968 World Cup, the first brothers to play together for Australia since the Farnsworth brothers in 1912.

Dick, at 104 kilograms, was a feared runner with the ball and was renowned for his strength in rucking and mauling. He was always an extremely mobile forward, a clever ball handler, and prodigious punt kicker.

Inspiration: "You won't bet me - l'll just keep going."

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.