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Ken Thornett

Fullback

Player Bio

Inducted:
2008
Birthplace:
Waverley, NSW
Date of Birth:
27 November 1937
Nickname:
The Mayor
Debut Team:
Leeds
Opposition:
Batley
Date:
19 March 1960
Venue:
Headingley, Leeds
Representative:
City, New South Wales, Australia
Clubs:
Leeds, Parramatta Eels

Career

Milestones

  • NSWRL Player of the Year: 1966
  • Kangaroo Tour: 1963-64
  • Sun-Herald Best and Fairest: 1965
  • Rated No. 29 in Rugby League Week’s Top 100 players: 1992
First Class Games
320
Points
158
Tries
46

Biography

Ken Thornett, the middle son in a famous sporting family (elder brother, John, was a Wallaby captain; younger brother, Dick, represented Australia in three sports), was a hero in cities situated a world apart, and a graduate with honours from Australia's fabulous line of champion fullbacks.

Thornett's working life took him to England in 1959, where he went to ply his trade as a woolclasser. He was a NSW rugby union representative by then, but joined the Leeds rugby league club and stayed for four impressive years.

It is said that in the 1961 season, he didn't drop a single ball. When he came home briefly in 1962, Parramatta signed him for seven matches. They won six of them and drew the other.

Thornett returned to Parramatta in 1963 for what was to be a highly successful six-season stay.

He was Australia's premier fullback on the breakthrough 1963–64 Kangaroo tour, when the Ashes were won in England for the first time in more than half a century.

So much was the fullback position his that Graeme Langlands was forced into the centres.

Of Thornett on that tour, Noel Kelly declared: ''There may have been more brilliant fullbacks but there were none safer than Ken or with more courage''.

Thornett retired in 1968, having played 136 first-grade games for Parramatta, but made a brief comeback in 1971, helping the Eels into the semi-finals.

“If there was trouble, you’d look over your shoulder and if Ken was fullback, you’d have no worries.”

Noel Kelly Kangaroo team-mate

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Leeds England First Class Games
1960
1965
1963
1966
132 19 - 2 61
Parramatta Premiership
1962
1971
1968
1971
129 17 - 6 63
Parramatta Touring Sides 1963 1963 1 2 - - 6
Parramatta Official Pre-Season 1964 1968 22 1 - 1 5
Parramatta State Cup 1964 1965 7 - - 1 2

Representative Career

City - Country

City - Country
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
City Firsts Country Firsts 1964 1964 1 - - - -
City Seconds Country Seconds
1963
1965
1967
1963
1965
1967
3 - - - -

State

State
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
New South Wales Interstate Series Queensland 1963 1964 2 - - - -
New South Wales Touring Sides 1967 1967 1 - - - -

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests 1963 1964 12 6 - - 18
Australia Tour Matches 1963 1964 10 1 - - 3

Hall Of Fame Members