Ken Thornett, Australian rugby league player, Died at 77


Ken Thornett was born on November 27, 1937, and died on August 16, 2016.

He was an Australian former rugby league fullback.

Ken represented the Kangaroos in twelve Tests during 1963 and 1964 and on the off-season Kangaroo Tour.

He started his career playing first grade rugby union with Randwick, and was the youngest player ever to be selected to play in a first grade union side.

After switching to rugby league, he played with Leeds for several seasons and played Fullback in Leeds’ 9–19 defeat by Wakefield Trinity in the 1961 Yorkshire Cup final during the 1961–62 season at Odsal Stadium, Bradford on Saturday November 11, 1961.

At first he was expected to sign with South Sydney upon a proposed return to Australia for the 1962 season; however negotiations with the Rabbitohs fell through and he signed with Parramatta.

However, he only played seven games in his first season, six wins and a draw whilst he was playing lifted Parramatta to their first-ever finals position after having taken eight “wooden spoons” and won just 20 percent of their matches between 1952 and 1961.

Thornett had captain-coached Parramatta in 1965 and 1966, but a dispute with the club saw him seek a transfer to Eastern Suburbs, but the blue and golds would not release him from the two years remaining on his contract without a large transfer fee.

Ken Thornett retired at the end of 1968, but returned for one season under Ian Walsh in 1971 and helped Parramatta rise from last to fourth.

Himself and his two brothers were all exemplary sportsmen.

John Thornett was a Wallabies captain who played 37 rugby union Tests for Australia over a distinguished (peacock term) 13-year career from 1955 and Dick Thornett represented Australia at water polo, rugby league and rugby union.

Ken Thornett passed away at 77 years old.