Dick Thornett, who represented Australia in three sports, has died aged 71.
The youngest of three brothers in one of Australia’s greatest sporting families, Thornett was labelled a “truly inspirational sporting star” by Australian Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr.
He was one of only five Australians to have represented their country in three sports – having been in the water polo team at the 1960 Rome Olympics before turning his hand to rugby union beside brother John.
After a short yet very successful career in the 15-man game, Dick made the switch to rugby league in 1963, where he joined other brother Ken at Parramatta.
Thornett played for the Eels until the early 1970’s and represented NSW on 13 occasions while playing in 11 Tests for Australia.
Carr paid tribute to Thornett and his great influence on the game.
“Dick was a masterful sportsman and this was clearly evident in his ability to adapt and excel at any sport that he chose to embrace,” Carr said.
“From a sporting family unlike any other, Dick was lucky enough to have played with both of his brothers at the elite level in two different sports and this is something that he was very proud of.”
His death comes just a week before he and his brothers were due to be honoured at a tribute dinner at the SCG.