Thomson in 1925
14 March 1895|
Warwick, Queensland, Australia
27 May 1980 (aged 85)|
Auchenflower, Queensland, Australia
|Height||171 cm (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||72 kg (11 st 5 lb)|
Duncan Fulton Thompson MBE (born 14 March 1895 in Warwick, Queensland, died 17 May 1980 in Auchenflower, Queensland) was an Australian rugby league footballer, coach and administrator. He also fought in the First World War, was named amongst the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century, and is regarded as the father of modern coaching.
Club career and wartime
A banker and skillful rugby league halfback, who commenced his club career in Queensland with Ipswich, Thompson first represented for Queensland in 1915. He moved to Sydney in 1916 where he played for Norths before enlisting in the First Australian Imperial Force in 1916 during World War I. He left Sydney in 1917 on HMAS Ayrshire with the 49th Battalion (Queensland) within 13th Brigade of the Australian 4th Division and saw active service in Belgium and France. In April 1918 during the German Spring Offensive he was shot through the chest at Dernancourt on the Ancre River but survived. He was told he would not play sport again and carried a bullet fragment in his body for the rest of his life. He was discharged after demobilisation in January 1919.
After returning to Australia in 1919 Thompson joined the Commonwealth Bank and re-commenced his football career. He made the 1919 tour of New Zealand in the first Australian full Test representative side to cross the Tasman. With the world still recovering from World War I and in the midst of the deadly Spanish flu pandemic, the side could only find passage to New Zealand on a cockroach and rat-infested cargo ship out of Newcastle harbour. Half-way across the Tasman, bites from the ship-bred vermin led to Thompson and "Chook" Fraser falling victim to blood-poisoned legs.
Thompson's brother Colin also played representative rugby league for Queensland in the 1920s.
Thompson won premierships with Norths in 1921 and along with other North Sydney stars in Harold Horder and Cec Blinkhorn he was selected on the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain, playing in all three Tests and twenty-three tour matches, topping 100 points on the overall tour with 49 goals converted. He also took Norths to victory in the 1922 NSWRFL season's final, captaining the side.
Thompson's departure from Sydney was bitter following a suspension on kicking charge which he steadfastly denied. Returning to Queensland, he captained the Toowoomba team in 1924 and 1925, alongside Herb Steinohrt and Tom Gorman. This renowned Toowoomba side beat all comers including Sydney premiers Souths, Brisbane, Ipswich and visiting representative sides, including New South Wales, Victoria, Great Britain and New Zealand. His international representative career closed in 1924 with two Test appearances in the Ashes series against the touring British Lions.
Thompson played in the men's doubles at the 1931 New South Wales Open.
He served again for his country in the AIF in World War II as an amenities officer at Townsville and in Papua New Guinea. He served as an administrator for the Queensland Rugby League and also coached the Toowoomba Clydesdales to six victories in the Bulimba Cup in the 1950s. He was a state and national selector in the 1950s and 1960s.
A Toowoomba champion tennis player and Queensland state tennis representative, Thompson was also a fine golfer and lawn bowler. Thompson died in Brisbane in 1980.
Thompson was an accomplished cricketer and also a Queensland representative tennis player. In 1929 the Duncan Thompson Stand at the North Sydney Oval was named after him. In 1960 Thompson was honoured as a Member (civil) of the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to sport.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame and in August, 2006 was named at halfback in the North Sydney Bears' Team of the Century. In February 2008, Thompson was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia. In June 2008, he was chosen in the Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century on interchange bench. In 2008, rugby league in Australia's centenary year, Thompson was named as half-back and coach of the Toowoomba and South West Team of the Century.
- Century's Top 100 Players
- Leslie, Cameron (21 August 2008). "Rugby League Team of the Century named". http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2008/08/21/team-of-greats-shows-depthof-south-west/. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- "Sydney clubs ready to sign Hall". The Sunday Herald. 21 August 1949. pp. 7. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vl0QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=H5MDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7124,2588293. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
- Pollard, Jack (1965). Gregory's Guide to Rugby League. Australia: Grenville Publishing. p167.
- 2005 Annual Report - Australian Rugby League (p. 50)
- Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame
- Peter Cassidy (23 February 2008). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/02/22/Controversy_reigns_as_NRL_releases_top_100_players. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL & ARL. 23 February 2008. http://www.centenaryofrugbyleague.com.au/site/the-players.aspx?cat=3&list=true. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- Ricketts, Steve (10 June 2008). May 2009 "Locky named No.1 but Wal's still King". The Courier-Mail. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.news.com.au%2Fcouriermail%2Fstory%2F0%2C23739%2C23843448-10389%2C00.html&date=20 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- 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
- Centenary Test Game Day Souvenir Program (2008), News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney
- Pollard, Jack (ed) Gregory's Guide to Rugby League (1965), Grenville Publishing Sydney
- Duncan Thompson at the Online Dictionary of Australian Biographies
- Duncan Thompson stats at rugbyleagueproject.com
- Master Coach Joins Hall Of Fame – article at qrl.com.au
- Duncan Thompson at yesterdayshero.com.au
- Queensland Team of the Century named – article at nz.leagueunlimited.com
- Duncan Thompson at nrlstats.com
- Queensland representatives at qrl.com.au
- Duncan Thompson at cricketarchive.com
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