Leeds Rhinos: One of Leeds’ finest full-backs Ken Thornett dies, aged 77

Ken Thornett, a member of Leeds Rugby League's 1960-61 Championship-winning team.
Ken Thornett, a member of Leeds Rugby League's 1960-61 Championship-winning team.
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One of the finest full-backs to play for Leeds, Australian Ken Thornett, has died, aged 77, the club have announced.

Thornett joined Leeds in 1960 and went on to play 131 times during two spells in blue and amber, scoring 19 tries and two goals.

His finest hour came in 1961 when he was a member of the first Leeds team to win the Championship, beating Warrington in the final at Odsal.

Back in Australia, Thornett made 136 appearances for Parramatta – where a grandstand was named in his honour – and earned 12 Test caps for the Kangaroos.

Derek Hallas, who played alongside Thornett in the 1961 triumph, described him as “one of the best full-backs to ever play for Australia and Leeds”.

He told the Rhinos website: “He had a nickname of bucket as he never dropped the ball.”

Hallas added: “From the day he joined Leeds we became good friends and I even went to play alongside him again at Parramatta.

“We have always remained in touch and we spoke on the phone once a month.

“It’s hard to come up with words adequate enough to describe just how good a player he was, he was phenomenal.

“He made history at the club as part of the first Championship-winning side and he will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.”

Luke Gale.

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