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Thomas, Brian William

Preferred Name: Billy
Born: 20 December 1934
Deceased: 8 October 2011
Competition Total Games Total Goals
League 108 220
Other 4 8
Total 112 228

Billy Thomas was one of North’s greatest ever recruits from another club.

He had spent his early years living in North Adelaide and hence was a North supporter but unfortunately for Bill his family moved into the Port Adelaide area and he was residentially tied to that club. Bill played 18 league games for Port but was always competing with Fos Williams, Tommy Williams and later Jeff Potter for roving positions. Thus in Port’s golden era he played in 5 Seconds Premierships.

Luckily for both Billy and North Adelaide, North saw fit to appoint Port’s erstwhile Seconds coach, Jack McCarthy, to coach North’s league side in 1960 and as a bonus Jack brought Billy along with him. The move resulted in immediate success. After finishing the minor round in second place, North met the minor premier Port in the second semi final. In his first ever league final and against his old club Billy was North’s best player and North triumphed by 10 points. Norwood then eliminated Port, ending their streak of six premierships in a row. In an epic struggle North defeated Norwood by 5 points to claim the 1960 premiership. To cap a wonderful first year with the club Billy was awarded the Most Consistent Player trophy and he was North’s leading goalkicker. The doyen of writers, Jeff Pash, wrote that Thomas was almost as important as Don Lindner and Barrie Barbary in the 1960 Premiership team.

Billy never enjoyed the same team success again as a player. He was again the leading goalkicker in 1961 and won the Most Effective Player Trophy. In 1963 he played in the winning first semi final side against West Adelaide but suffered a badly broken nose and missed the subsequent Preliminary final and Grand Final. Given his previous form against his former club the loss of Billy may have cost North another premiership but we will never know. He was North’s leading goalkicker again that year with a total of 46 goals.

Billy continued roving for the club until 1966, the year in which he was granted playing life membership. As he aged his value around the ground may have slightly diminished but he always retained marvellous goal sense as evidenced by the fact that he was equal leading goalkicker in 1964 and leading goalkicker in 1965.

He also retained his famous cheekiness from where his nickname was derived. Legend has it that he could imitate the umpire’s whistle and would make off with the ball whilst the rest of the play had stopped.

Billy was a wonderful team man who played 112 league games and kicked 236 goals for the club. He was only the second player in the SANFL to achieve the feat of playing 100 games in both the Seconds and League. He continued to play important roles with North after his retirement. Billy coached the Reserves in 1968 and then under Mike Patterson Billy was club runner during the halcyon period of the early seventies and in a famous picture of the celebrations of the 1972 Champions of Australia win Billy can be seen in the midst of the celebrations. Billy also served as a selector under Mike Nunan.
 

Games (Select a game to view)

Date Opponent Result Goals
23/04/1960 South Adelaide Won 3
30/04/1960 West Torrens Won 2
07/05/1960 Norwood Lost 0
14/05/1960 Sturt Won 1
21/05/1960 Glenelg Won 4
28/05/1960 Port Adelaide Lost 0
04/06/1960 West Adelaide Won 2
11/06/1960 South Adelaide Won 3
18/06/1960 West Torrens Lost 2
25/06/1960 Sturt Lost 3
09/07/1960 Norwood Won 1
16/07/1960 Glenelg Won 2
30/07/1960 Port Adelaide Won 2
06/08/1960 West Adelaide Won 1
13/08/1960 Norwood Lost 2
20/08/1960 South Adelaide Won 3
27/08/1960 West Torrens Won 1
03/09/1960 Glenelg Won 0
17/09/1960 Port Adelaide Won 1
01/10/1960 Norwood Won 1
08/10/1960 Melbourne Lost 1
28/03/1961 West Torrens Won 1
05/04/1961 West Adelaide Lost 2
25/04/1961 Norwood Won 3
06/05/1961 Sturt Won 2
13/05/1961 West Adelaide Lost 1
20/05/1961 West Torrens Lost 1
27/05/1961 South Adelaide Won 3
03/06/1961 Glenelg Won 3
10/06/1961 Norwood Lost 1
17/06/1961 Port Adelaide Lost 2
24/06/1961 West Torrens Won 1
01/07/1961 West Adelaide Lost 1
08/07/1961 Sturt Won 0
15/07/1961 South Adelaide Won 2
29/07/1961 Glenelg Won 3
05/08/1961 Norwood Won 6
12/08/1961 Port Adelaide Lost 1
19/08/1961 West Adelaide Lost 3
26/08/1961 West Torrens Lost 2
02/09/1961 South Adelaide Won 3
27/03/1962 South Adelaide Won 4
21/04/1962 South Adelaide Won 4
25/04/1962 Sturt Won 0
28/04/1962 West Torrens Lost 2
05/05/1962 West Adelaide Lost 1
12/05/1962 Port Adelaide Lost 0
07/07/1962 Norwood Lost 0
21/07/1962 Glenelg Lost 1
18/08/1962 Sturt Lost 1
13/04/1963 South Adelaide Won 2
20/04/1963 Sturt Won 3
27/04/1963 Glenelg Won 2
04/05/1963 West Adelaide Won 1
11/05/1963 Port Adelaide Won 3
18/05/1963 Norwood Lost 3
25/05/1963 West Torrens Lost 0
08/06/1963 Glenelg Won 1
15/06/1963 West Adelaide Won 3
22/06/1963 South Adelaide Won 3
29/06/1963 West Torrens Draw 3
13/07/1963 Port Adelaide Lost 1
20/07/1963 Sturt Lost 2
27/07/1963 Norwood Won 2
03/08/1963 West Torrens Lost 0
10/08/1963 West Adelaide Lost 0
17/08/1963 Port Adelaide Lost 5
24/08/1963 South Adelaide Won 4
31/08/1963 Glenelg Won 4
07/09/1963 Sturt Won 3
14/09/1963 West Adelaide Won 1
11/04/1964 Woodville Won 1
18/04/1964 West Adelaide Won 2
25/04/1964 Port Adelaide Lost 3
02/05/1964 West Torrens Lost 2
23/05/1964 Glenelg Lost 3
30/05/1964 Sturt Lost 3
13/06/1964 Port Adelaide Lost 2
20/06/1964 West Adelaide Lost 1
04/07/1964 South Adelaide Lost 0
11/07/1964 West Torrens Won 3
18/07/1964 Woodville Won 0
29/08/1964 Port Adelaide Lost 0
24/04/1965 West Adelaide Won 1
01/05/1965 Norwood Lost 0
08/05/1965 Sturt Won 5
15/05/1965 Woodville Won 3
22/05/1965 Port Adelaide Lost 2
29/05/1965 South Adelaide Won 1
05/06/1965 Glenelg Lost 5
12/06/1965 West Adelaide Won 5
19/06/1965 West Torrens Won 4
26/06/1965 Norwood Lost 4
03/07/1965 Woodville Won 4
17/07/1965 Central District Lost 3
24/07/1965 West Torrens Won 4
31/07/1965 Sturt Lost 3
07/08/1965 West Adelaide Won 3
14/08/1965 Glenelg Won 5
21/08/1965 Port Adelaide Won 0
28/08/1965 West Torrens Won 4
04/09/1965 South Adelaide Lost 1
16/04/1966 Central District Lost 1
23/04/1966 Glenelg Won 5
30/04/1966 Woodville Won 0
07/05/1966 West Adelaide Won 0
16/07/1966 Glenelg Won 1
23/07/1966 West Torrens Won 0
30/07/1966 Norwood Won 2
06/08/1966 South Adelaide Lost 4
13/08/1966 Sturt Lost 2
03/09/1966 West Torrens Lost 1

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