BRIAN ‘CHICKA’ NORTON
Born 27 December 1944 – Passed Away 22 April 2018
Brian Norton passed away in a Lane Cove nursing home aged 73. A kind, humble and caring man off the field, he was a tough, hard and uncompromising forward on the field. Born in North Sydney, he played with the Crows Nest junior Rugby League club and attended Crows Nest Boys High School. He came into grade with North Sydney in 1962 and played in the minor grades until 1966, when he joined North Tamworth as captain/coach for two seasons.
While at Tamworth, he represented Country Firsts in the 16-12 win over City Firsts at the Old Sports Ground on 3 September 1967. The captain/coach of City that day was 19 year old Bob Fulton. After returning to North Sydney for the 1968 season, Brian finished with 47 first grade games for the Bears in four seasons, 1968 – 1970 and 1975.
He moved to Kogarah in 1971 to play four seasons with the Dragons. At St. George, he played 43 first grade games, including five end of season play-off games in 1972 and 1973. In 1972 he played for the Dragons in the Final at SCG where they were beaten 8-6 in a tight and tryless game by Eastern Suburbs. On 8 May 1971, Brian ran around 80 metres to score a great individual try against the Sharks in the Dragons 24-20 win at the SCG. At the time, Frank Hyde said on radio that it was the best try he had ever seen by a forward. Then on 12 May 1973, again at the SCG, he was part of Rugby League history when he was in the St. George team which was beaten by the Jack Gibson-coached Newtown in the only 1-0 first grade scoreline.
In his younger days, Brian did some pro running and also fought a couple of preliminaries at the old Sydney Stadium at Rushcutters Bay, as a light heavyweight.
In the middle of 1985 , Brian was appointed as North Sydney first grade coach to replace Greg Hawick. He coached the Bears again in 1986 and took them to equal fifth on the ladder but they missed a semi final place when they were beaten in a midweek playoff by Balmain. In 1988 he coached in Darwin for two years and guided the Northern Territory representative team against Papua/NewGuinea in 1988 and South Australia and Western Australia in 1989.
Back in Sydney in the 1990’s, he served as a committee member for both the North Sydney Leagues and Football clubs. One of seven children, Brian had four brothers, Reg, Greg, Trevor and Barry, plus sisters Beverley and Jean. His loving wife Jeannie was by his side in all of his endeavours.
Funeral details will be given when they are known.