“Chicka” Norton – A real character and All Round Sportsman
When Welfare Officers Norm Pounder, Ken Vessey (Northern Sydney) and Warren Thompson (Sydney Metro) visited Brian “Chicka” Norton (Men of League Member) at the RNS Hospital , where he was receiving treatment for some leg injuries and the conversation in no time at all flowed about past rugby league experiences, great times and friendships.
Chicka was born in North Sydney, attended schooling in the area and was graded with the North Sydney District Rugby League Club, where during 1968-1970 and 1975 he played 47 x 1st grade games. In 1971 he transferred to the strong St.George District Rugby League Club during 1971-1974 and played a total of 43 x 1st grade games. He was also played in Tamworth and represented NSW Country First representative team in 1967.In the mid 1985 season he was appointed Coach of the North Sydney 1st grade team, did much to rebuild the Club’s spirit and in 1986 took the team to the play off for 5th place. After coaching at North Sydney he coached in Darwin before returning to the North Sydney Club, where he gave invaluable service as a Board Member of both North Sydney Leagues Club and the District Rugby League Football Club.
During his sporting career he also participated as a professional runner plus followed his Dad and brother Greg into the pro boxing game and had a few boxing matches as a light heavyweight at the famous “old tin shed” better known as Sydney Stadium at Rushcutters Bay. Brian is very proud of his wife Jeannie, four brothers and their achievements Reg (a singer), Greg (boxing title holder), Trevor (ex drummer with the Bee Gees), Barry (butcher – deceased) and his 2 sisters Beverley and Joan.
Being known as being a fearsome, uncompromising front/second rower, we naturally asked him to name who was the toughest forward he ever played against and with a smile on his face he replied “in his playing days there were too many hard men to single out one player”. However he told us the best rugby league player he ever saw was the speedster Ken Irvine, who was so gifted that he would continually have all spectators on their feet applauding his marvellous feats through his sheer speed and agility.
It was entertaining to listen to Brian talk to Warren about their playing days together at North Sydney and subsequently at St.George plus the games between North Sydney and Manly Warringah when he would lock horns with Norm in the opposition front row. Today he supports St.George/Illawarra in the NRL and spoke highly of the attitude and strategies of their current Coach Paul McGregor.
We presented Brian with a Men of League polo shirt and cap in appreciation of his long term contributions to rugby league both on and off the field and wished him a speedy recovery. Brian was grateful for our visit, gifts and wished the Men of League continued success.