Edward George Thompson
- 265Wallaby Number
Ted Thompson was a powerful loose-head prop forward who holds the rare distinction of never having played in a losing Test side. Born at Dalby in Queensland’s Darling Downs region, Thompson was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School where he came to the attention of legendary coach ‘King’ Renwick. Asked about his footballing experience Thompson told Renwick he was a fullback. Renwick picked him as custodian against Nudgee College however that one match was sufficient for the coach to place the youngster in the forwards where he stayed for the remainder of his playing career.
After school Thompson had little option but to play rugby league given the QRU had not yet reformed after it disbanded in 1914. He showed firstly with Coorparoo before a move to Past Grammars from where he represented Brisbane against North Coast in 1925. When rugby union resumed in 1929 Thompson switched from league to play with the YMCA club. Thompson impressed with his early season performances and as a result was chosen for his state debut against New South Wales.
He was ‘reputed to be the best of the [Maroons] pack’ and became a near-permanent fixture in the front row alongside hooker Eddie Bonis. The Thompson / Bonis pair quickly perfected a unique and somewhat controversial hooking style where Bonis placed his foot across the scrum to block his opposing hooker’s foot and prevent him from striking for the ball while Thompson then raked the ball back himself. Thompson’s performances in the two matches against New South Wales earned him a Test debut against New Zealand in Sydney. In that series the Australian scrum, which packed in a 3-2-3 formation, dominated an All Black side that retained their traditional two hooker, 2-3-2 scrum plus a rover / wing forward.
In recognition of the Australian scrum’s superiority, the selectors were able to retain the same starting tight five in all three Tests and that decision played a big part in a memorable 3-0 series victory. The season concluded with Thompson firmly established as one of Australia’s first- choice players. Unfortunately injury and then the Depression combined to shorten his rugby career. In 1931 Thompson, as the new Queensland captain in Tom Lawton’s absence, was told at the New Zealand tour trials that he would be named vice-captain for the Wallaby tour.
Sadly the big New South Wales No.8 Tom Perrin trod on Thompson’s hand. X-rays revealed a bad break and Thompson missed the tour. The following year, and with a plum tour to South Africa not that far away, Thompson was given a tough ultimatum by the bank for whom he worked - choose between football and a career. With the Depression firmly entrenched it was no surprise that Thompson chose to retire from representative rugby. Ted Thompson played four Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Thompson won his first Test cap at prop in the 1st Test, 9-8 defeat of New Zealand at the S.C.G. The front-row trio of Thompson, Bonis and ‘Wild Bill’ Cerutti started each of the final two Tests of that series.
Thompson, Bonis, and Cerutti packed in the front-row for the one-off Test, 6-5 victory over the British Lions in Sydney.