“The real winners are those who lose but keep fighting,” Brian ‘Chicka’ Norton – 1986.
The North Sydney club is saddened to report the passing of Brian ‘Chicka’ Norton, 1960-70s front row forward and 1980s coach.
In the mid 1985 season he was appointed Coach of the North Sydney 1st grade team and did much to rebuild the Club’s spirit and in 1986 took the team to the play off for 5th place. One of his catch cries was “The real winners are those who lose but keep fighting.” This particularly North Sydney reaction to his new role is typical of the spirit that Chicka brought to the Bears and rugby League.
Brian (‘Chicka’ to his friends and followers) 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 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 1st grade games.
In a Sydney Morning Herald article by John MacDonald The Bear who makes statistics talk MacDonald give a detailed background of Brian’s aproach.
He was also played in Tamworth and represented NSW Country First representative team in 1967.
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) and his 2 sisters Beverley and Joan.
Being known as being a fearsome, uncompromising front/second rower, who told the Men of League’s Ken Vessey “in his playing days there were too many hard men to single out one player”.
In tribute to Brian, brother Trevor put together the following video documenting what Frank Hyde described as “the greatest front row forward try of all time.”
NSW Country 1sts 1967
North Sydney 1st grade – 1968 to 1970 & 1975 – 47 games – 3t (9pts)
St George 1st grade – 1971 to 1974 – 43 games – 5t (15pts)
The club would like to acknowledge Ken Vessey of the Men of League Foundation for content included in this article.