The New South Wales Rugby League would like to send its deepest condolences to the family and friends of former New South Wales, Australian and Parramatta player Ken Thornett, who has passed away aged 78.

Thornett represented New South Wales on three occasions between 1963 and 1967, while having played 130 games for the Eels between 1962 and 1971.

Thornett, honoured by a Parramatta grandstand and Eels annual Players’ Player of the Year award named in his honour, also represented City Firsts and Seconds on four occasions from 1963 to 1967, and Leeds from 1960 to 1966.

NSWRL CEO David Trodden labelled Thornett one of the sport’s finest ever representatives.

“Ken Thornett was a great of the game – and he will be remembered as a legend of our sport,” Trodden said.

“It’s fitting that he was part of the 100 Greatest Players of the Century.”

NSWRL Board member Geoff Gerard said Thornett was a Rugby League great – on and off the field.

“Ken Thornett was the ‘mayor of Parramatta’,” Gerard said.

“I remember going to Cumberland Oval as a 12- and 13-year-old just to watch him.

“He was an awesome player who astounded everyone with his skill and never-say-die attitude.

“I got to know him as a person the past 10 years or so at functions and the like and, more important than that, he was an outstanding person, too.”​