30 September 1933
Place of birth
Cobden, VIC (3266)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 16y 246d
Last game: 26y 255d
Height and weight
Height: 168 cm
Weight: 62 kg
Collingwood: 35, 17, 16
State of origin
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Emphatically belying the fact that he looked rather more like an underfed schoolboy than a league footballer, Collingwood rover and wingman Thorold Merrett amassed 180 VFL games, seven interstate appearances for the VFL, and two Copeland Trophies between 1950 and 1960. What the mere statistics do not reveal, however, is the verve, aggression, courage, determination and, above all, consummate skill with which those achievements were laced.
Aged just 16, Merrett made his Collingwood debut in 1950 against Footscray, and a couple of years later made the first of his Big V appearances. Standing just 168 cm tall, and weighing barely 62 kg, he was the smallest player on the field in virtually every game he played, and this, combined with his fearless attitude, made him extraordinarily susceptible to injury. Nevertheless, he knew no other way to play the game than with dynamic, wholehearted zeal and aggression, and there was a sense in which, during the 1950s, he personified the Collingwood spirit better than any other player.
Renowned for his copybook kicking style, which was almost unfailingly accurate, Merrett was alleged to have spent hours as a youngster repeatedly stab passing a ball through an old car tire from various distances. Such perfectionism was evidenced in other facets of his play, even down to the impeccable way in which he was always turned out.
A member of five Magpie grand final teams, the undoubted highlights of Merrett's career came in 1953 and 1958 when he helped his side to Grand Final victories over Geelong and Melbourne respectively. Listed high in the best players after the 1953 game, he was a widespread choice as best afield after a typically energetic and scintillating performance five years later.
In 1960, aged 27, injury brought Merrett's career to an end after he broke his leg for the second time and it failed to knit cleanly. Thorold Merrett was selected on a wing in Collingwood's official 'Team of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney