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'Thommo' rewinds the clock in Hall of Fame induction speech

The player being inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was the formally named Jeff Thomson, but the one who spoke about it on the dais at the Allan Border Medal was pure "Thommo".

Thomson said at the weekend he was most pleased to be inducted so he could share it with his wife and his sons. He predicted he would be "cutting loose", and did not disappoint.

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Thomson's hilarious Allan Border speech

Legendary fast bowler Jeff Thomson lets fly as he's inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. Warning: strong language.

His speech was not long, but it gave a reminder of the unvarnished sportsman. Some may have damned it as boorish, yet the reaction in the Crown Palladium on Monday night was overwhelmingly positive.

Many in the audience were current players. Thomson made the point he was "lucky" to have played in his era: partly because they did not have to play as often, partly because they did not have the same level of scrutiny as current players. "We flew under the radar," he said.

Thomson thanked his wife Cheryl for her influence on him – and putting up with his "shit" – and reminded current players of how wives and girlfriends were not treated as inclusively as they are now.

"She didn't get all the trips you girls get now. We had to sneak them in . . . they didn't come on the same planes, they used to stay in some shithole down the road [from the team hotel]," he said. "No wonder half of them were divorced!"


He also thanked his 97-year-old mother.

"Christ, I hope I don't last that long!" he quipped. "[I won't], not the way I drink. I'm going to run out of money very shortly [because of that], especially tonight."

Given Thomson has not occupied the media punditry roles of many of his peers since retirement he has instead been a regular high-profile guest on the sportsman-night circuit. That shone through when the 65-year-old made light of how everything shrunk as part of the ageing process. He said a benefit of that was getting some new glasses that magnified his vision.

"I went to the shithouse before – and I was pretty happy with what I had down there!" he said, to the delight of guests at the event. "I've just got to get a pair for my wife."

One of those players in attendance, Shane Watson, hailed the speech, confirming it was the type that he and many of his peers would like to deliver.

"It was awesome. What a legend," Watson said on Thursday.

"It was nice to actually have the shackles off. How he spoke last night is probably how we'd all like to speak at some stage in front of people.

"Jeff Thomson is a legend of Australian and world cricket. Even seeing him get up on stage, he just seemed like a rock star, like Keith Richards – and that's just about how be behaved as well in his speech."

Beyond the laughs, a feature of Thomson's speech was his appreciation of "the ones that don't come in this room tonight", the parents and coaches who took him to matches and helped him when in juniors, but are rarely recognised for that.

"It's for those people," he said.

Thanks for the throwback, Thommo.