|Grant “PotShot” Thomas|
|Date of birth||14 February 1948|
|Original team(s)||Frankston YCW|
|1978–1983||St Kilda||72 (21)|
|1984||North Melbourne||7 (1)|
|2001–2006||St Kilda||123 (63–59–1)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1985.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Grant Thomas (born 14 February 1958) is a former Australian rules football player and coach. He most recently held the position of coach of the St Kilda Football Club from 2001–2006. He attended St Bede's College in Mentone.
Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called Aussie rules, football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of eighteen players on an oval-shaped field, often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the oval-shaped ball between goal posts or between behind posts.
St Bede's College is an independent Catholic secondary school for boys, in Mentone, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia
Mentone is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Kingston. At the 2016 census, Mentone had a population of 12,965.
Thomas began his career at the St Kilda Football Club in the VFL, debuting in 1978. He took a long time to break into the side as a regular senior player, but settled in as a centre half-back. He played 72 games for the Saints between 1978 and 1983 before briefly moving to North Melbourne in 1984, and finishing his career at Fitzroy in 1985.
The St Kilda Football Club, nicknamed the Saints, is an Australian rules football club based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The club plays in the Australian Football League, the sport's premier league.
The Fitzroy Football Club, nicknamed the Lions or the Roys, is an Australian rules football club formed in 1883 to represent the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, Victoria and was a foundation member club of the Victorian Football League on its inception in 1897. The club experienced some early success in the league and was the first club to win a VFL Grand Final. It also achieved a total of eight VFL premierships between 1898 and 1944, and more recently three VAFA promotions in 2009, 2012 and 2018 . The club ran into financial difficulties in the 1980s after decades of poor on-field performance and was forced to merge its AFL playing operations with the Brisbane Bears at the end of the 1996 season to form the Brisbane Lions.
Following his retirement from the VFL at the end of 1985, in 1986 he moved to become the playing coach of Warrnambool in the Hampden Football League. He won four premierships with the club in just five seasons until 1990.
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After his retirement from playing, Thomas coached Old Xaverians in the VAFA in 1992 and was the chairman of selectors at the North Melbourne Football Club in 1993 under Denis Pagan.
The North Melbourne Football Club, nicknamed the Kangaroos or less formally the Roos, the Kangas or North, is the fourth oldest Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League (AFL) and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Australia and the world. It is based at the Arden Street Oval in the inner Melbourne suburb of North Melbourne, Victoria, but plays its home matches at the nearby Docklands Stadium.
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With his experience in the business world, Thomas took a new philosophy to the St Kilda Football Club when he was appointed caretaker coach of the club in 2001 after the controversial mid-season sacking of Malcolm Blight. Thomas was then appointed as full-time coach.
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Thomas had a focus on 'man-management' in his coaching style, as well as conducting practices on the running of the club that are common in the business world. This new style of coaching was characterised by Thomas's occasional use of jargon such as "processes" and "outcomes" – although they are now terms almost universally used by all coaches.
Thomas coached St Kilda to consecutive preliminary finals in 2004 and 2005 plus a Wizard Cup premiership in 2004.
While he initially came under fire for refusing to use the 'flood', Thomas slowly started to integrate the defensive style into his match-day approach with improved results. Despite the criticism, Thomas maintained an impressive win-loss record against some of league's most highly rated coaches, including Malthouse, Pagan, Eade, Matthews, Wallace and Craig.
Thomas once said in an interview about the St Kilda Football Club: "This club is what I'm about."
Thomas is only one of three coaches to coach St Kilda to three straight finals series. The others being Ross Lyon and Allan Jeans, St Kilda's 1966 premiership coach.
After many injuries during the 2006 season, St Kilda finished sixth after the home and away season but were beaten in the elimination final by Melbourne. Injuries to Fraser Gehrig, Robert Harvey, Justin Koschitzke, Raphael Clarke and Xavier Clarke during the game, as well as the underdone Aaron Hamill and Max Hudghton, led to the Saints exiting the finals after leading for most of the match but being unable to run the game out. They finished the season in eighth position, which was not considered good enough by the club's president, Rod Butterss.
On 12 September 2006 it was announced that Thomas would no longer coach the club as a 'mutual' agreement. Thomas, however, maintained that the club had asked him to leave by sacking him and while he had accepted, it was not completely mutual. The decision was a shock to the football world considering that Thomas was only the second coach to lead the Saints to three consecutive finals series. It is not known why he was sacked, but many factors include the controversial match against Fremantle in Round 5, 2006 in which the Saints were stripped of two points following a hearing the following Wednesday, which ultimately cost them a top-four spot and the double chance, the long-term injuries to Justin Koschitzke, Aaron Hamill and Fergus Watts and starting the season with two interstate trips in four weeks.
Thomas has shown no interest in ever coaching another AFL club.
In 2007, Thomas was hired as a columnist for The Age and his columns appeared every Sunday until he was sacked on 19 July 2008 after an argument with the chief of football, Caroline Wilson, because Thomas had accused Wilson of being a liar on radio station SEN 1116. This led to Thomas losing his job at the paper.He then joined Melbourne sports station SEN 1116 as an expert commentator, until he was sacked by SEN on Monday 11 May 2009. The AFL denied that they played any part in the decision. Until 2012, he was also a weekly panellist on Footy Classified , alongside Wilson, Garry Lyon and Craig Hutchison.
In Feb 2018, Thomas founded and launched the podcast "Sam, Mike & Thomo". Together with media personality Sam Newman and decorated media journalist and TV personality Mike Sheehan, Thomas releases a weekly podcast on a wide range of global and domestic topics and current events, with a sprinkling of AFL sport comments and opinions.
Thomas has 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. Thomas has been married to Kerry Thomas since 1984. His son Tyson played senior football for the Northern Blues in the VFL.
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