TelstraAFL Live Pass
Main content

SwansTV

Hall of Fame: Glee for LRT

Luke McManus  February 20, 2018 3:15 PM

HoF: Roberts-Thomson speaks Lewis Roberts-Thomson speaks upon being inducted into the Sydney Swans/South Melbourne Hall of Fame.
Lewis Roberts-Thomson addresses the crowd at Monday night's Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. - Lewis Roberts-Thomson

Lewis Roberts-Thomson addresses the crowd at Monday night's Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

It’s probably a good question to ask (the recruiters) would they have thought I’d be standing here today. I certainly did not think that.

Lewis Roberts-Thomson says he’d be interested to know if the same recruiters who gave him his chance 16 years ago would have ever predicted his incredible rise from a local experiment to Sydney Swans Hall of Famer.

Because he certainly didn’t.

Roberts-Thomson was one of three former players added to the Club’s distinguished honour roll at Monday night’s Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, joining premiership teammate Ryan O’Keefe and triple VFA premiership star Denis McKay.

It is recognition that complements his two premierships and cult hero-like status that the now 34-year-old carried with him for most of his 179-game career.

Standing in front of former and current-day teammates and coaches, plus a throng of passionate supporters, Roberts-Thomson was in disbelief and cast a beholden figure on stage after accepting the distinction.

“It’s a huge honour,” he said at The Star Events Centre.

“It’s probably a good question to ask (the recruiters) would they have thought I’d be standing here today. I certainly did not think that.

“I feel very lucky to have come through the Sydney Swans Football Club. I’ve had so much support.

“And then to be acknowledged amongst some absolute legends who I basically supported, saw as role models (and) saw as heroes. To be counted alongside those I’m forever grateful and so humbled by it.”

Roberts-Thomson was still relatively new to the sport of Australian rules football when he arrived at the Swans via a priority zone selection in the 2001 National Draft, having only first kicked a footy in anger at 14 years of age.

Before he knew it, the game would soon take on a bigger role within his life.

He was selected to tour Ireland with an elite underage AFL squad while training with the state squad involved his dad, Barry, “smuggling” him and soon-to-be teammate Henry Playfair out of the Sydney Shore School’s gates to not let their fellow classmates know they were playing the foreign code.

Necessary for a promising talent who was destined to be a Wallaby, according to former Swans full-back and then state team coach Rod Carter.

“Henry Playfair and I were thick as thieves,” Roberts-Thomson said.

“It was either basketball or rugby at school… we’d duck out and say we’ve got to go to the bathroom and never return and head off to AFL training. That’s how much we enjoyed the game.”

In terms of experience, he’d played far less games of competitive football than who he was about run out alongside or against.

But, as the AFL world saw, the gamble paid off.

Roberts-Thomson became an integral part of two great Sydney Swans outfits – the one led to the drought-breaking premiership of 2005 by Paul Roos and the one who’s success still continues on under the guidance of John Longmire.

He’s one of only four Swans  – alongside O’Keefe, Adam Goodes and Jude Bolton – to be dual premiership players.