The Coodabeen Champions     Pharaohs of Fate with Julian Ross

8 September 2001

You take for granted the second efforts of modern footballers these days. But then James Hird has raised to high art a third and fourth efforts in the one passage of play. What what about the second effort football career? When you look at blokes that have recreated themselves from reserves midfielder to premiership medal one name sticks out. James Thiessen.

James had the all the attributes for a glittering AFL career. His father was Tony Thiessen who had 7 games with Melbourne in 1963, 13 at Carlton in 1964 and 4 for North during '65. At Brentwood on the cusp of Glen Waverley the young fellow was a speedy winger. Had balance and could keep his feet in a contest. In 1992 it was automatic as a gear change that he would go to Punt Road. Played some decent reserves footy. The Tigers then drafted JT with 1993 mid season pick 2. He wore the number 46 jumper used by Ray Orchard in the late sixties.

Thiessen was 180 centimetres tall. The digital scales stopped at 80 kilograms. The 19 year old kid made his senior debut in 1993. Started on the bench. When he came on he had an impact. Tapped the ball over a Collingwood opponent into the path of Naishy who popped through a full pointer. SOT; Son of Tony made six more appearances in the ones that season. These were punctuated by steady form in the rezzies.

For reasons harder to fathom than a Chinese comic book Richmond dropped Thiessen off their list at the end of '93. Perhaps salary cap pressures. James was determined to have another crack at senior action. Headed over the border to Norwood in the SANFL. Best thing to hit the Parade since Damien Nygaard. The former Tiger played 44 scintillating games before putting himself in the 1997 draft. The Crows selected the J boy with national draft pick 33. He took over the number 29 jumper vacated by Anthony Ingerson. If image changes have prolonged the careers of Madonna and Geri Halliwell they are nothing compared with the makeover of confidence for James Thiessen. It all happened in 1998. For a winger the T man had a refined goal sense. Round 4 versus Geelong at FooPark. Late in the last he ran hard at the ball gathered on the half volley and calmly drove through the major. An Adelaide win 12.15 to 8.13.

The night game against Essendon. Round 12. At a tense moment 20 minutes into the third term Thiessen moving at full bore received a skimming pass from Goodwin without breaking stride. He closed to 55 and kicked at the tall timbers. The goal umpire adopted a question mark posture before raising the dual digits. Crows won a gripping encounter 15.18 to 15.16. James booted a goal from the edge of the centre square in round 14 v. Sydney at the SCG. An Adelaide victory. 18.16 to 12.15.

The 1998 grand final against the Kangaroos. Thiessen played a disciplined game. In the dying moments of the opening stanza a disguised kick around the corner set up a Ricciuto goal. And 2 minutes into the last JT grabbed the ball in the midfield, ran his full measure and under no pressure goaled from 45. This destroyed any hope of a Kangaroo revival. The crowning achievement was Thiessen receiving his premiership medal and with his team mates doing a lap of honour with the cup.

Jamo started 1999 in fine style. Then he suffered an ankle injury. Returned via Norwood but found it harder than ironbark to break back into the Adelaide side. The Crows dropped number 29 off their list at the end of 2000. 50 games for 24 goals.

James Thiessen changed himself to scale the ultimate. mountain.

The Coodabeen Champions     Pharaohs of Fate