Jim Thiel was still at school in Renmark when he was recruited by Norwood. After moving to Adelaide he lived at Carmel Court, the share home Norwood established for country recruits. He then attended Norwood High School while playing under age football for the club and captained the colts in 1973.
Thiel made his league debut in 1975 and subsequently played an important role in the finals, replacing regular full back Ian Stasinowsky after he had been injured in the second semi-final. As well as playing in a premiership in his first season of league football, he was also adjudged the club's best first year player.
After being recognised as the most improved player in 1976, he suffered a crippling knee injury in a 1977 Ardath Cup match against the Australian Capital Territory. Eventually needing a reconstruction, he only played a handful of games over the next two seasons.
Powerfully built and feared by opponents, he was widely regarded as the best centre half forward in the SANFL at the time of his injury. He played his 100th game in 1981 and was vice-captain in Norwood's 1982 premiership triumph.
Chronic knee injuries forced him into an early retirement at the age of 28.
Jim Thiel died tragically on the 8th September 1986 in a building site accident, when a tunnel where he was doing plumbing work collapsed.
R Cialini Oct 2014