GRANT Thomas coached St Kilda in the AFL.
He also led Hampden league club Warrnambool to four flags in the 1980s.
Thomas, who was born in Delegate in New South Wales in 1958, is married to Kessa and has eight children - Claye, Kacey, Tyson, Jordon, Hollie, Ally, Bailey and Jamieson.
He goes Under the Auld Pump with TIM AULD.
Grant, I note with interest you were born in Delegate, New South Wales. What's the background to your birthplace?
Delegate is just over the New South Wales border. My parents Dave and Haze and my two siblings were living in a place called Bendoc in Victoria.
There were no facilities at Bendoc for mum to have a baby, so they travelled across the border.
Dave was the local policeman in Bendoc before getting a transfer down to Frankston, where he was the sergeant of police for many years.
It would have been interesting growing up in Frankston with your father as the sergeant of police. Would that be a fair statement?
My childhood growing up in Frankston was interesting, that's a fair comment.
A few of the lads I had knocked around with had got into trouble with the police, but my siblings and I were taught at a young age what was right and what was wrong.
Our parents taught us discipline and great family values. I would like to think that I've carried them through in my adult life.
Where did you play your junior footy?
I started out playing at Frankston YCW and played school footy with St Bede's.
Frankston YCW was in St Kilda's zone and I joined the Saints at the age of 15.
I played in the under 19s and the seconds with St Kilda. The reserves used to play a curtain-raiser starting at 11am before the senior game, and the under 19s played at the other side's ground at 2pm.
I can still remember playing with St Kilda's reserves team in the curtain-raiser to the senior game. After the reserves game ended, I went out of the ground to catch a taxi to play with St Kilda's under 19 side on the other side of town.
I can still remember when I was 15, 16 and 17 I was training with St Kilda on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and playing school footy with St Bede's on Wednesday, and then was lining up to play with St Kilda on Saturdays in the reserves or under 19s.
I was 20 years old when I made my senior debut with the Saints.
Can you remember your first senior game of VFL-AFL footy with St Kilda?
Yes. I was selected on the bench in 1978. The game was against Geelong out at VFL Park.
Mike Patterson was the senior coach with the Saints.
I was on the bench until the last quarter. I was dropped the next week for Robert Muir.
I ended up getting a regular senior game in 1979.
I suppose my best year at St Kilda was in 1981.
I was selected alongside players like Malcolm Blight, Bruce Doull, Michael Tuck, Bernie Quinlan and Ross Glendinning to represent Victoria in state footy. Tom Hafey was the coach.
It was a great thrill to play state footy for Victoria.
I was sold off by St Kilda as they attempted to balance the books.
I played with North Melbourne for seven games in 1984 and then I went to Fitzroy for the 1985 season.
Who coached you at North Melbourne and Fitzroy?
Barry Cable coached the Kangaroos in 1984 before John Kennedy was to take over for the 1985 season.
It was at the end of the 1984 season when I was told I was not wanted anymore.
Then, in the pre-season of 1985, I got a phone call from Fitzroy's footy manager John Birt and he asked me if I was interested in playing with Fitzroy.
Robert Walls was the coach at the Lions.
I must say that I rate Walls as the best senior coach I played under in my career. Walls was disciplined and well organised into all facets of the game.
I'll never forget when I was playing for Fitzroy in 1985.
We were training at Victoria Park - Collingwood's home ground - and we were told not to train on the ground, so we boarded this old bus and were taken to a ground in Fairfield to train.
The first training drill we were doing I tweaked my knee.
That was the finish of my VFL-AFL career, as I had battled numerous knee injuries previously.
Grant, it's well documented that you were the captain-coach of Warrnambool when it won premierships in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989 and then was knocked out of the finals race in 1990. What led you to play with Warrnambool?
Arthur Wilson was the general manager of football at Fitzroy in 1985 and he told me that Warrnambool was looking for a coach.
My wife Kessa and I knew nothing about Warrnambool but we thought we would go down and have a look around the town.
We met Warrnambool's Bill Toleman and he took us for a grand tour of the city and we loved it.
Kessa and I have nothing but fond memories of our time living in Warrnambool.
I was fortunate to coach them to four premierships and are still great friends with many of the players till this day.
Two months ago, a group of the old premiership players and the old club doctor Mike Page came down for a weekend at Johanna.
It was wonderful to catch up with the boys.
I've got great memories of Pagey. He used to give me cortisone injections into my knees before the games and at half-time.
You coached St Kilda from 2001 to 2006 - in total 123 games at the highest level. For a few years you were heavily involved in different forms of the media, namely television, newspapers and radio but you walked away from those platforms. I note with interest that on social media now you have more than 23,000 followers on Twitter and you follow no-one. How does that all come about?
I'm happy in my own space.
I found that when I worked for various media outlets, they wanted me to filter my comments or thoughts and that never sat kindly with me.
If I was asked my opinion I felt I had to tell the truth, and that's what I do on my social media now.
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