Caption: Some of Syd Norris’s friends and relatives who attended his special day at the Capalaba greyhounds (Photo: Erin Cameron)

 (Each month Chase puts the spotlight on a person and/or their ‘best friend’ – a story that gives an insight into the true heart of greyhound racing. It showcases all that is good in this sport and is a monthly tribute to much-loved greyhound identity Daryl ‘Albert’ Gleeson)


IT IS fitting it was the Capalaba Club that decided to honour veteran dog man Syd Norris, 86, with honorary life membership of the club at a special race meeting in July.

That’s because Syd and his late dad Perc were as familiar at Capalaba as the straight track itself.

Syd and Perc were part of Capalaba racing when the track was over near the local pub, dogs were not kennelled, nor weighed, hurdle racing was part of the spectacle, heats and finals were run on the same day, and the punt was more important than any prizemoney on offer.

Ask Syd Norris about the “goings-on” at Capalaba and he will relate endless stories of characters, betting plunges, some skulduggery and a time when no one was brave enough to leave their dog’s side before it raced.

Syd and Perc knew everyone, because everyone knew them.

Perc would leave Syd to look after the dogs and he would mingle between cars and trainers getting “the info” on what everyone thought of their chances.

He was an expert at it.

He and Syd were an indomitable team and they loved every moment of their greyhound racing-filled lives.

Syd has been fighting health problems for some time, but his memory for all things greyhound racing and rugby league has never wavered.

The Norris clan is best remembered for Queensland greyhound of the year Solar Beach. She was something else.

But Syd could churn out a kennel star – before and after Solar Beach – with the best of them.

Tralee Star was always rated his fastest.

Sagacious Queen was special and she produced brilliant speedster Wild Occasion and Capalaba star Report Card.

Solar Beach’s daughter Beach Bouquet produced NSW St Leger winner Beach Rhythm and Syd’s grand Rusty Ole Reno who won the inaugural running of the Capalaba Straight Track Classic decades ago.

Norris played top grade rugby league and was close friends with many legends of the game including the Immortal Clive Churchill, whom he had attend Capalaba to “work the commission” on one of the Norris-trained runners.

Syd remembers Churchill as a legend in rugby league but the worst commission agent he ever employed.

He also remembers the day he took Churchill to Tweed Heads to work a commission and Clive spent the day signing autographs and forgot to put the money on.

Syd’s rugby league days were spent at Norths, on the Northern Rivers where he was a captain coach, and later at Redcliffe where he spent many years as a selector.

He spent years as a Brisbane selector and fought hard to get a young Souths centre his first start for the Brisbane team. His name … Mal Meninga.

He never missed a Men Of League gathering and he and former teammates would organise their own luncheons regularly.

Capalaba honoured Syd Norris and his family with a special function in July and grandson Rylee Broxham flew in from Mackay for the day.

Rylee’s brother Dan is a steward with QRIC and he too spent the day celebrating his grandfather.

Syd has a litany of greyhound and league yarns. He wrote a monthly and hugely popular memories column for Qld’s Greyhound Journal for seven years.

During that time he was a regular at the premier race days around the state and the Northern Rivers and his fame grew with everyone who met him.

He also served several years on the Queensland greyhound racing hall of fame selection panel, a task he took to heart having seen so many greats and known so many industry stars.

He was especially chuffed that his great mate Reg Kay named a dog Knocka Norris after him and Syd gloated forever that the dog was a sprint star and leading stud dog.

Syd is old school. Tattoos are taboo, a simple life the only way known, memorabilia to be cherished, and mates special.

Greyhound racing and rugby league … where would they be without Syd Norris!