Mark Thompson (footballer)

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Mark Thompson
Personal information
Full name Mark Thompson
Nickname(s) Bomber
Date of birth (1963-11-19) 19 November 1963 (age 50)
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Original team Airport West (EDFL)
Height/Weight 177 cm / 87 kg
Position(s) Defender
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983–1996 Essendon 202 (50)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1986 Victoria 1 (0)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2000–2010
2014
Total
Geelong
Essendon
260 (161–96–3)
23 (12-10-1)
283 (173–106–4)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1996 season.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2014.
Career highlights

Mark Thompson (born 19 November 1963), also known as "Bomber Thompson", is the senior coach of the Essendon Football Club for the 2014 season while James Hird serves his suspension.[1] He is a former Australian rules footballer and senior coach. He played 202 games for the Essendon Football Club from 1983 to 1996, captaining the side from 1992 until 1995. After retiring, he was an assistant coach at Essendon and then at North Melbourne before becoming the senior coach of the Geelong Football Club from 2000–2010 and coaching them to two premierships. In November 2010, Thompson returned to the Essendon Football Club as the senior assistant coach and on 10 October 2013, he was appointed the senior coach for the 2014 season.[1][2]

Playing career[edit]

Thompson played most of his football in the backline, gaining a reputation as a fierce competitor. He won the club award for "most determined player" in 1984 and 1986, "Most Improved Player" and "Best Clubman" in 1985, and best-and-fairest awards in 1987 and 1990. He also finished in the top five in the best-and-fairest on four other occasions. Thompson played in the 1984 and 1985 premiership sides, and captained the 1993 premiership team. In 2002, Thompson's contribution to the club was recognised when he was voted the 20th best Essendon player of all time in the "Champions of Essendon" list.

Coaching career[edit]

Geelong (2000–2010)[edit]

As Geelong coach, Thompson was given an extended time to rebuild the club's playing list. The side finished 5th in 2000 as his first season as coach but was bundled out by 8th placed Hawthorn in the first week of the finals in the first finals match ever held at the Docklands Stadium. The club performed poorly for the next three seasons, missing the top 8. Thompson's position looked in danger, but in 2004 the side was a big improver, finishing fourth and making the Preliminary Finals, and the following year (2005) the club finished sixth and was beaten in the Semi Finals by 3 points against the eventual premiers Sydney after leading for the majority of the match. Thompson went on in 2007 to win the AFL Premiership against Port Adelaide by a massive 119 points. Following an unexpected loss to Hawthorn in 2008, Thompson coached Geelong to its second Premiership in three years in 2009.

Due to his success in reinvigorating the club, Thompson's contract was extended until 2007 in late 2004. In 2006, however, the side eventually missed the finals after winning the NAB Cup and winning their first two matches in convincing style, leading them into flag favouritism. It was also a season where Thompson had used the 2005 semi-final loss to the Swans as motivation.[3] Following a Round 22 61 point demolition at the hands of lower-placed Hawthorn, Thompson's job was under immense pressure.[4]

After a very public review of the club it was decided that Thompson should keep his job as coach. After a shaky start to the season that led many supporters to believe that nothing had changed from the 2006 season Thompson led his team to a massive 15 match winning streak (the biggest in a single season in club history) and a 106 point demolition of the Kangaroos in the Qualifying Final which is the 5th biggest finals winning margin in AFL/VFL history.

After the Essendon Football Club decided not to give Thompson's former mentor, Kevin Sheedy, a renewal of contract, there was speculation that Mark Thompson would take up the senior coaching role at Essendon for the 2008 season. However, with trade week quickly approaching, the club instead appointed Matthew Knights to the position.

2007 also marked one of the biggest, if not the best highlight of Thompson's career, in both a coaching and footballer's role. Thompson coached Geelong to win the AFL premiership by more than 100 points – the highest winning margin in Grand Final history, against Port Adelaide Football Club at the MCG on 29 September. It was the club's first premiership since 1963, the year of Thompson's birth.

After their record breaking win in the grand final, Thompson's Cats were red hot favourite to repeat their 2007 success and their form during the year did nothing to change that. The Cats went 21–1 to claim the McClelland Trophy four games ahead of their nearest challenger, Hawthorn. After relatively easy wins against St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in the finals, Geelong were into their second straight grand final, this time against Hawthorn, and were again hot favourites. In an upset, though, the Hawks beat Geelong by 26 points in front of 100,012 fans.

During an end-of-season holiday to New York that year, Thompson ran into Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy whilst inside a hotel. They were said to have drowned their sorrows following their respective Grand Final losses (Bellamy's Melbourne Storm lost the 2008 NRL Grand Final to Manly).[5]

In 2009 following a heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn in the 2008 Premiership decider, Geelong compiled an 18–4 record during the minor round and disposed of the Western Bulldogs and then Collingwood during the finals series. On 26 September, his Cats faced a St Kilda side determined to break its 43 year Premiership drought. In front of 99,251 fans on a rain-soaked MCG deck the Cats clawed their way back after trailing at every break to win by 12 points. This would be Geelong's second flag in three years cementing their place as one of the great teams of the modern era. Thompson as always was magnanimous in victory and accepted the AFL Premiership trophy alongside Geelong legend Bob Davis.

After Geelong were eliminated from the preliminary finals to Collingwood, at the conclusion of the 2010 season, on 4 October 2010, Thompson announced his retirement and resignation as Geelong coach effective immediately, his reason being that he was "tired of coaching" after a decade at the helm.[6]

Essendon (2010–current)[edit]

On 10 November 2010, Thompson signed a lucrative contract to be the senior assistant coach of Essendon, putting an end to weeks of speculation following his resignation from Geelong.[2][7] According to football writer and commentator Caroline Wilson's sources his contract is said to be worth $650,000 per year.[8] He was appointed the senior coach for the 2014 season while James Hird serves his suspension.[1]

2013 supplements controversy[edit]

Following months of rumours and investigations, on 13 August 2013, Thompson, along with the Essendon Football Club, senior coach James Hird, football manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid, was charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute in relation to the supplements program at the club in 2011 and 2012. The club was given 14 days to consider the charges and faced an AFL Commission hearing on 26 August 2013.[9][10] On 27 August 2013, Thompson was fined $30,000 for his role in the supplements saga.[11]

Statistics[edit]

Playing statistics[edit]

[12]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Denotes seasons in which Thompson won an AFL Premiership
Led the league for the Season only*
Led the league after finals only*
Led the league after Season and Finals*

*10 games required to be eligible.

Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1983 Essendon 26 2 1 0 22 10 32 3 0.5 0.0 11.0 5.0 16.0 1.5
1984 Essendon 26 20 4 3 203 143 346 60 0.2 0.2 10.2 7.2 17.3 3.0
1985 Essendon 26 23 5 5 261 188 449 71 0.2 0.2 11.3 8.2 19.5 3.1
1986 Essendon 26 22 2 3 247 192 439 93 0.1 0.1 11.2 8.7 20.0 4.2
1987 Essendon 26 18 16 9 217 131 348 75 32 0.9 0.5 12.1 7.3 19.3 4.2 1.8
1988 Essendon 26 0
1989 Essendon 26 10 0 1 134 76 210 40 10 0.0 0.1 13.4 7.6 21.0 4.0 1.0
1990 Essendon 26 24 7 8 321 198 519 114 28 0.3 0.3 13.4 8.3 21.6 4.8 1.2
1991 Essendon 26 9 6 3 106 58 164 35 9 0.7 0.3 11.8 6.4 18.2 3.9 1.0
1992 Essendon 26 21 5 2 300 169 469 81 22 0.2 0.1 14.3 8.0 22.3 3.9 1.0
1993 Essendon 26 21 2 0 330 180 510 91 25 0.1 0.0 15.7 8.6 24.3 4.3 1.2
1994 Essendon 26 13 1 1 140 84 224 51 19 0.1 0.1 10.8 6.5 17.2 3.9 1.5
1995 Essendon 26 11 0 2 99 65 164 32 10 0.0 0.2 9.0 5.9 14.9 2.9 0.9
1996 Essendon 26 8 1 1 84 42 126 37 12 0.1 0.1 10.5 5.3 15.8 4.6 1.5
Career 202 50 38 2464 1536 4000 783 167 0.2 0.2 12.2 7.6 19.8 3.9 1.2

Coaching statistics[edit]

[13]
Denotes seasons in which Thompson won an AFL Premiership
Season Team Games Coached Wins Losses Draws Points % Ladder Position League Teams
2000 Geelong 23 12 10 1 54.3% 5 16
2001 Geelong 22 9 13 0 40.9% 12 16
2002 Geelong 22 11 11 0 50.0% 9 16
2003 Geelong 22 7 14 1 34.1% 12 16
2004 Geelong 25 16 9 0 64.0% 4 16
2005 Geelong 24 13 11 0 54.2% 5 16
2006 Geelong 22 10 11 1 47.7% 10 16
2007 Geelong 25 21 4 0 84.0% 1 16
2008 Geelong 25 23 2 0 92.0% 1 16
2009 Geelong 25 21 4 0 84.0% 2 16
2010 Geelong 25 18 7 0 72.0% 2 16
2014 Essendon 23 12 10 1 54.3% 7 18
Career totals 283 173 106 4 61.84% 5.83 16.17

Honours and achievements[edit]

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1983
1984
1985 1
1986 6
1987 4
1988
1989 3
1990 3
1991
1992 1
1993 5
1994
1995
1996
Total 23
Key:
Green / Bold = Won
* = joint winner
Red / Italics = Ineligible

Playing Honours[edit]

Team

Individual

Coaching Honours[edit]

Team

Individual:

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tim Watson
Essendon Football Club captain
1992–1995
Succeeded by
Gary O'Donnell
Preceded by
Gary Ayres
Geelong Football Club coach
2000–2010
Succeeded by
Chris Scott
Awards
Preceded by
Glenn Hawker
Tim Watson
W.S. Crichton Medal
1987
1990
Succeeded by
Tim Watson
Alan Ezard
Preceded by
John Worsfold
Alastair Clarkson
Jock McHale Medal
2007
2009
Succeeded by
Alastair Clarkson
Mick Malthouse