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20. Mark Thompson

PROFILE

Mark Thompson joined Essendon from Airport West through the local zoning system. His senior debut was against Sydney at the SCG in 1983 and he played in Essendon’s VFL reserves premiership side that same year.

Thompson developed into a determined and courageous utility player who played a vital part in Essendon’s 1984, 1985 and 1993 premiership sides.

He was Essendon’s most determined player in 1984 and 1986 and was selected for Victoria in 1986 as well. He was named Essendon’s most improved player in 1985 and was also the best clubman that same year.

Thompson won two best and fairest medals, in 1987 and 1990, and named in the AFL Team of the Year in 1990. He later captained the Bombers from 1992 to 1995.

Thompson’s game was marked by his great determination and desire to win making him one of the best back men to play at Essendon.

Chronic hamstring injuries curtailed his career and he retired during 1996 after playing 202 games. Thompson spent the next two seasons on the Essendon coaching staff where he was coach of the reserve team and the assistant to senior coach Kevin Sheedy. He then spent a year at North Melbourne before taking on the senior coaching role at Geelong in 2000.

In 2007 Thompson coached the Cats to their first premiership since 1963. In the intervening years the Cats had played in and lost six Grand Finals. He followed this up with two more Grand Final in 2008 losing against Hawthorn then beating St Kilda the following year.

Thompson retired from Geelong at the end of the 2010 season citing burnout. In November that year Essendon announced that Thompson was returning to Windy Hill as an assistant to new senior coach James Hird.

CAREER STATISTICS

Played 1983-1996
Games 202
Goals 50
Premiership player 1984,1985,1993
Finals games played -17
EFC Captain 1992-95 (69 games)
EFC Vice Captain 1991
EFC Best & Fairest 1987,1990
Top 5 EFC best & fairest finishes 1985-87,90,92-93
Night Premiership appearances - 1984,90,93