THOMPSON STAYING PUT
By Mark Heenan Besieged Geelong Football Club Coach Mark 'Bomber' Thompson has denied recent newspaper speculation he is about to resign at seasons end. Desperate to register a win over cellar dwellers Essendon at Telstra Dome on Friday night, Thompson contracted til 2007 at Skilled Stadium says he is confident he will coach on next year. Jump to Match Preview and Team List including VFL team
Geelong president Frank Costa said Thompsons contract would be reviewed at the end of 2006, despite reports Thompson had told friends he would leave on his own terms if the club had not improved.
Geelong has only one win from its last six matches. Thompson, 42, is Geelongs second longest serving coach behind club great Reg Hickeys record of 304 VFL games and is in his seventh year with the Cats.
Im pretty sure I will be here next year, Thompson said. "The board has got to sit down at the end of the year, but I think I'm likely to be here. I think more than likely Ill be here (next year). Of course I like to be here.
Meanwhile, Thompson conceded Geelong is capable of making the eight despite its dismal 3-7 record and away trips to Adelaide and Fremantle in round 12 and 13. Yeah its a big important game, it just keeps us alive basically, (this match) gives us a better chance to make the finals, Thompson said. "After playing last week, the good form for a half you would like to carry on and eventually go the next week and win the game.
Skipper Steven King will be sidelined with a calf, while Tom Harley (shoulder) wont be available after the mid-season break as the versatile Cameron Mooney is likely to carry extra responsibility.
Thompson confirmed Brad Ottens would start in the Ruck on Friday night, while flamboyant midfielder David Wojcinski and Matt McCarthy are pushing hard for selection after strong performances in the VFL.
Struggling forward Kent Kingsley is not likely to play this week.
You get fooled a bit by the form in the VFL, at times, guys go back and kick six goals (Matt McCarthy did) there and are put back (to the AFL) and come out and dont get a kick, he said. Youve got to be careful about that, the gap is getting bigger.
Geelong has won three of its last four encounters against Essendon by an average margin of 29 points.
Thompson said he had been impressed with the players attitude despite the recent form slump. Were going all right (and mentally coping), he said. We had huge expectations (at the start of the year), the players are fired up and I think are coaches certainly are. Everybody is working just as hard and just as well as weve ever worked and thats the big challenge were (trying to) achieve at the moment.
AFL ROUND 11
GEELONG COACH MARK THOMPSON