Thompson hopeful of staying at Essendon

Essendon caretaker coach Mark Thompson is hopeful he will stay at the AFL club, tipping an announcement could potentially be made as early as this week.


Thompson’s future has been up in the air since he handed over the reins to James Hird at the end of the Bombers’ 2014 campaign.

The two-time premiership coach is off contract, but said on Monday night he’d started discussions with the club about an unspecified role.

“Possibly,” Thompson said on Fox Footy when asked if his new post could be announced this week.

“But maybe not. We haven’t sorted out the role yet.

“I do want to do something, but it’s probably not being an assistant coach. I’ve done that, been there and got out of it. Not going back.

“We’ve got to work it out, which we’ve started the process.”

Thompson made a shock departure from Geelong at the end of the 2010 season, signing up with the Bombers to act as Hird’s mentor.

When Hird was banned from coaching in 2014 as part of the Bombers’ punishments for their supplements scandal, Thompson took on the job.

When asked if Thompson’s new position would be above Hird, Thompson responded with trademark wit.

“Side by side with the CEO,” Thompson joked, tongue firmly in cheek, before explaining what he had in mind.

“There’s a few things we have to still fix up, the development stuff is really important … how you get the players there in the first place. How to coach the coaches.”

Thompson suggested he had not been contacted by any other clubs to assess his interest in jumping ship.

The future of Paddy Ryder, who is being wooed by a number of rivals after his discontent over the Bombers’ supplements scandal was made public earlier this month, remains up in the air.

“I don’t know the whole issue, but there’s obviously something Paddy has on his mind,” Thompson said.

“If we can resolve that, hopefully he will stay.”

Should Ryder leave Essendon, the talented ruck-forward is likely to execute a get-out clause in his contract on the basis the club failed in its duty of care.

It is understood a number of Ryder’s teammates have also been headhunted, clubs wanting to use the same clause to sign up content players.

“I wasn’t that happy (to hear that),” Thompson said of rivals’ desire to use the clause to bolster their squads.

“I don’t think it’s anything I would do, but I’m probably a bit old fashioned. I don’t like the fact free agency is here.”