Mark Thompson (footballer)

Mark Thompson (footballer)
Mark Thompson
Personal information
Full name Mark Thompson
Nickname(s) Bomber
Date of birth 19 November 1963 (1963-11-19) (age 48)
Place of birth Victoria, Australia
Original team Airport West (EDFL)
Height/Weight 177cm / 87 kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983–1996 Essendon 202 (50)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria (coach)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2000–2010 Geelong 260 (161–96–3)
1 Playing statistics to end of 1996 season .
2 State and International statistics correct as of 2010.
Career highlights

Mark "Bomber" Thompson (born 19 November 1963) is a former Australian rules footballer and coach. He played 202 games for the Essendon Football Club between 1983 and 1996, captaining the side from 1992 until 1995. After retiring, he was an assistant coach at Essendon and an assistant coach at Kangaroos , and later went on to become the senior coach of the Geelong Football Club from 2000–2010 coaching them to two Premierships. 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.


VFL/AFL playing career

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.

AFL coaching career

Geelong Cats (2000–2010)


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.[1] Following a Round 22 61 point demolition at the hands of lower-placed Hawthorn, Thompson's job was under immense pressure.[2]


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 sacking of former mentor, Kevin Sheedy, there was speculation that Mark Thompson would take up the senior coaching role at the Essendon Football Club 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).[3]


In 2009 following a heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn in the 2008 Premiership decider, Geelong compiled a 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 Geelongs 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 "bombed out" after a decade at the helm.[citation needed]

Essendon (2010–present)

On 10 November 2010, Thompson signed as assistant coach of Essendon, putting an end to weeks of speculation following his resignation from Geelong.[4]


Coaching statistics

Statistics are correct as of 31 May 2010 (Round 10, 2010 season).[5]
Season Team Games coached Wins Losses Draws Win %
2000 Geelong 23 12 10 1 52.2%
2001 22 9 13 0 40.9%
2002 22 11 11 0 50.0%
2003 22 7 14 1 31.8%
2004 25 16 9 0 64.0%
2005 24 13 11 0 54.2%
2006 22 10 11 1 45.5%
2007 25 21 4 0 84.0%
2008 25 23 2 0 92.0%
2009 25 21 4 0 84.0%
2010 25 18 7 0 72.0%
Career totals 260 161 96 3 62.5%


Playing honours

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1985 1
1986 6
1987 4
1989 3
1990 3
1992 1
1993 5
Total 23
Green / Bold = Won
* = joint winner
Red / Italics = Ineligible


  • VFL Premiership (Essendon): 1984, 1985,
  • AFL Premiership (Essendon): 1993 (captain)
  • AFL pre-season premiership (Essendon): 1984, 1993 (captain)


  • Essendon Football Club:
    • Member of the Essendon F.C. Team of the Century
    • Member of the Champions of Essendon list (20th place)
    • W. S. Crichton Medal: 1987, 1990
    • Essendon F.C. captain: 1992–1995
    • Essendon F.C. Most Determined Player Award: 1984, 1986
    • Essendon F.C. Best Clubman Award: 1985
    • Essendon F.C. Most Improved Player Award: 1985

Coaching honours


  • AFL Premiership (Geelong): 2007, 2009
  • AFL McClelland Trophy (Geelong): 2007, 2008
  • AFL NAB Cup (Geelong): 2006, 2009


  • AFL:
    • Jock McHale Medal: 2007, 2009
    • AFL Coaches Association Coach of the Year Award: 2007, 2008


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tim Watson
Essendon Football Club captain
Succeeded by
Gary O'Donnell
Preceded by
Gary Ayres
Geelong Football Club coach
Succeeded by
Chris Scott
Preceded by
Glenn Hawker
Tim Watson
W.S. Crichton Medal
Succeeded by
Tim Watson
Alan Ezard
Preceded by
John Worsfold
Alastair Clarkson
Jock McHale Medal
Succeeded by
Alastair Clarkson
Mick Malthouse

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