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Thompson considering future at Geelong

28/09/2010 05:00:16 PM Comments (0)

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook is concerned about Mark Thompson's welfare as the two-time premiership coach weighs up his AFL future.

Thompson stunned the Cats at a meeting with Cook on Tuesday morning, revealing he was exhausted and might quit with a year left on his contract.

But Thompson was adamant that he had no intention of joining former teammate James Hird at Essendon as the Bombers' director of coaching, as had been reported.

Thompson has until early next week to decide his future, with the Cats saying they needed an answer by the time trade week starts on Tuesday.

"He's very, very tired, very down, quite burnt out, I think," Cook said.

"I was a little bit worried about him, I still am.

"He feels exhausted and wants to reassess his coaching future.

"He has told me the issue isn't whether he goes to Essendon or in fact any other club, but the real issue is rather if he wishes to continue coaching at all."

This was already a massive week for Geelong, with Brownlow medallist to decide by Friday whether to accept a massive offer from the Gold Coast Suns.

There is also a strong sense that the emphatic preliminary final loss to Collingwood marks the end of an era for the Cats, who were in the last three grand finals for two premierships.

Cook would not comment on speculation that Thompson could be suffering from depression, with the Cats boss saying he is not a doctor.

Assistant coach Brenton Sanderson and former Cats assistant Ken Hinkley, now a senior assistant with Gold Coast, would be among the frontrunners to replace Thompson, if he quits.

Hinkley came close last year to winning the Richmond coaching job, which instead went to Damien Hardwick, while Sanderson has been publicly touted by Thompson as ready to take on a senior role.

Sanderson was initially in the running for the Port Adelaide job, which went to Matthew Primus, before pulling out partway through the selection process.

Geelong have advised Thompson to speak to his family and friends before making a decision on his future in the sport.

Cook said the club had seen signs of tiredness in Thompson and there had been initial discussions about the coach taking a three-month sabbatical during the pre-season.

But football manager Neil Balme added that Thompson had given no recent signs of the bombshell he dropped at Tuesday's meeting.

"His behaviour around the club over the past week has been that he's here for next year," Balme said.

"You think all of our people are bulletproof, you don't think they suffer from the normal things.

"It does come as a shock, but ... I believe everything he says, he's not just stacking on an act."

While the Cats do not think Thompson will go back to Essendon, they will not stand in his way if he does.

Cook said Thompson had told him of approaches from old friends at Essendon and some form of contact from the Bombers hierarchy.

"If someone's mind and soul is elsewhere, we have never stood in anyone's way to go to that particular place," Cook said.

"At times, we've actually helped them ... with Mark, whatever decision he makes, we'll support.

"My feeling is if he doesn't coach, he won't go to a club at all.

"If he went to another club, you'd have to support that."

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