Hird needs a hand early on: Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird needs a hand early on: Thompson

Greg Buckle 07/12/2010 08:22:07 PM Comments (0)

It's clear to the football world that Mark Thompson is going to bring more to the table than your average assistant coach at Essendon next year.

Fresh from an 11-year stint at Geelong that included the 2007 and 2009 premierships, and looking relaxed following a recent holiday in the United States, Thompson has plenty of ideas to help lift the club he once captained back into finals contention.

Thompson said on Tuesday it was important his 1993 Essendon premiership team-mate James Hird had a former senior coach like himself beside him for the 2011 AFL season.

"After you finally do make up your mind (to quit Geelong) and then James got the job ... obviously you need someone around him who has been through the experience of being a senior coach," Thompson said.

"It's great for the football club that they have someone who is experienced to help him on his way, because he is going to need a little bit of help.

"There'll be a time when Mark Thompson is not needed. James is going to be able to do it on his own.

"I'm quite confident that he'll be a great coach."

Hird tried to make the point Thompson would not be more senior than anyone else on his panel of assistant coaches.

This seems unlikely, however, given Thompson's experience and Hird's enthusiasm for giving his former skipper the freedom to develop long-range strategies to rejuvenate the club.

"We're just going to see really how it's all going to go. We don't really know what we're going to be doing," Thompson said.

"All I know is I'm not going to overstep the mark. He's the coach and I'm going to try to give him a bit of an insight into what's coming and how to handle situations and try to set the club up."

Thompson said he found it daunting to be back at Essendon's headquarters for the first time in 13 years.

Asked if he felt he was home again, Thompson said he wasn't the sentimental type.

"But I want the Essendon footy club to do well because they've given so much to me," he said.

Hird said Thompson would not have a "line-specific role".

"It will be more around guiding where the coaches are going and looking out probably a bit further than we do as football coaches traditionally," Hird said.

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