Sport AFL Can the Dons hang onto Bomber Thompson?

Can the Dons hang onto Bomber Thompson?

Bomber Thompson: Does he have the passion to help re-build Essendon?
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Essendon face a risk that Mark Thompson will leave the AFL club and coach somewhere else.

But the Bombers hope the dual premiership mentor will stay in some capacity, senior assistant coach Simon Goodwin says.

Former Geelong coach Thompson has been put in charge of the Bombers on a one-season deal while senior coach James Hird serves a 12-month ban for his role in Essendon’s use of supplements in 2012.

Hird’s ban ends on August 25 and the club great will spend the rest of the 2014 season planning for 2015, staying away from training sessions and games to avoid causing a distraction to the team’s finals campaign.

Hird will be busy behind the scenes working on the 2015 season, Goodwin said.

Goodwin told Channel Seven’s AFL Game Day program on Sunday that the Bombers were anxious to retain Thompson.

“Hopefully if he does stay in footy, he stays in footy at Essendon,” Goodwin said.

“All the players have loved having him coaching the team and we know what a great coach he is.

“So to have his experience at the club would be terrific and I know that’s what everyone wants.

“He is an important person to the Essendon footy club.”

Asked if the return of Hird meant Thompson could be snapped up by a rival club, Goodwin said: “Potentially.

“But he loves Essendon,” Goodwin said.

“He has really enjoyed this year.”

Essendon (10-8) face a battle to stay in the top eight following Friday’s loss to Sydney.

Richmond will host the Bombers in a huge clash at the MCG on Friday night.

Goodwin says skipper Jobe Watson, who suffered a hip injury in round 12 against Greater Western Sydney, could be back for the club’s round 21 game against West Coast on August 16.

“It’s a real possibility, especially the way he’s moving,” Goodwin said.

Essendon key defender Michael Hurley said 2012 Brownlow Medallist Watson has been looking fantastic on the track.

“He’s been able to get some good load in his training,” Hurley told AFL Game Day.

Watson told the program: “I’ve been able to train for six or seven weeks now and getting good training in.