15/04/2024
Luke Thompson prepares for the second semi final against Glenelg

Eagles captain Luke Thompson prepares for the second semi final against Glenelg. (Image: Hannah Howard/On the Ball Media)

Woodville-West Torrens captain Luke Thompson has played 205 games of league footy, and on Sunday, game 206 will be his fifth grand final.

Woodville-West Torrens captain Luke Thompson has played 205 games of league footy, and on Sunday, game 206 will be his fifth grand final.

On the Adelaide Crows’ playing list at the time, Thompson first broke through at the Eagles in 2011, ending Central District’s decade of dominance for good.

Since then, two losses at the hands of West Adelaide and Sturt across 2015-16 along with the win in last year’s decider over North Adelaide has the ledger currently sitting 2-2.

With an even count across the wins and the losses, something has to give this weekend.

And while that may be the case, going into number five Thompson says he still looks back – and draws from – the three point win ten years ago.

“I think the first one went by pretty quickly, in 2011,” he said.

“The only difference now is I’m a bit older, I’ve got 10 or so years under my belt.

“I’ll just take it in my stride and help out the younger boys, but it’s important to get out there and remember the year that we’ve had and soak up the atmosphere and put your best foot forward on game day.”

He is one of just four players still on the Eagles’ list from that day, but recognises the constant turnover of the playing group has been one of the reasons his side has seen sustained success.

“You look at 2011 when we won, we had the Cicolellas and the McKenzies and those types who were coming towards the end of their careers but they were great players,” he said.

“Last year we had the Jordan Footes and the James Rowes and all these types of players, and this year we’ve brought in some good players where we’ve needed to, having lost 8-10 players from last year; the Menzel boys, Clay Cameron.

“Plus I think we’ve developed our juniors really well. To see the likes of Luke Beecken coming through I think that’s what this club has done really well at over an extended period.”

Luke Thompson kicks in defence during the Eagles’ round 13 clash against South Adelaide, this year. (Image: SANFL)

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But with that all in the past, Thompson looks towards the coming weekend with optimism, knowing the year which the Eagles have put together will hold them in good stead for the title fight.

“I think we’re placed not too bad,” he said.

“The week that we’ve just had, whether we win or lose on grand final day will be when we know whether we got it right, but I think it came at a nice time.

“We had a big game against Sturt towards the end of the year as well, a couple of big finals games against some quality, inside players – a very contested style of footy.”

And while Thompson has been through the rigmarole of a grand final at this level before, he concedes many members of the current team haven’t.

“The boys are pretty excited, obviously after our win out here a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

“We haven’t had to reign anyone in, I think it’s important to enjoy the year and enjoy being in the grand final and I think thats what the week off has allowed us to do.

“We’ve been getting our bodies right after a few big games, so the boys have been focussing on recovery.

“It was definitely enjoyable for that first week but once we hit our Saturday session it’s business as usual.

“Game day will come and what will be, will be.” 

Keep up to date with the 2021 SANFL grand final week right here, as The Inner Sanctum has every angle covered. Tomorrow: re-live the Eagles’ 2020 triumph through the eyes of coach Jade Sheedy and a look at the captain of Glenelg, a man who is as proud as can be.

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