It will be a pleasure to see my good mate Scott Thompson take to the field for his 200th game this weekend, which is an amazing achievement given he wasn’t drafted until the age of 21.
Personally, I feel it sometimes gets undersold just how good of a footballer he is — after all he was an All-Australian in 2013.
We have spent a lot of time together as we were neighbours for quite a few years. Whenever the team went on interstate trips Scotty would always be my roommate — next to my wife he is probably the person I spent the most amount of time with.
Even though I’m no longer at the club, I see plenty of the big fella as our kids are all around the same age and they get along well. He is one of those blokes that will do anything that his teammates ask of him.
His own wants and needs get pushed to the back of the queue when someone asks him for a hand. Scott has always been a much-loved figure at North and his presence just makes it a better place, he will be sorely missed when he does eventually leave.
When he walked in the door he was a ready-made footballer.
We as defenders just knew he was going to be good right from the start. Scott made his debut at the beginning of 2008 and went on to play a handful of games for the year but from there he was a regular in defence.
At that time, it was a period of transition for the club with guys like Glenn Archer and Leigh Colbert retiring. They were always going to be hard to replace because players like that don’t grow on trees.
Scott’s arrival made a difference because we went from a defence which had years of experience to a back six which was relatively inexperienced.
During his first year at the club, Dean Laidley was the coach, and he instilled into us the exact way he played his own footy — on the edge. Scott took that right on board and at times probably was viewed as an annoying pest out on the field.
As a defender, you want to be difficult to play on and Scotty Thompson is the prime example of that. If I was a forward, and I’m sure forwards across the competition will agree with me when I say it can be a restless night’s sleep knowing you are coming up against him.
He has always asked questions of his opponents both physically and mentally. It’s not that Scott says a lot to his opponent it’s the fact his physical presence can sometimes make them think twice.
Having him around makes you walk that little bit taller.
But while we have seen how he likes to get into the head of his opponent, his ability to defend one-on-one and to read the ball often gets undersold. Those elements of his game always stood out to me as a player and it gave me great confidence that we could rely on him to do the job on a weekly basis.
At this stage of his career, he has become even more valuable to the football club with several young guys around him. The likes of Sam Durdin and Daniel Nielsen will only be better for the experience having played alongside him.
He’s not the sort of guy who will just finish his work and get out — he is always putting in the extra yards. What the fans see on the field is only a glimpse to what he provides the club with.
This weekend is only another step in a journey that has plenty left to give, and it’s also an example of how hard he has worked, which should be an inspiration to kids out there.
Scotty never went through any development programs and was drafted late — he worked hard to get to where he is today.
He should be super proud of what he has achieved.