The key to a great team is a defence that sticks together, and North Melbourne’s Scott Thompson and Michael Firrito have taken that mantra to a new level.
With the days of share houses behind them, the two North Melbourne boys live directly next door to each other with their young families in Ascot Vale.
Firrito was the catalyst of the set-up, living with his wife and young son in the suburb since 2011 before recommending the house next door to Thompson last September.
“I was pretty keen to get him in here because he’s quite the handy-man,” Firrito jokes.
“I don’t event attempt to do the odd job anymore – I just call him straight away or sing out over the fence and over he comes.”
In a feature on Channel Seven, Firrito and Thompson shared their homes with viewers.
“The showgrounds are just down the road and public transport is pretty close as well. We love it here and this side of the city isn’t as busy so it’s a good place to be,” Thompson says.
“It’s a nice little suburb and it’s nice and close to the city. It’s perfect for us for training, we’re only two minutes away,” Firrito says.
“Having a place to come home too and feel safe is really important, even more so now that we both got families. And having the guys next door, we feel like we have our own little family because we spend so much time together.”
With wives Bonnie and Lauren also close friends it makes life a lot easier for the key defenders, and a babysitter is pretty accessible when located next-door.
And while having kids around the same age will have its advantages when growing up, Thompson will tend on the cautious side when puberty hits.
“Lenny’s a boy and Genevieve’s a girl so there might be a bit of barbed wire going up on the fence a bit later but hopefully they can become really close and be best friends,” the 2013 Best and Fairest winner says.
But veteran Firrito has a better way of using the neighbours to their advantage.
“The Thompson’s have a bigger backyard too so I’m sure Lenny will make good use of that by kicking the footy around in years to come.”