Breaking news from Hamburg: he has been an assistant coach while his ankle is busted (outside chance to return for the finals) and now to control the James Hird Academy. Onya, FatArse.
Recently appointed James Hird Academy coach Jacob Thompson is using a forced injury layoff to further advance his coaching experience.
Essendon’s longest serving VFL listed player has taken the reins of the James Hird Academy (JHA), looking to develop Essendon’s potential father-son draftees.
A round seven ankle injury and surgery looked to have ended Thompson’s season, seeing him take on a bench role for Matthew Egan and the VFL coaches.
The 25 year-old is no stranger to the role having done it three years ago when he missed with a knee injury.
“It’s just translating what Ego and the coaches have to say to the players in the heat of the battle,” he said.
“It’s about trying to soak up the player’s frustrations and emotions and trying to relay a message that hopefully can get through to them.
“I’ve had that experience before, it’s good to be able to put the game into the coaching perspective more so for when you do go back and play you can understand where the coaches are coming from.”
The nephew of Bombers premiership captain and coach Mark Thompson, the budding says he is continually looking to improve off field.
“Coaching is something I’ve always tried to develop, I’ve never been a regular starter at Essendon so I needed to learn as much as I can about the structures, the methods and how we want to play,” Thompson said.
“Long term I would love to stay involved, if that’s through coaching down the track well this has been a very good start.”
Thompson took over coaching the JHA just over a month ago replacing Marty Allison.
Allison and Thompson were the coach and captain of the premiership winning Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup back in 2009.
“In terms of time commitment it hasn’t been to great, we have a few kids from the 12 to 16 age bracket that aren’t in contention to be drafted at the end of this year,” he said.
“It’s not so much the hours but when the kids are here to get them playing the Essendon way and introduce them to what we’re about.
“It’s a great opportunity, everyone loves the names that are associated with Essendon’s successful past and some of these players were my favorite players growing up.
“To teach their kids and have an influence on their pathway to hopefully share the same success their fathers had is very exciting.”
VFL coach and Head of Player Development Matthew Egan said that Thompson was a logical choice to take over the JHA.
“Thomo is still young and learning about the game but he’s been at the club for seven years now, he knows the players, the staff and the game plan,” Egan said.
“He’s got really good knowledge of Essendon so it was a perfect fit really.”
Thompson has taken on a Development Coaching role with the VFL since his injury.
“We thought we could use his footy knowledge in a different way, he is starting to take our younger players for extra education sessions on the computers which has been awesome,” Egan said.
“The other thing he is doing is the bench coaching, getting to pass on our messages to the players. His strength is his communication and he knows the game really well so that’s been really good for us, good for the players and him, keeping him engaged and thinking about footy.”
A positive diagnosis from his surgery does have Thompson eyeing a return for finals football.
Originally set as 16 weeks, the forward will be hoping to be back in 12 weeks after suffering the injury on May 22.
“Hopefully I’ll get back towards the end of the season now, whether it’s in the twos at Greenvale or with the VFL hopefully it goes to plan and I can get back,” Thompson said.
“I’m doing everything I can to get back because that’s why you play footy, there’d be no point doing the rehab if I couldn’t get back and play.”