GEELONG has ruled out fasttracking Mark Thompson’s signature to a new contract, with president Frank Costa insisting the coach’s word is his bond for the remainder of the season.
The mounting pressure to resign Thompson comes after Essendon’s decision on Wednesday not to renew Kevin Sheedy’s contract despite 27 years and four premierships at the helm.
Thompson, who played 202 games for the Bombers between 1982 and 1996, is among the leading candidates to replace his former mentor.
Other candidates include Fremantle caretaker coach Mark Harvey and Neale Daniher, who left Melbourne a month ago.
Thompson’s threeyear deal at the Cats expires at the end of this year.
The club extended his contract during the team’s form surge late in 2004.
Geelong Football Club president Frank Costa told the Independent that Thompson and the club’s board had agreed to hold off on talks until the end of the 2007 season.
Geelong is two games clear at the top of the AFL ladder.
Mr Costa said he felt no need to speak to Thompson, the 1993 Essendon premiership captain, immediately after the Sheedy fallout.
“No, I have not today (on Wednesday), but I spoke to Mark last week,” he said.
“There’s no need to keep talking to him about it because it was reaffirmed last week.
“He’s also spoken to Brian Cook about it, so there’s no point ringing him up every second day because they (sacked coaches) might keep happening – we’ve had four of them go now.
“I’m very confident that, like Brian, Mark Thompson is the same sort of guy – our word is our bond.”
Geelong had set a policy during the endofseason review last year despite the Cats slumping to 10th place that the club would refrain from any preliminary discussions.
Mr Costa said Thompson had promised to put any offers aside until after this year to concentrate on Geelong’s impending finals campaign.
“We said the head coach (Mark Thompson) and all the assistant coaches would be reviewed at the end of the ’07 season,” Mr Costa said.
“We wanted to give them a full season, so we could do a good assessment of where we are at and where they are at with us.”