Bleak week for embattled Cats. Costa backs Thompson

Mark Heenan
GEELONG Football Club president Frank Costa has thrown his weight behind embattled coach Mark Thompson.
Costa stood by Thompson this week amid media reports and mounting speculation about his future with the Cats as the club runs a searching review of all departments.
“The situation hasn’t changed from our perspective,” Costa said from Turkey.
“We’re still backing Mark Thompson and a review will be finished by the end of September.”
Mark Thompson said he was “positive” about coaching Geelong next season and could not understand the reasons for speculation his days at Skilled Stadium were numbered.
However, Thompson’s position at the club is under pressure after Geelong blew its last chance to play in the finals with a dramatic draw against Melbourne last Saturday.
He remains contracted after leading the club to seven and a half wins from its past 11 games.
Thompson brushed off this week’s speculation about his job.
“Two weeks ago it was the players fighting with each other and now they’re fighting with me,” he said.
“Just believe what you want to believe.
“I think I’ve been pretty strong (and) positive all year. People are saying we’re out of finals contention and all that and I was saying ‘nah, we’re still trying to win games to make the finals’.
“I’ve been very supportive of the leadership group and I’ve been the most positive person around the Geelong Football Club, I’d say.”
Meanwhile, Thompson described young Cat Tom Lonergan’s loss of a kidney after backing into a pack during last weekend’s match a “tragedy”.
Lonergan, 22, spent the past week in an induced coma at Geelong Hospital.
“We’ve got a boy (Lonergan) who’s pretty sick in hospital and I think the lot of us around the footy club have been caring about him deeply this week,” Thompson said.
“He looked really comfortable playing league football on the weekend. It’s just a tragedy that at the end of his good game he got struck down and he paid a huge price.
“He’s still in a coma and he hasn’t come out of that and from all reports he’s progressing really well (and) doctors are confident he will recover and we’ve got our fingers crossed.”
Meanwhile, Geelong youngster Ryan Gamble will make his debut at Telstra Dome on Sunday.