A number of AFL greats have reacted with shock and sadness after Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
The former AFL coach will next face court later this month after illicit substances were allegedly found in a locked room of his Melbourne home.
The 54-year-old – who played in three premierships with Essendon and coached Geelong to two flags, was granted bail in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday after being charged with seven drug-related offences – including trafficking and possession.
Former Geelong star Cameron Mooney said Thompson was a “father figure” during his coaching days at the Cats.
“I’m pretty sad to be honest — and I have been for a while, with everything that’s gone on, all these stories,” Mooney told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“This bloke was a father figure for so many of us. A lot of us got to the footy club at 18 or 20 years of age and he was our father for 10 years. He helped us grow as men, taught us to play football and we got the ultimate, two premierships, underneath him.
“It bloody hurts to see him going on this downward spiral.”
Essendon great Tim Watson played in three premierships with Thompson, and said he was “in a state of disbelief”.
“I can’t comprehend that the person that I played alongside with, and the type of bloke that I knew him to be as a teammate and great leader, could find himself in a situation that he has found himself in,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.
“To piece together in my mind, it’s almost impossible to think that’s the same bloke.
“That’s not discounting what he has been charged for, if that’s the case and he is found guilty, that’s reprehensible behaviour and I don’t condone that in any way.
“The point is, I’m still having great difficulty in being able to marry up that person with that type of behaviour and that charge.”
Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd said it had been hard to watch Thompson’s downfall.
“He was my first ever captain and one of the most respected people I have ever been involved (with) in football … so sad to see what has become of Mark of late,” Lloyd told Footy Classified.
The court was told quantities of methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD and MDMA were found in plastic bags during a January raid on Thompson’s Port Melbourne home.
It was alleged some of the drugs were found in a small room protected by a keypad and only Thompson had access to it.