BY his own admission, Scott Thompson has annoyed many opponents over his AFL journey but to dismiss the retiring North Melbourne defender as a serial pest wouldn’t do justice to his achievements over a 12-year career.
Thompson, who has played 238 AFL games after debuting as a 21-year-old, will finish up at the end of the season having won the club’s best-and-fairest award and been named All Australia (both in 2013).
Despite the late start to his career, Thompson will be remembered as a stalwart of the Kangaroos’ back line for over a decade.
But he concedes he will also be remembered for his on-field niggle, which most famously drove Barry Hall to slap him in a headlock in 2010.
“That was a while ago now but I still get that mentioned to me every day,” Thompson said with wry grin at his retirement press conference on Friday.
“That kind of shaped my career, I changed the way that I played a little bit after that but I always wanted to do whatever I could for the team.
“If I had to niggle an opponent to get them off their game I’d do that.
“(I was) a pest early on in my career. I stayed within the rules but just doing anything I could do to put them off their game.”
Thompson, who has played on and beaten some of the game’s great forwards, rates Jonathan Brown, Nick Riewoldt, Brendan Fevola and Lance Franklin as his toughest opponents.
The father of three conceded he had been thinking about retirement for some time, bringing his kids along to the Roos’ last day game in Melbourne for the season in round 17.
“I’ve loved every minute of the 12 years I’ve had (but) everyone’s career comes to an end and it’s my time to finish up,” he said.
“Once I’d decided I slept really well that night because I knew it was the right choice.
“I’m slowing up a little and I just didn’t want to go into a season and not know if I can make it through.”
© AAP 2019