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"People get edgy about the fact Thommo's 33": Crows coy on veteran's future

Football

Amid a spate of forced retirements for AFL veterans, Adelaide coach Don Pyke says the equation is simple for ageing midfielder Scott Thompson as he nears the end of his contract.

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Keep performing, and his spot in the Crows’ best 22 is safe – even if he has reached an age where the events of the week have demonstrated nothing is really assured.

“It’s always interesting when people talk about Thommo,” Pyke said yesterday.

“There’s ‘Thommo the midfielder’ and then there’s ‘Thommo the 33-year-old midfielder’.

“People sort of get edgy about the fact he’s 33.

“As long as he’s able to perform and play his role, and he has been doing that, then he continues to hold his spot in the team.”

The sometimes-brutal nature of AFL list management came to the fore this week with North Melbourne’s decision to dump veterans Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.

Crosstown rivals Port Adelaide yesterday opted to cut 31-year-old Jay Schulz despite his desire to continue his career.

Thompson, who notched his 300th game against Collingwood in round 17, has only missed two games this year – both times rested as part of his management – and is keen to play on next season.

Pyke declined to comment on the club’s negotiations with Thompson but said the durable onballer’s form had justified his continued inclusion.

“We’ve been in regular contact with Scott regarding his position and those discussions are ongoing,” Pyke said.

“I’m not going to go into the detail here in terms of where Scott’s at but we’ll address that at the appropriate time.”

Thompson, an All-Australian in 2012, has averaged 24 disposals, seven tackles and almost six clearances per game this season.

Meanwhile, the Crows have recalled Ricky Henderson and Cam Ellis-Yolmen for tonight’s AFL clash against West Coast, with victory likely to earn them a home qualifying final.

They replace suspended midfield gun Rory Sloane and concussed defender Brodie Smith. The forced changes, with Ellis-Yolmen playing just his second senior game this season, are about as radical as it gets for Adelaide’s team selection this year, with the club having used just 29 players so far in 2016 – the league’s lowest tally and the only team to have used less than 30 players in the past 17 years.

 

-AAP

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