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Bryce Shilton  August 28, 2017 2:03 PM

AFL 2017 Round 16 - Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

Scott Thompson in action against the Western Bulldogs in Round 16, 2017

Finals footy is a different game... but we’ve got a group that I think is capable of meeting that standard

Veteran Scott Thompson will play an important role in readying Adelaide for finals action this September.

The battle-hardened midfielder will draw from a wealth of finals experience to help ensure the Crows approach the series in the right mindset and raring to go.

He’s featured in eight finals campaigns, played in three losing Preliminary finals, and was part of the Crows side that came within a kick of a Grand Final appearance in 2012.

“The importance of preparation, training and still setting the right standards leading into finals (is vital),” said Thompson.

“Finals footy is a different game. Intensity goes up and pressure goes up, but we’ve got a group that I think is capable of meeting that standard and playing some outstanding football.”

Thompson starred during Adelaide’s SANFL loss to South Adelaide on the weekend, putting on a vintage display in what could have been his final game in tri-colours.

The popular Crow is set to retire at the end of this season after calling time on his career earlier this year. A guard of honour deservedly in place as he left Hickinbotham Oval following a best-on-ground performance.

“It was a really kind gesture from the South Adelaide Football Club,” Thompson said post-match.

“(South Adelaide coach) Garry Hocking came over and had a quick word to me and said they wanted to form a guard of honour for me, which was really nice of them and very respectful.

“I’m very thankful to him and the South Adelaide Football Club for doing that.”

While his future at AFL level will be determined by selection, the experienced Crow has relished the opportunity to take on a leadership role - mentoring young draftees and top-up players alike.

“I’ve been trying to help them with the way they attack their training, and then try and carry that form into games,” said Thompson.

“Help them meet the standards they set themselves, then try and see that on display through match day and get some consistency in their own games.

“As a young guy, the hardest thing to do is to get consistency in your game, so that’s something we talk about regularly. Any areas that I can help improve them, I’ve been trying to do that.”

It’s an experience Thompson can relate to, drafted by the Demons as a 17-year-old with pick No.16 in the 2000 National Draft.

“I was fortunate enough to go to Melbourne,” said Thompson.

“That year they played in the Grand Final against the Bombers, so I was lucky enough to learn from a lot of quality players there.

“The likes of (Shane) Woewodin – who’d just won the Brownlow Medal – Adam Yze, Guy Rigoni and Cameron Bruce. Guys that played similar positions to me at the time.”

Steely Scott's journey to the top

As a young player living interstate, an established set of leaders helped the South Australian find his feet at AFL level.

“Then, there was the leadership they had with David Neitz, David Schwarz and Steven Febey at the time. I was lucky to have a lot of great players to learn from,” Thompson said.

“Even when I came back to Adelaide at the start of ‘05, you can reel off a whole list of players like Ricciuto, Edwards, Goodwin, McLeod, Burton and Hart.

“Those are some really quality champions of the footy club who I learnt a huge amount from.”

As Adelaide looks ahead to a clash with GWS in the opening Qualifying Final, Thompson looked back on what has been an outstanding 17 seasons playing at the top level.

“It’s certainly been an enjoyable journey and who knows what the next four – five weeks may hold,” reflected Thompson. 

“Hopefully we’ll be enjoying some real success at the end of the year.”