SOUTH Warrnambool premiership co-captain Jarrod Thompson is preparing to test himself in one of country Victoria’s toughest competitions, the Ovens and Murray Football League.
The VCFL and Hampden representative has signed with Ovens and Murray premier Yarrawonga for next season, joining former Carlton and Brisbane forward Brendan Fevola at the club.
Thompson, who suffered horror facial injuries with the Roosters this year, revealed the time on the sidelines had changed his outlook.
“I’ve always wanted to have a crack at a higher level of football before I got too old,” he said.
“The injuries just made me realise you never know when you’re time is up so I thought I had better do it now.”
Thompson suffered four fractures in his left cheekbone and around his eye in an accidental collision with a Terang Mortlake opponent during a round seven game in June.
He missed seven matches. Then, after making a comeback late in the season as the Roosters tried to cling to a top-five spot, suffered a broken wrist and missed the final game of the regular season as the defending premier was bundled out of the finals race.
The 26-year-old said the injuries, combined with his older brother Heath’s inability to return successfully from a broken leg seven years ago, had contributed to the decision to leave the Roosters.
Thompson, who has family links in Yarrawonga, said he hoped to return home to South Warrnambool to pass on his experience in the future as a coach.
Thompson is a genuine star in the Hampden league, having been co-captain of the Roosters 2011 premiership side with Danny Finn, represented the league several times and the VCFL in 2011. His ability to play as an onballer, dashing key defender or marking forward made him a rare commodity.