Our next 'new face' for 2020 is Callum Thompson, a product of the Claremont Junior Football Club – where he won a record three-straight Beakley Medals for league best & fairest – who has come to the TSL squad via the Ben Brown Academy and the state U15 and U16 Devils squads.
We caught up with Cal and his captain Brayden Webb to find out more about this quality young man with a huge appetite for hard work.
Cal, welcome to the club. Do you remember when you first played footy as a little kid?
CT: It was when I was in kinder, I think I was four, so I’ve been playing for 11 years and this would be number 12.
That’s a long time for someone who’s 16! What’s the longest you’ve been without footy?
CT: It would be right now!
I thought you’d say that! Are you managing to keep fit over the break?
CT: Yeah, definitely. Even if I didn’t want to get out and train my dad wouldn’t let me, he’s always reminding me to get out and do stuff (laughs). I’ve got the Glenorchy program and the state squad program and I do some of my own stuff as well, I’m trying to do everything I can.
Your dad, Damien, has been a massive part of your footy, hasn’t he?
CT: Yeah he loves my footy, he’s always been a big part of it the whole time. He coached me for the last two or three years. He took over and changed the way we went about it, the way we train, and he got onto the guys who weren’t coming and they would start turning up which helped us get a lot better.
Has he told you about his time playing at Glenorchy?
CT: Yeah. He was trying to find his photo on the wall when he came in and tells me stories about his time here and stuff.
OK, so you started at four, what are your favourite memories from your junior career?
CT: I did two years at Claremont Auskick and then played up an age group after that until I was in U10s. I don’t really remember much from back then, but I remember all the way until U10s I used to play backline, every game, and all I wanted to do was play midfield (laughs).
My favourite bit is pretty much all the friends I have now, I met them at the footy club, so it’s just been great to always be around those guys – Braidy Simpson, Luke Nicholson, Jesse Wilmott, Kyedon Grueber – I played with them for ages.
Who’s the best player you played with through juniors?
CT: I think it would be Braidy, we’ve always been on the same team together, making each other better.
What about the best player you played against?
CT: Well, probably the most annoying was Liam Howard for Clarence (laughs). He was a good player, good to play against. He would just try and shut me down, stay with me the whole game. He didn’t just purely tag me, he would try and get a bit of the ball himself, it was a good challenge.
You’re next step was into the Ben Brown Academy, what was that like?
CT: That was really good to come along and do lots of different drills I hadn’t done before and meet all the Glenorchy players there, getting to know them.
Then this year you stepped straight into senior pre-season as a then 15 year-old, tell us about that.
CT: From the first training run all the boys have got around me, and I just thought it would be a good place to stay. The training has definitely been harder than what I’m used to, they have such good skills and they’re just good guys to be around, it’s always noisy and good fun.
There are heaps of the guys that have been good (to me) in the pre-season, Geardy was real good, Ben (Kamaric), Cal Daly, all those guys in the midfield have been really good helping me, Riley (Oakley) has been really good too.
What impact has the pre-season had on you?
CT: It definitely got me a lot fitter. It’s not like flat-out running drills, it just kind of happens in the drills that we do. It’s hard but you enjoy it.
What was it like when you got told you were playing seniors in the first practice game?
CT: I just couldn’t wait to play. I was nervous but I was keen. It was definitely a lot harder and more skilful than what I’m used to, but it was good to have a crack. I loved it, it was good to play in.
And your goals for this year?
CT: Just to improve and play as high as I can at the moment, get my fitness up and see where it takes me.
We can’t wait to see where it takes you mate, thanks for your time! Now let’s check in with superstar centreman Brayden Webb to get his thoughts on the club’s newest midfield tyro.
Pidge, what have your first impressions of Callum Thompson been?
BW: Cal’s been really good. Early in pre-season when he came down he wasn’t real well known amongst the group, but by the end a lot of the boys were thinking he’d play Round 1 (in the seniors), so he’s done well.
What about his game impresses you the most?
BW: Just how clean he is around the stoppages and how he doesn’t panic, he’s real clean with ball in hand and is good at feeding it out to the runners. But I wouldn’t tie him down to just one type of player, he looks like he could develop into a really good inside and outside player. He always listens, he’s a good kid.