The AFL’s form defender is set for a crucial battle with an out-of-sorts Travis Cloke, but that’s hardly cause for confidence at North Melbourne.
Scott Thompson was arguably best afield in North’s impressive win over Sydney at the SCG last Sunday, keeping Lance Franklin goalless for the second time in a row.
As the Kangaroos push for a top-four spot on Saturday against Collingwood at the MCG, the incumbent All-Australian full-back will again be key to their hopes of victory.
Thompson is set to man Cloke, who has kicked two goals from four games in an underwhelming start to the season.
“History shows he’s a great player and although he hasn’t been in the best form, he’s still a great player,” Thompson said prior to the side’s Good Friday training session.
“Going from Lance Franklin to probably Travis Cloke, I still won’t have too much sleep tonight.
“I don’t really take form into a game. I just try and play the player on his merits.
“There’s always a chance he (Cloke) can dominate … he’s probably one of the strongest players in the AFL.”
Given Cloke booted a combined tally of nine goals in the two games between the sides last year, it’s easy to understand Thompson’s wariness.
Just ask coach Brad Scott.
“Cloke generally saves his best for us,” Scott said.
“(Thompson) will definitely spend time on him. Michael Firrito has played on him before. Nathan Grima and (Lachie) Hansen and Thompson have all taken their turns.
“That probably tells you that we haven’t found the ideal method to contain him.”
It begs the question, how do you contain someone of Cloke’s ilk – presuming he hits his straps on Saturday?
“He likes to play deep and get the one-on-one contests,” Thompson said.
“If you’ve got some help, you can get in a wrestle with him.
“But if you don’t, you probably don’t want to get into too much of a wrestle.”
Cloke copped some Bronx cheers from the black-and-white faithful for some errors last Friday night.
Thompson said taunting was one tactic he was unlikely to try at the MCG.
“I’m not a bit sledger. If you sledge them and they kick a goal, you’ll get it back twice as hard.”