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Thompson roars back to life

Post-Match: Guy McKenna SUNS coach Guy McKenna speaks to the media after his team's 35-point loss to the Sydney Swans.
Love having Rory back; just a bit of security and can lock away a tall and does his job.
GC SUNS Defender, Steven May

At the start of the round 12 clash with Sydney, if you’d said to most Gold Coast SUNS fans that Rory Thompson would hold Kurt Tippett goalless and restrict him to just six touches and three marks, they would have taken that with open arms.

In a battle between Southport Sharks juniors, Tippett – who had averaged four goals per game since his return from a knee injury a month ago - was blanketed by Thompson, and was eventually substituted after injuring his left knee late in the third term.

It was an outstanding return to football for Thompson, who missed the past two games with a wrist injury, and had a limited pre-season after undergoing hip surgery and suffering a stomach bug not long before the start of the home and away season.

In a major positive for the GC SUNS, coach Guy McKenna said he expects more out of the 23-year-old key defender as his fitness level continues to improve throughout the season.

“Rory had a limited pre-season, he just hasn’t been able to get fit,” McKenna said.

“He’s now starting to get that continuity.

“(Because of their limited pre-season) Most of our taller blokes, anyone over six-foot-four, I think they’re in for a better second half of the season than they did in their front half.”

Thompson and fellow backman Steven May could hold their heads high after the defeat, after Tippett and Lance Franklin weren’t able to impact the match to any great effect.

May admitted he felt more comfortable with Thompson back in the line-up after he missed the win over the Western Bulldogs and the loss to Adelaide after sustaining a wrist injury against St Kilda in round 9.

“Love having Rory back; just a bit of security and can lock away a tall and does his job,” May said.

“He’s a quiet man but he knows what he is doing, his presence is felt across the team when he does a spoil or competes on a one-on-one contest.