Click or flick across for photos of Thompson during his time with the Pigeons.
YARRAWONGA defender Jarrod Thompson has left the Pigeons.
In an off-season shock, the tough backman will move to Geelong for family reasons and won’t play in the Ovens and Murray next year.
Thompson and his partner had a child the day after Yarrawonga won this year’s premiership and have opted to return south to be closer to family.
He spent just one season at J.C. Lowe Oval.
Yarrawonga co-coach Chris Kennedy said while Thompson’s departure certainly wasn’t planned, it hadn’t come as major shock to the club.
“He kept us in the loop all year that he was having a kid and that it (moving) was always going to be a possibility,” Kennedy said.
“He’s putting his family first.
“His partner Caitlyn has followed him with his footy for a while and he’s made a decision based around family and putting them first, which you should.”
Recruited from South Warrnambool, Thompson was best on ground for the Ovens and Murray in its shattering interleague loss to the Peninsula league in May.
The raking left-footer played a crucial role deep in defence for the Pigeons as they charged to back-to-back flags for the first time in the club’s history.
The Pigeons hope 2012 premiership full-back Matt Shannon will return to fill Thompson’s vacancy in defence.
Young gun Connor Hargreaves will also be given every chance in that role.
Thompson’s unexpected departure has forced the Pigeons to re-think their recruiting strategy, with several fringe players also leaving the club to play under former Yarrawonga captain Leigh Ramsdale at Barooga.
“You want a strong spine and Jarrod was a big part of that,” Kennedy said.
“We’ll look internally first but if we see a spot that needs filling then it will become a high priority for us.”