tmedia
Main content

Joe Atley excited by Scott Thompson's role

Lee Gaskin // afl.com.au  December 5, 2017 12:08 PM

AFL 2017 Round 18 - Melbourne v Port Adelaide

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Joe Atley of the Power is tackled by Jayden Hunt of the Demons during the round 18 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Port Adelaide Power at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 22, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images/AFL Media)

SECOND-YEAR Port Adelaide midfielder Joe Atley is loving being mentored by 300-gamer Scott Thompson.

But that wasn't the case when 19-year-old Atley was left battered and bruised after tagging Adelaide stalwart Thompson in a SANFL game against the Crows in April this year.

"At the time, I was hating him, because he was giving me elbows and he was throwing a few punches," Atley told AFL.com.au.

"But after the game, he came up to me and was giving me a few pointers and a few tips.

"Ever since then, I've followed him and he's followed me."

Thompson was one of the most physical midfielders in the League during his 17 seasons and 308 games before retiring at the end of this year.

The Crows great has joined the Power as a midfield development coach, passing on his expertise to Atley and the club's other young onballers.

"I've had a little bit to do with him already, in craft and training drills," Atley said.

"Just more about body positioning and running patterns and stuff like that.

"Now we've got him and (midfield manager and Brownlow medallist) Michael Voss, so it's a nice duo to have."

When the two squared off in the SANFL, Atley had 25 disposals, while Thompson had 23, 10 clearances and seven tackles as Port won by 35 points.

"He still remembers the elbow I gave him," Atley said.

"I don't think he'll forget that.

"I gave him one, but that was accidental."

Atley was the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft after captaining the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup.

The younger brother of North Melbourne half-back flanker Shaun Atley had an encouraging first season with the Power, making his AFL debut in the club's round 16 win against West Coast in Perth.

He played three games this year and knows he needs to work on increasing his tank to be more effective at the elite level.

The Power added to their midfield stocks, bringing in former Brisbane Lions skipper Tom Rockliff, outside runner Steven Motlop and ex-Melbourne co-captain Jack Trengove during the off-season.

They also brought in Kane Farrell, Jake Patmore, Joel Garner and Dom Barry through this year's draft.

"Port went out and recruited a lot of midfielders because we want to achieve the ultimate success," Atley said.

"It's just another person to beat and everyone is fighting for spots.

"I don't see it as a setback; I see it as a challenge and I want to improve and knock those boys over."

The Power's first and second-year players will be put through a gruelling four-day training camp in Sydney with NRL club South Sydney, starting Monday.

"Kenny (coach Ken Hinkley) has said it's going to be a grind and mentally challenging," Atley said.

"I was looking through the Rabbitohs' list and most of their players are over 100kg.

"No doubt, there'll be a bit of tackling, and hopefully we can do a bit of running with them and show them up in that area."

More on portadelaidefc.com.au...