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Thomas: "I've got a lot to offer"

Daisy blossoms off half-back To celebrate his re-signing, enjoy the best of Dale Thomas's 14th AFL season.

The enjoyment and satisfaction Dale Thomas experiences from seeing his young teammates develop is one of the driving factors behind the defender’s new one-year deal.

Heading into his 14th AFL season, ‘Daisy’ told SEN on Monday morning that he’s fully embraced the role he plays off the field, just as much as his own on-field performance.

With 238 games to his name and his body still up for the challenge, the 31-year-old believes having mentors within Carlton’s playing group is important for the development of the team.

“It’s funny, once you get to 30 everyone is really quick to wrap you up and retire you, which is what happens in the football landscape, but you also need some wise heads and experience at the Club,” Thomas told Gerard Whateley.

“Being that elder player and embracing that, especially with the young group that we’ve got is really important. We’ve got some stars coming through and we’re riddled with talent, so getting them to understand how good they are, but also how good they can be as well, is something I’ve really enjoyed trying to do.”

Drawing on his own experiences playing at the highest level, Thomas has overcome a number of challenges throughout his career and has learnt to deal with the pressure that comes with playing AFL – knowledge he passes on to his younger teammates.

“Talking about my experiences and my football journey can help blokes when they aren’t really in form, if they’re coming under scrutiny, or even if it’s going really well in the case of Charlie Curnow – so I think I’ve still got a lot to offer on the field, but also embracing what I’ve got to offer off the field as well.”

While guiding his younger teammates has become a focus, the premiership player still prides himself on his own performance and knows he carries an important on-field role.

Transitioning from the midfield to defence this season, Daisy averaged 22.5 disposals at 76 percent efficiency, as well as seven marks and three rebound 50s per game in 2019.

“The enjoyment I get Monday to Friday helping and working with the kids is really rewarding. I’m almost like a father-figure and a proud dad on the weekend, watching them do well, however I don’t let that override my performance. That’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on and that’s what I’ve been able to do for two hours on a Saturday afternoon, but that enjoyment of seeing others flourish certainly helps my career in these latter parts.”

While the 2011 All-Australian relishes spending time with his younger counterparts, he dearly values the close relationships he has with 300-gamer Kade Simpson, skipper Marc Murphy and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.

“Kade and I, especially this year playing closely with him in the backline, have been terrific mates the whole way through,” Thomas said.

He’s been someone who has always had my back and always has words of encouragement. Although he doesn’t say a lot around the place, what he does say certainly counts.

“Marc Murphy as well, he’s another one who’s embraced a different role this year because he’s been injured and I think that has really developed him an off-field sense in becoming a teacher. Also, Matty Krezuer, these older blokes have been people who have always been in my corner and I’m lucky to call them good mates.” 

 

With Carlton’s list brimming with young players and a number of experienced veterans, Daisy knows there’s plenty of hard work ahead, even if GM of List Management and Strategy Stephen Silvagni is able to secure talent during the trade period.

“I think you look at the age profile and the demographic that’s been so well documented and well-spoken about, it’s that we do need to get some in the door in that 22 to 27-year-old age group – there’s no doubt we need to get that and that’s where SOS comes into his own I guess,” Thomas said.

“However, around that, it’s no secret that there’s a lot of hard work to be done with the boys that we’ve got there. It’s not just going to be a miracle that someone’s going to rock up and change the joint, it’s a lot of hard work, head down bum up sort of stuff and that’s something I’m certainly really looking forward to doing and driving.”

Turning 32 next year, Thomas is well aware it could be his last season playing at the highest level, however he’s open to all possibilities come the end of 2019. 

“That challenge of wanting to be the best player I can be, wanting to perform and wanting to help get this group get out of the spot that it’s in at the minute are all factors that will drive me,” he said.

“I’m not naive to the fact that it could well and truly be my last year, it would be stupid to think you can play forever, I understand at some point it will have to end, but I don’t’ think there’s any reason to go into a season with a full stop or an expiration date.

“I’ll just rip in and get to the end of next season and see where the dust lies – hopefully it’s a better season for all.”