Carlton midfielder-turned-defender Dale Thomas will enter his 14th AFL season in 2019, after signing a contract extension with the Blues.
The 31-year-old has put pen to paper this week on a new deal that will see the veteran play on for a further year in the navy blue.
After a lengthy career in the midfield, Thomas found his way into the Blues’ backline in 2018, averaging 22.5 disposals at 76 percent efficiency, with seven marks and three rebound 50s per game.
Arriving at Ikon Park from Collingwood at the end of 2013 via free agency, the effervescent premiership player adds vital playing experience to the Blues, having played 238 AFL games, 81 of those for Carlton. The 2011 All-Australian said he was rapt to be continuing his career in the navy blue for at least a further year.
“Earlier this year, I sat back and realised that footy was the one thing I really loved to do and realised it was a privilege to play week in and week out, so I tried to make the most of that mindset and I found this year really refreshing on-field despite the results not going our way,” Thomas said.
“I feel my body has finally caught up with what my mind knew it could do, I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself in the new defensive role at half-back and I have relished working closely with the younger boys in our backline this year.
Dale Thomas grew off the field as a mentor for Carlton's younger players. (Photo: AFL Media)
“There’s a lot of enjoyment from seeing the younger guys get better because that makes us get better as well. It’s just part of the evolution of a player. The more you play, the more you have a responsibility to pass on and we have a great group of young players here at the Blues so I’m rapt to be staying on because I love this club and it could all click really quickly and I want to be part of it.”
Senior coach Brendon Bolton said the contract extension was a fitting reward for Thomas’ investment in the Blues’ young playing group.
“It’s really pleasing to see ‘Daisy’ go around again, he finished the year strongly in that new-found defensive role and it was clear to see that he still has plenty to offer,” Bolton said.
“He is a real character and is a great person to have around the football club, he lifts others and contributes strongly to our program. This season ‘Daisy’ has particularly grown off the field and has taken to mentoring a number of our young players, so he is invested in them as people and players which as a coach, has been terrific to see.
“We look forward to welcoming him back for a strong pre-season campaign so he can get the most out of himself in 2019.”