Garry Lyon says that Carlton midfielder Dale Thomas will not play AFL football beyond this year after being left out of the Blues side to take on Port Adelaide on Friday night.
Thomas, a premiership player with Collingwood in 2010, has had a troubled four years at Carlton after he was brought to the club by former coach Mick Malthouse at the end of 2013, with numerous injuries hurting his consistency across his time at his second club.
With Carlton’s younger talent starting to emerge, Lyon says that the 29-year-old’s days in the first side at the club are numbered, and already fears Thomas’ time at AFL level is nearing an end after he was not named to take on the Power due to general soreness.
The former Melbourne champion forward is confident Thomas will not be playing in the AFL next year.
“I wouldn’t have thought so, no,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“From what we’ve seen from Daisy, the heart may be willing, the mind may be willing, but the general ball skills don’t seem to be there.”
Lyon also touched on what he believes to be Melbourne’s most important game since their last finals appearance in 2006 – their clash against the undefeated Richmond on Monday night.
He considers that while the ANZAC Day-eve clash is crucial for both teams, the game will be season-defining for his former club, with a loss making their first top eight appearance in over a decade unlikely despite believing the Demons’ best football is better than Richmond’s best.
“I think it is (better), yes I do,” he said.
“(The match) is important for both teams…if Richmond win, five-zip and finals.
“If Melbourne lose, it will make finals very tough and it is a missed opportunity.”
One of those who will line-up for Melbourne on Monday is Jake Melksham, who made news on Thursday after being fined $10,000 by the AFL Integrity Unit for misleading investigators who were looking into bets made on an account he owns.
It is believed Melksham was making a number of big money bets on greyhound and horse races on behalf of a friend of his, who had been banned from making bets themselves by a number of leading bookmakers due to being highly successful.
Lyon says that he does not understand the penalty, calling it none of the League’s business to investigate betting on anything outside of AFL matches.
“If it is football related betting, absolutely fair enough. Go hard, that is in the charter of the AFL,” he said.
“If it’s betting on dogs or horses, what business would that be of the AFL?”