Nick Dal Santo believes Carlton veteran Dale Thomas needs to make sure he’s being the best possible on-field role model to the side’s younger players.
Thomas was re-signed by the Blues for the 2019 season today in a move the former St Kilda midfielder wasn’t expecting.
“I’m a little bit surprised (they re-signed him),” Dal Santo told SEN Afternoons.
“It’s all about timing, AFL football, and sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t.
“He’s 32 next year in June, he’s played 238 games, he played 20 this year, he’s averaging 22 disposals at 76 per cent.
“I’ve been a massive advocate for a number of clubs keeping experience and I initially thought Daisy’s time was up based on what I’ve seen.”
Dal Santo points to a particular game earlier in the year where he felt Thomas was trying to do a little too much.
“There was a particular game at Etihad Stadium where there was two kicks. One out of the full backline and one on centre wing, right in front of the bench,” he said.
“Both were turned over. One was a direct goal, the other went back inside 50.
“The reason I’m highlighting those two is if you’re going to be an older player and play a role for a club, then you need to set a really good example.
“I thought it was a very flippant, flamboyant way to play the game and sort of thought it was a shocking example and that doesn’t cut it for these young players.
“I still think there’s a place for him. I don’t know if he’s in their best team, but when I look at his re-signing, he needs to help this group get ready for when he’s not there – that’s a different sort of courage.”
Carlton used Thomas across half back this year in the absence of Sam Docherty, Lachie Plowman and a number of others who missed chunks of the season with injury.