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Blue night for Daisy as his old mates make life tough

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Chief sports columnist and associate editor with The Age

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Carlton's Dale Thomas comes off at half-time with his side well behind Collingwood.

Carlton's Dale Thomas comes off at half-time with his side well behind Collingwood. Photo: Pat Scala

Collingwood had the first laugh. Dale Thomas' rebaptism as a Carlton player was sealed last night in the sweat and tears of a defeat at the hands of the Magpies that was more comprehensive than the scoreboard made it look, and Thomas was for the most part unable to influence, let alone subvert. The most willing moment of an underwhelming night was an almost comical sequence in the third quarter when Thomas kicked into Luke Ball on the mark, then bundled him over, then was himself upended by that erstwhile Clyde to his Bonnie, Scott Pendlebury. It summed up the tone of the occasion.

The night began for Thomas on a surreal note, dobbing make-believe Carlton goals to the Collingwood end in the warm-up, the last while his erstwhile teammates walked by without a look, doubtlessly intent on their own game, but creating the theatrical effect of ignoring him.

For the battle proper, Thomas began at half-forward, matched with Langdon and later Adams, two new Magpies who were never on his side anyway. It further defused a night that for all the hype lacked that Carlton-Collingwood spark. These already were diminished teams, and the swirl of late changes made this a match-up of a suspect Carlton forward line and a decimated Collingwood defence. The result was predictably uninspiring.

Jamie Elliott celebrates a Collingwood goal Click for more photos

AFL Round 7: Carlton v Collingwood

Collingwood never looked in doubt against Carlton, leading every quarter at the MCG, they finished the game 14.20.104 to 10.10.70 Photo: Pat Scala

Thomas had two early chances to salt the wound of what fans saw as his treachery. The first was a generous free kick from 40 metres, but against a wall of boos, he failed to make the distance. The other was to run onto an overlap handball with the goals in sight, only to run slap bang into a smother. It was hard not to think that the Thomas of old would have side-stepped and sailed on. Was it the ankle that would not side-step any more, or was it the mind? Pendlebury was instantly on hand to remind him of the good old days.

Otherwise, Thomas did all the professional duties, thrice putting robust blocks on Brent Macaffer at stoppages, running this way and that to create options, as they say. But nothing came off. It was hard not to think also that as Carlton's marquee player, effectively, he was depended upon for more than link play. Professionalism is well and good, but as the margin widened, the plot called for a dash of Daisy magic. None was forthcoming.

He swapped long-sleeved jumper for sleeveless. The image was of a man rolling up his sleeves, but it was not the effect. The shape of the game pushed him like a gale further and further in defence. In the third quarter, that was the Collingwood cheer squad end, and it was not a pleasant place. Boos for kick-outs, boos for handball receives, booing as ritual, boos for booing's sake.

The night reached its moment of low farce when Thomas, with a free in the back-pocket, kicked into Luke Ball on the mark, then in his frustration pushed Ball to the ground. Pendlebury flew the Magpie flag, and variations remonstrations ensued. Once, this might have been a bit of rough-and-tumble at Collingwood training. But no-one's heart really was in it; this night, they could not even do pantomime convincingly.

Thomas could only watch as Pendlebury languidly tore apart another game. Thomas and Pendlebury have been bracketed for 10 years in Gippsland, in the highest reaches of the draft, at the Magpies, and on the premiership dais, but this night they could not have been in more contrasting places. At Collingwood, Thomas's No. 13 was iconic. At Carlton, he wears No. 39, an anonymous guernsey, fading with the night. Thomas circa 2010 had presence. Thomas, the 2014 vintage, does not.

Collingwood's forward line did not function with much more fluency than Carlton's, but it did enough. Carlton, in heritage jumpers, played heritage football. Sadly for the the Blues, this is 2014. Collingwood, in classic jumpers, played what in 2014 passes for classic football. But it was symptomatic of the night that the Magpies did not complete the kill with any sort of ruthlessness.

But Carlton's eight-goals-to-four last quarter will have deluded neither club. Both clubs would have gone home a little displeased. Civil, but desultory handshakes signalled the end for Thomas and the Magpies.

'Tis done. Collingwood has another win over Carlton. This was a scrappy six-goal win, if there is such a thing, but they all count double between these clubs.

Thomas and the Magpies have each other out of their systems. He's a Carlton player now, through and through, with all that might mean in the next five years. He did just enough on the night for the Blues to be happy to have him, and little enough for the Magpies to say you can have him. The intrigue about Thomas now is not how he fares against Collingwood, but whether again he can perform for Carlton as he once did for the Magpies.

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
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CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
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GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
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COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
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CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
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Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
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SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
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RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
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MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
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ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
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ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
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NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
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GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
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WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
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GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
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COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
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ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
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BRI vs CAR 19:20G
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
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GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
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NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
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STK vs SYD 15:20ES
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
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AFL 2015
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Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
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