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Dale Thomas to sign four-year deal with Carlton

Collingwood's Dale Thomas is on the move.

Collingwood's Dale Thomas is on the move. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Collingwood's decorated midfielder Dale Thomas is set to join Carlton as a free agent, with the Blues about to secure him on a four-year deal worth close to $700,000 a season.

Thomas, a 2010 premiership player, 2011 All-Australian and one of the most popular Collingwood players, will exercise his right as a restricted free agent and nominate the Blues as his preferred club.

Dale Thomas has struggled with an ankle injury.

Dale Thomas has struggled with an ankle injury. Photo: Getty Images

The Magpies were uncertain late on Thursday whether Thomas would attend the club's best and fairest on Friday night. Thomas had indicated he would attend the Copeland Trophy on Wednesday, but this could be re-considered, given that the Blues could lodge the contract with the AFL today - and, in effect, Thomas would be attending the function as a Carlton player-in-waiting.

While the Magpies are entitled to match the offer and retain Thomas - or force him to seek a trade - the chances of this happening are close to zero, given that Thomas wants to play for the Blues and reunite with both his old coach Mick Malthouse and former chief executive and good friend Greg Swann. The Pies are reconciled to losing him and are likely to receive pick No.11 in the national draft as compensation for Thomas, who has been afflicted with ankle injuries over the past two seasons.

Carlton is understood to be satisfied with specialists' medical reports on Thomas' ankle and are prepared to give him a four-year deal, around the $700,000 mark - similar to the deal that saw Brendon Goddard leave St Kilda for Essendon 12 months ago. Goddard earned St Kilda a first round pick - No. 13 - as compensation.

Dale Thomas and then coach Mick Malthouse in 2011.

Dale Thomas and then coach Mick Malthouse in 2011. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Thomas' decision, however, is not simply about getting the best deal, since Collingwood also had signalled that it might hand him a longer-term deal. If the Pies were willing to match the four year deal - which they won't - then Thomas would rank in the top three for player payments at Collingwood, behind only Travis Cloke and possibly Scott Pendlebury.

The exit of forward Eddie Betts opens up significant room in Carlton's salary cap and assists the Blues in finding room to recruit Thomas, who, like Betts, will be on a four-year deal and is 26. The exit of Thomas and Shaw will open up room in Collingwood's salary cap, which has been extremely tight since the 2010 premiership and 2011 grand final loss. The Magpies are expected to sign Sydney forward Jesse White, subject to striking a deal with the Swans, who need to shed players to accommodate Lance Franklin's massive nine-year contract. They have also had an interest in Greater Western Sydney's Taylor Adams, who has been courted by several Victorian clubs.

148 comments

  • if this is true then I'm filthy on Thomas. The club has built a whole marketing campaign around him with its kids program and there are thousands of supporters out there with number 13 on their back. This shows a blatant disregard for the club and what they have done for him. As for Mick (I could never coach against my boys) Malthouse - don't get me started ion him as well!

    Commenter
    grah58
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    October 03, 2013, 12:49PM
    • Mick's not coaching against his boys anymore mate, he's just coaching them! Hahaha

      Commenter
      Gerard
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 1:26PM
    • Carlton = Collingwood Lite

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 1:37PM
    • Good old Collingwood for never

      Your not the only team in the comp
      Surprise Surprise

      Commenter
      Raymondt2003
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 3:15PM
    • Ahm - so how do you think Geelong fans felt about Gary leaving?

      I reckon there were a lot more kids with his number on their back than Dale Thomas'. Or how are the little Hawks supporters feeling right about now?

      Dale Thomas...please. When you lose a real player you can start whining.

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 3:23PM
    • Blame Buckley. If Thomas prefers to go to Carlton instead of sticking with Collingwood for the same money, instead of sticking with the team and players he's had all his career to bond with, something's made him uncomfortable with staying at Collingwood. I wonder who?

      Maybe Collingwood can get a new young star to switch to 13, although they're probably happier for the kiddies to buy new jumpers.

      Commenter
      Arky
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 3:24PM
    • grah58, he's heading to a club "wiiiiith, alllll the champions"!

      Commenter
      Nobody Want To Stay At
      Location
      "Cooooolllllllingwooooood"
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 4:13PM
    • Eddie Betts doesnt want to play for a team that tanks.

      Commenter
      rod2087
      Location
      price fixers
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 4:51PM
    • It is great to see the toothless Pies fans getting online at the dole office foyer, but...Carlton finished higher than Collingwood this year.

      Oops...

      Buckley has overseen the slamming shut of the Pies' premiership window, while the Blues are on the up.

      Don't let the facts blind your one eye Pies fans.

      Commenter
      Blue Bagger
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 4:57PM
    • careful Daisy - you are going to a club with angry fans, they have started multiple fights at matches this year and threw missiles. Stick to the A league Blue Baggers

      Commenter
      Genghis
      Location
      Lounge
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 6:11PM

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