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Walls was justified in criticisms, says Daisy

Dale Thomas admits the facts speak for themselves and Robert Walls was not too far wrong in his stinging assessment of the recruit's underwhelming two years to date at the Blues.

While a shoulder injury last year was out of his control, Thomas admitted it was difficult to argue with some of what the former Carlton premiership player and coach had said in a sharp rebuke to the player at the end of last year.

Thomas was phlegmatic about stinging criticism of him by former Carlton champion Robert Walls at the end of last year when he challenged Thomas for being highly paid and delivering nothing.

"He is the highest paid player at Carlton, which is ridiculous," Walls said on SEN in November.

"He has been there for two years and done nothing.

"Dale, I do not want to see you doing any media – like I don't want to see you doing interviews and jumping around being a clown at training. I want to see you put your head down and your arse up, and deliver something to the Carlton Football Club."


Thomas conceded there was merit in some of what he said even if injuries had robbed him of last season.

"It's sort of interesting, people in the media are paid to have an opinion and that was Robert's opinion. I don't think anything he said was too false, he certainly had a dig but some of those things were out of my control," Thomas said.

"Robert has been a fantastic person around this football club, he was in here the other day. He was just giving his honest opinion and you can't begrudge a bloke for doing that."

Thomas, like Carlton, enters the season managing expectations. For the first two pre-seasons at Carlton, the Blues had to manage expectations about Thomas. This year he is managing them about himself. In the first year he was coming in from an ankle injury, and so the hope and the hype of his very arrival were quickly balanced with the sober reality that his performance in blue would take time to catch up to those of his pomp in black and white.

Last year, the hope and hype returned with the recruit being fit and ready in summer and injured in autumn. That hope and hype of 2015 lasted just 40 seconds of the new year before he did his shoulder and cruelled his season.

This time it is Thomas managing his own expectations.

"I was in a similar spot this time last year, I had done a bulk of the pre-season and was going pretty well and it all went pear-shaped pretty quickly," he said.

"So I am managing my own expectations in terms of just getting through until that first round. I have done a lot of the pre-season and tracking along pretty well."

Having missed so much football, Thomas was eager to be part of the NAB Series for Carlton and did not wish to be nursed back into the game.

"I will certainly be putting my hand up [for all of the NAB Challenge games], I am not sure what the plan is but I think for our supporters and our footy club we will be having a red hot go in the NAB and for myself I haven't played a great deal of footy especially last year so I am looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully run into some form."

The injury being to the shoulder at least meant he was not impeded in running and maintaining a base level of fitness and admitted the year out off his feet in games could have helped his ankle's recovery,

"I can still jump, I can still run, I can still kick the footy which is good to know and hopefully when the games come around you will see a bit of it," he said.

"I have not had a great run but it certainly hasn't been as bad as some others."