MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Blues head coach Michael Malthouse looks ahead on the boundary line next to Dale Thomas of the Blues during the round seven AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Etihad Stadium on May 16, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Former Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has defended bringing Dale Thomas with him to IKON Park following his departure from Collingwood.

Thomas’ form has been a far cry from that expected of a player believed to be on around $700,000 a year, with Malthouse forced to defend the 2011 All-Australian.

“His form in the practice matches (in 2015) was outstanding. In fact, he was probably one of our best players if not the best, then he pops his shoulder in the first tackle in the first minute of the first game. That effectively writes him out of half a year,” Malthouse said on SEN radio on Monday.

“He just got dealt a bad hand, and that happens in football.

“He was in very, very good nick coming into that season that he did his shoulder.”

With Thomas entering the final year of his lucrative contract, Malthouse said he only played a small role in the decision to sign the man known as ‘Daisy’, alluding to the fact that it was a call made by the list management team, but added “of course I wanted him there”.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 23: Dale Thomas of the Blues and Jason Castagna of the Tigers in action during the 2017 AFL round 01 match between the Carlton Blues and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Malthouse tried to turn the spotlight off his former player and put the heat on Sydney on-baller Daniel Hannebery instead.

“Daniel Hannebery had a stinker for Sydney on the weekend but we’re not going to make a big fuss over Dan Hannebery, but for one reason or another he (Thomas) has been targeted, which is a real shame,” Malthouse said.

“Everyone’s just judged him (Thomas) on one game, have they?”

“There’s been nine games on the weekend, I’ve seen some very very miserable performances by some very talented players and the heat goes on to Daisy Thomas because one bloke from the Herald Sun wants to put him under the spotlight.”

That “one bloke” from the Herald Sun is Mark Robinson, who questioned whether the Thomas contract is the worst in AFL history.

Thomas has a trigger in his contract – believed to be 15 games – that would guarantee him a further season at the club on a similar amount of money, however, his management has already begun discussions with the club abount lowering the dollar figure on the contract if Thomas was to play on.

Even with Carlton’s efforts to rebuild, Malthouse stated Thomas still had high value at the club by saying he was an exceptional team man.

“He’s so good with young players and if Carlton are going down the road of young players he can only be an advantage for them.”

Thomas signed with the Blues at the end of 2013, but has managed just 44 games in three years at the club due to form and several injuries.