Dale Thomas has received strong support from his old AFL coach Mick Malthouse, who says the Carlton star is being judged unfairly.
Malthouse coached Thomas at Collingwood and Carlton and is well-known for being a big fan of the utility.
The spotlight is on Thomas after a quiet round-one game in the loss to Richmond.
“So what’s happened – everyone has judged him on one game, have they?,” Malthouse told SEN.
“I am staggered … I have seen some miserable performances from some very, very talented players.
“It’s a real shame, the bloke deserves a bit more of an opportunity.”
Malthouse noted other prominent players also had quiet games in round one and singled out Sydney onballer Dan Hannebery.
There is speculation about Thomas’ future beyond this season and Malthouse called on the Blues to back the player.
“He needs to know that he’s wanted – that’s the first thing,” Malthouse said.
Thomas was recovering from a long-term ankle injury when he joined Carlton from Collingwood at the end of the 2013 season.
After 20 games in 2014, a shoulder injury early in the 2015 season opener ruined his year.
Thomas played 18 games last season and Malthouse continues to sing his praises.
“He’s just an outstanding person. He’s such a team man,” Malthouse said.
“Rarely do you get people who have that charisma about them who don’t stand up and think a little bit about themselves – he is just so team oriented and club oriented.
“I was very keen to get him there, because of his experience.
“He brings people back into the fold and makes sure they think about high achievement, as opposed to just running around – of course I wanted him there.”