As one door opened for Dale Thomas at Carlton on Monday, another officially closed as it sent Blues ruckman Shaun Hampson to Richmond.
The Blues will receive Richmond’s second-round pick, No. 28 overall, in exchange for the man who began the season as part of Mick Malthouse’s forward structure but slipped out of favour.
Richmond football boss Dan Richardson said Hampson would provide valuable support for frontline big man Ivan Maric, easing the need for Tyrone Vickery to be used as a back-up ruckman.
”Tyrone’s been playing mostly forward, anyway. If Hampson is to come in, we’re certainly looking for him to complement our ruck stocks and share the load with Ivan,” Richardson said.
Hampson played 63 matches for the Blues, but only six this year, having been taken with the 17th pick in the 2006 national draft.
But Richardson ruled out making a bid for Geelong veteran Paul Chapman. ”I don’t know where [those reports] come from actually. We haven’t really had any discussion at all about Chappy.”
He also ruled out a bid for Collingwood’s Heath Shaw.
While Shaw waits, another Magpie is about to begin a new life, with Thomas joining the Blues.
Before heading overseas for a break, Thomas said on Monday he had endured a ”tough couple of years” at Collingwood but looked forward to reinvigorating his career at Carlton on what is understood to be a four-year contract worth almost $3 million.
Having battled ankle problems in the past two years and managing only five senior matches this season and none since round seven, the 2010 premiership star said he was keen to again link with Malthouse, his former Collingwood coach.
”I’m very excited [to] get back with Mick obviously, getting to Carlton, a team on the improve, and hopefully I can play some good footy there,” he said.
Thomas said his ankle had been ”sweet” for a month, while the Blues are confident he will be a force in the midfield and also kick some goals.
Thomas, who bypassed the Magpies’ best-and-fairest count last Friday, said he had no ill feelings towards his former club, where he played 157 matches.
Thomas, 26, said Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley had accepted his decision.
”I called him up and then obviously went in and had a meeting with him,” he said. ”Bucks has got no hard feelings. I explained my decision to him and he was happy with that.
”He’s obviously got a fantastic group there at Collingwood and he’s going to steer them in the direction he wants. Hopefully it won’t be too good against Carlton, but I wish those boys all the best of luck.”
Thomas is one of four so-called ”rat pack” members to have left, or be leaving, Collingwood. Ben Johnson retired through the season, Alan Didak has been delisted, while Shaw will traded, should a suitable deal be done.
Thomas’ defection means the Blues have ultimately secured the top two picks of the 2005 national draft. Marc Murphy was taken as a priority pick at No. 1, with Thomas also a priority at No. 2.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.