Defensive switch lands Thomas a new deal with Carlton

A late-career move down back has paid dividends for Dale Thomas with the AFL veteran signing a one-year contract to extend his stay at Carlton.

The 31-year-old will play on for a 14th season in 2019 after averaging 22.5 disposals - the most since 2011 - as part of the Blues' defensive unit this year.

Dale Thomas has re-signed with Carlton.

Photo: AAP

Thomas, who has played most of his career forward and in the midfield, said the decision to throw him a new test in his twilight years had been revitalising.

"I found this year really refreshing on-field despite the results not going our way," the 238-gamer with Collingwood and Carlton said in a statement.

"I've really enjoyed challenging myself in the new defensive role at half-back and I have relished working closely with the younger boys in our backline this year."

Coach Brendon Bolton said Thomas, who crossed from the Magpies at the end of 2013, still has "plenty to offer" the Blues both on and off the field.

"He finished the year strongly in that new-found defensive role," Bolton said.

"He lifts others and contributes strongly to our program. This season 'Daisy' has particularly grown off the field and has taken to mentoring a number of our young players."

Thomas is poised to be Carlton's second-oldest squad member for next season after the Blues re-signed 34-year-old favourite son Kade Simpson last week.

Meanwhile, Essendon have announced that James Stewart and Jayden Laverde have had their contracts extended by two years, until at least the end of 2020.

“I’m excited to spend the next two years at Essendon. I believe this side is on the cusp of something special and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together as a team,” Stewart said.

Laverde said he was thrilled to extend his time at the club.

“The club has a bright future ahead and I’m looking forward to being a consistent contributor to the side over the next two years,” he said.

AAP 

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