CARLTON football operations manager Andrew McKay says Blues fans need not fear about prized recruit Dale Thomas.
McKay confirmed yesterday afternoon that Thomas had a chest infection – not the ankle problems that have plagued his past two seasons at Collingwood – but he was a late withdrawal from playing in Ballarat.
Thomas had been set to make his club debut in this evening’s NAB Challenge match against North Melbourne at Eureka Stadium.
“There’s no need for alarm, it’s got nothing to do with his ankle or foot. It’s a chest infection that has taken us a little by surprise,” McKay told CarltonTV.
“He’s been a little unwell the past day or two. The doctors think it’s viral but it’s certainly minor. He’ll be back for the Adelaide game next week.
“We just think it’s really important we don’t push him into this game tomorrow.”
The Blues announced Thomas’ scratching via social media, after he missed training yesterday morning.
He has been replaced in the Blues’ 29-man squad by Dennis Armfield, which McKay said was a great opportunity for the young defender.
Teams will be cut to 26 players 90 minutes before the game with six players on the bench, rather than three, and the interchange cap lifted to 130 rotations.
North Melbourne will sport its headline recruits Nick Dal Santo (a former Saint) and Robin Nahas (Richmond) who, like Thomas, joined their new club as free agents.
Kangaroos fans are also set to see the highly-touted father-son draftee Luke McDonald, who spent last season playing with the club’s Victorian Football League partner Werribee.
The Kangaroos will sport a near full-strength team, the only major on-field absentee is captain Andrew Swallow in his continued rehabilitation from Achilles surgery.
Hometown hero Drew Petrie will skipper the Kangaroos on his old home turf.
Play starts at 4.40pm with gates to open at 3pm.
North Ballarat Roosters and Northern Blues, Victorian Football League partners to each club, will play a practice match from 7.15pm.