Thomas won't go to altitude during AFL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thomas won't go to altitude during AFL ban

By Roger Vaughan 30/08/2011 03:49:22 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood's uncertain schedule beyond their AFL qualifying final has helped rule out a bout of altitude training for suspended star Dale Thomas.

The Magpies will not challenge Thomas' two-match ban for rough conduct, meaning he will miss the Friday-night blockbuster against Geelong and then the qualifying final against West Coast.

If Collingwood win the qualifying final, Thomas will be out of action for nearly a month, until the September 23-24 preliminary finals.

But if they are upset in week one of the finals, Thomas would be back for the September 16-17 semi-final weekend.

Magpies football manager Geoff Walsh said that element of doubt meant it was too risky to send Thomas to Arizona for altitude work.

Collingwood are strong advocates of altitude training, most recently sending defender Heath Shaw to Arizona during his eight-week betting suspension.

"There are a few too many variables in that, we sent Heath obviously," Walsh said.

"But Heath was out for eight weeks, Daisy is a short time.

"In terms of the result, we don't know when our next game is after (the qualifying final).

"That, coupled with the fact there's a certain minimum time you should spend in Arizona to get the benefits, according to our sports scientists, it's probably a bit of a long bow."

Collingwood also weighed up the pros and cons before deciding to take an early plea on the Thomas case.

The star midfielder would have risked a three-game ban had he gone to the tribunal - meaning he might not have returned until the grand final.

"You need to weigh up all the circumstances on an individual case - there are times under the system that there might not be too much downside, that you can go to the tribunal," Walsh said.

"If your case doesn't get up, the penalty virtually remains the same.

"But that wasn't the case in this situation, the downside would have been the three matches.

"That's a pretty hefty gamble, if you like.

"We didn't at any stage seriously consider that."

Thomas received a loading on this suspension because he had also been suspended earlier this year for one game.

That loading made it even tougher for Collingwood to take his case to the tribunal.

Walsh said Thomas would be well aware of the consequences of the penalty.

"Daisy is a pretty intelligent guy, he would understand that himself, that he's not much use to the club sitting on the sidelines," Walsh said.

The `Pies football manager also said that regardless of Collingwood's depth of talent, it would be tough to replace Thomas.

"Dale has been one of our best-performed players of the year, he'll take a fair bit of replacing," Walsh said.

"In theory it's good, as Mick (coach Mick Malthouse) has been able to do, to introduce young players to the team in the last six to eight weeks.

"But we're talking about a guy who's had a stellar season, he's pretty hard to replace."

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