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Blues make formal free agent offer to star Pie Thomas

Thomas 'excited' to join Blues Dale Thomas reveals his reasons for leaving Collingwood and joining Carlton
Dale Thomas of the Collingwood Magpies and Adam Goodes of the Sydney Swans address the media during filming of a Cadbury television commercial at Coles in Flemington, Melbourne. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Dale Thomas is expected to be a Carlton player very soon
(I'm) thankful to all the supporters, they've been fantastic. Obviously now they won’t be supporting me
Dale Thomas
DALE Thomas says the timing is right for his proposed move from Collingwood to Carlton, where he will be reunited with his former coach Mick Malthouse.

The Blues lodged the paperwork detailing their offer (reportedly a four-year deal worth more than $2.5 million) to the restricted free agent on Monday afternoon.

Under AFL rules, the Magpies now have three days to match the Blues' offer to the 26-year-old.

Thomas said he had endured a "tough couple of years" at Collingwood with his output cruelled by injury, but he was excited about a fresh start at the Blues. 

However, he admitted it had been a difficult decision to leave the Magpies. 

"It's obviously really tough. I've got some mates coming on this trip with me from the Pies. My friends are still going to be my friends," he told Fox Sports at Melbourne Airport.

"I've had a great time at Collingwood. (I'm) thankful to all the supporters, they've been fantastic. Obviously now they won’t be supporting me. I've had a great ride, some wonderful times, obviously winning a premiership there, (but) I'm looking forward to this next chapter."

Thomas didn't attend the Pies' best and fairest count on Friday night but insists there are no ill feelings between him and the club – "not from my end anyway."

He said Pies coach Nathan Buckley had accepted his decision.

"He took it pretty well," he said. "I called him up and then went in and had a meeting with him on Friday ... '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 still 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 also confident his troublesome ankle, which has hampered him over the past two seasons, is on the improve and will allow him to return to his best. A premiership star in 2010, he was an All Australian midfielder the following year.

"It's been sweet for probably a month now so (I'm) back running and doing all the things I like, and can’t wait to get into pre-season," he said.

"It's a fresh start, an exciting challenge and I'm really going to have to knuckle down, obviously get the ankle right and hopefully play some really good footy for the Blues – a team on the improve."

As trade talks began at Etihad Stadium on Monday, Blues football manager Andrew McKay confirmed the club had submitted "a reasonable offer" to Thomas.
"It depends on Collingwood, I suppose, and whether they give us indication today or over the next few days," McKay said.