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North Melbourne midfielder Tarryn Thomas returned to the football field on Sunday, playing with the Roos’ VFL side after spending time away from the club following allegations of threatening behaviour from multiple women.
The 23-year-old took a while to work his way into his side’s 66-point thumping of Sandringham at Arden Street Oval in front of a smattering of fans. He had just four touches to half-time but ramped up to deliver a huge final term, finishing with 18 disposals and three tackles. At times, he also played more of a defensive role in the midfield, as well as on the ball.
Tarryn Thomas played all four quarters in his VFL return.Credit: Getty Images
Playing the four quarters out is a good indicator of his fitness in his first game back in competitive football this year.
Thomas has been unavailable for selection for the opening eight rounds of the AFL season as he met club-imposed requirements, including building back the trust of his teammates.
Earlier this week, both North Melbourne chief executive Jennifer Watt and Kangaroos’ general manager of football, Todd Viney signed off on Thomas’ return to competitive football after a few weeks earlier declaring he had more work to do.
Thomas has been training with the club’s VFL team and working for a cleaning business.
His absence was prolonged by a lack of fitness, due to his time away from club, and then, according to North Melbourne, failing to meet required standards of improvement in his respect and responsibility education program.
North coach Alastair Clarkson said on Thursday he was hopeful Thomas could return to the senior program in the next two weeks, depending on his VFL appearance. Viney also previously stated Thomas’ teammates would have a say on when he would be available for selection.
“He’s progressing along really well from what we’re led to believe,” Clarkson said.
“He’s a listed player at our footy club and mates with the players, they’re keen for him to get his life sorted and get back to doing what he does really, really well, and that’s playing AFL footy.
“Hopefully it’ll be pretty soon.”
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