AFL news; Michael Voss explains decision to Tom De Koning

Carlton coach Michael Voss is confident axed big-man Tom de Koning will be back in the team “pretty soon” after confirming he was overlooked for the clash with West Coast on form reasons.

The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and looms as one of the AFL’s most sought-after players.

Having been left out of the previous week’s loss to St Kilda because he was, according to Voss, a bit “banged up”, De Koning will play in the VFL, not in Perth.

But Voss said the rising star knows exactly where he stands and expected him to be back in the senior side sooner rather than later.

“It’s nothing but (form). We’ve got to look at the list profile and the skill sets we need and we have to be able to balance that up with what we need to get from him,” Voss said on Friday.

“He’s pretty clear on what he needs to go back and work on. He’s a bit banged up last week, so we gave him a rest. He obviously gets to go back to the VFL to work on his game.

“But he’s a pretty important person to us so I’d imagine he’ll be back ion the team pretty soon.”

Voss said De Koning was “absolutely” in Carlton’s long-term plans and scoffed at a suggestion his axing could impact any ongoing contract talks.

“I wouldn’t have thought so, it doesn’t work that way,” he said.

Carlton are short-priced favourites to get a fourth win for the season against the injury-hit Eagles but Voss said any suggestions his side should walk over the home team were misplaced.

“We don’t think like that,” he said.

“That maybe something people will speculate on and put their projections in on which games we should win. But we have an expectation on the way we want to play.”

Voss also called star defender Jacob Weitering “courageous” for coming forward and telling his story about losing his life-savings to scammers.

The Carlton coach said it could not only help others, but was an example of the sort of off-field challenges AFL players can face.

“He’s been amazing with the way that he handled himself and I think he’s been incredibly courageous with the way he has come out and told his story for the benefit of others” Voss said.

“If he can share his story, hopefully it raises awareness.

“He’s been quietly dealing with it in the background and it probably shows you what some of these guys go through and are dealing with they still have a life and some challenges to overcome.”

Originally published as Carlton coach Michael Voss explains decision to axe young ruckman Tom De Koning

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