How the former Blue expects the young ruckman to ‘take his game to the next level’


Former Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer is excited about Tom De Koning’s future.

Kreuzer, now 33, has worked closely with the 23-year-old after he returned to the club as ruck coach ahead of the 2022 season.

Having played 189 games in the role from 2008-2020, Kreuzer has a deep understanding of ruck craft and believes De Koning has several elite traits.

While De Koning only functioned as the club’s first-choice ruck when Marc Pittonet was injured in Round 6, Kreuzer believes the growth he has achieved over that time will keep his future in good stead.

“It was great for Tommy last year (to play), but obviously it was sad for Pitto to fall,” Kreuzer said on Mornings SEN.

“But it gave Tommy his chance to be that number one ruck for several weeks.

“We saw the growth in that time where he was playing exactly what he can do.

“He has that power and that real x-factor, he can take good notes and his following is amazing.”

Having spent most of his 41 senior games in a forward/ruck role, Kreuzer believes De Koning can ‘take his game to the next level’ with a big pre-season in the weight room as he looks to mature in his sixth year at the level.

“Tom is still young and developing,” Kreuzer said.

“Just having those games under his belt and training to get his strength so he can compete with your Gawn, Grundy and Sean Darcy (will help).

“Just a little more time in the gym getting bigger and stronger and getting games under his belt will take his game to the next level.”

Carlton’s first-to-four-year-olds are set to begin pre-season training next Monday with the rest of the group set to return in early December.


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