Former AFL footballer Lindsay Thomas made a big return to football in Port Lincoln at the weekend, playing in his first Mortlock Shield and finishing with some major carnival honours.
Thomas, who retired from AFL football last season after 205 games with North Melbourne and seven with Port Adelaide, represented Lincoln Districts at the annual carnival on Saturday and Monday.
I always admired the Mortlock Shield as a kid and kept an eye on it, even when I was living in Melbourne.Lindsay Thomas
He was one of the players brought in to play under the 'League of Origin' rule, which allowed teams to field up to four former Eyre Peninsula players.
As a former junior player with Mallee Park, Thomas was invited to join the Lincoln Districts team for this year's carnival.
Thomas had a big impact in both of Lincoln Districts' games, showcasing great ball handling skills and kicking five goals in each game.
This lead to him sharing this year's Bampton Medal for player of the carnival with Great Flinders' Xavier Watson and finishing with the Laurie Martin Trophy for leading goal kicker with 10 goals. He was also named full forward in the team of the carnival.
Thomas said it was a great experience taking part in the carnival for the first time as a player.
He said he had been living away from Port Lincoln for about 15 years and when the Port Lincoln Football League offered the opportunity for him to play in the Mortlock Shield, he was keen to play.
"I thought it would be a great opportunity," he said.
"I always admired the Mortlock Shield as a kid and kept an eye on it, even when I was living in Melbourne."
Thomas had previously been involved in the Mortlock Shield carnival as an assistant coach with the EP Shark Warriors in 2017 for their opening game against Great Flinders.
The Sharks did not take part in this year's carnival to make an even number of teams.
Lincoln Districts went undefeated for the weekend, defeating Far West by 17 points on Saturday and Mid West by 13 points on Monday, but finished second behind Great Flinders on percentage.
Thomas returned to Adelaide on Monday, where he plays for Portland Football Club in the Adelaide Footy League's Division Three.
He has kicked 21 goals so far this year for Portland and sits in equal sixth in the division's goal kicking list.