Pittonet deal not linked to De Koning future: Voss

Anna Harrington |

Coach Michael Voss insists Carlton’s decision to hand ruckman Marc Pittonet a four-year contract doesn’t mean in-demand young tall Tom De Koning is out the door.

Pittonet, 26, has re-signed until the end of 2027, and is currently the Blues’ No.1 ruckman, while De Koning has missed the past five games between being relegated to the VFL and dealing with concussions.

The ruck-forward is out of contract at the end of the season and has put off talks, amid links to Geelong, where younger brother Sam plays, St Kilda and Sydney.

Spearheads Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay are signed on long-term deals, limiting De Koning’s options up forward.

But Voss was adamant locking in Pittonet didn’t reflect concerns over De Koning’s future.

“As far as we’re concerned, I think what naturally people do is they look at one and that equals the other. It doesn’t, it doesn’t impact it at all,” Voss told reporters.

“What we’re obviously really pleased with is that we were able to get obviously Pitto done and the position’s been pretty clear for us from the very start around where Tom wanted to wait until the end of the year. 

“So we’re happy to support that and we’re gonna get the best out of him as best as we possibly can and hopefully that means that he’s staying with the Carlton Football Club, because we want him to stay. He’s an important person to us.

“But the ongoing chat around ‘is he here or isn’t he’ – I think there’s a lot of assumptions that get made about our list management strategy and they are assumptions and that’s it.”

De Koning will “come under strong consideration” to face the Swans at the SCG on Friday night after performing well in the VFL.

Carlton entered the season with high expectations but losses to the Brisbane Lions, Western Bulldogs and Collingwood have bumped them down to 11th and put their finals hopes in the balance.

It prompted president Luke Sayers to publicly back Voss on Monday.

“It’s support for our program,” Voss said. 

“From our perspective, we feel like we’ve got a really good program here. We’re providing a really strong environment. 

“We’re going through a bit of a tough patch at the moment that we hope we’re gonna work through and through sticking together and staying pretty strong together by having a really challenging environment and given that clarity that we need, we feel like we can work through it. 

“Our goals don’t change but at the same time, we’ve very much got our sights on this weekend’s game.”

Voss stressed tough conversations were happening internally.

“Sometimes what might be deemed as support publicly doesn’t mean you’re not challenging behind the scenes,” he said.