Dale Thomas on the free agency radar
Dale Thomas on the free agency radar

Dale Thomas could be the next big name to move clubs as a free agent, with the star Magpie's contract ending at the end of 2013.

Speculation on who could be the next star to cross clubs in 2013 has already begun despite a ball not yet being kicked in anger.

Thomas becomes a restricted free agent, but Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley just accepts the speculation that will go with it as a part of footy, the Herald Sun reported.

"We've got Dale Thomas who has got another 12 months of a contract and then he becomes a restricted free agent," coach Nathan Buckley said.

"There's going to be one story in the next 12 months that becomes bigger than others because it becomes the free agent story of the year.

"Now, Collingwood has probably had that two out of three years.

"Pendles (Scott Pendlebury) was big in the first year of GWS (Giants), and Clokey (Travis Cloke) was big.

"And Collingwood's a big club and we know we're going to get a lot of speculation about us."

Buckley felt that speculation regarding the future of star forward Travis Cloke affected his form throughout the season.

More from 7Sport

Indigenous stars Lance Franklin and Shaun Burgoyne have both excelled in a thrilling AFL match at the SCG, where Hawthorn have beaten Sydney by six points.