Carlton enjoyed its first post-victory training session this week, and the extra spring in the players’ step was an indication of how much the victory over in the west has meant to the club. After three close, competitive outings against highly rated opposition, the Blues were finally able to notch four valuable points and begin their respectable - if slightly delayed – climb up the ladder.
The players looked sharp on the track as coach Mick Malthouse put the boys through their paces, balancing his time between individual instruction and group drills. Malthouse’s guidance was complemented by his support staff of assistant trainers who led smaller groups of the Carlton list through various exercises across the expanse of a sun-drenched Visy Park.
Boundary-side, a select few players undertook restricted activities such as handball drills and non-contact disciplines in an effort to shake off various injuries and soreness. Among the group was ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, on the mend from a damaged thumb sustained against Geelong, as well as young defender Andrew McInnes, still on the road to recovery following last season’s knee reconstruction. Former captain Chris Judd also trained away from the main group, although Judd has participated in a modified fitness and training program for a number of years now.
Fresh from a convincing win in the VFL, regular senior defenders Jeremy Laidler and Nick Duigan both appeared desperate to reclaim their places in the first team with some impressive work during the extended hitout. Another standout from the 26 point victory over the Coburg Tigers was Blues hardnut David Ellard, who put in an energetic effort throughout the morning session.
A sight to warm the hearts of the Carlton faithful during this cold spell was the appearance of injury stricken key forward Jarrad Waite, competing at close to full capacity following a lengthy layoff. The big Blue looked strong and mobile as he pulled in mark after mark, and sent long bombs goalward.
Speedster forward Eddie Betts, sidelined with a broken jaw since Round 1, also looked lively on the track and was involved in heavy traffic training throughout the session, indicating that he cannot be far away from taking his place back in the team.
Of course, the Blues’ hierarchy aren’t going to want to rush anybody back too quickly; however the team list is finally beginning to look healthy once again.
One notable absentee from the main training group was midfielder Marc Murphy, however there were no indications of any injury concerns for the newly installed captain.
Here are some photos from Wednesday’s training session:
|Heath Scotland pretends not to outrun Shaun Hampson|
|Mick instructs Shaun Hampson, drawing heavily on his own 15 goal career with St Kilda & Richmond|
|A game of tights vs shorts|
|Juddy & Kreuz: Taking it easy|
|Andrew McInnes attempts a high jump|
|Tommy Bell runs away with the ball|
|Nick Duigan kicks in from the back pocket|
|A rare shot of Chris Yarran not running|
|Jarrad Waite - not far away from a senior berth?|
|The boys gather under the iconic Legends Stand, Visy Park|