New Blue after kick-off debut
CARLTON’S No1. draft pick, Sam Walsh, is setting his sights on a Round 1 debut with the Blues this year.
Just six weeks into his first AFL pre-season, the prize selection said he was using an opening round berth against Richmond as motivation each time he stepped onto the training track this summer.
“That’s the goal for me (Round 1). Obviously, that’s still a long way away and there’s things to be ticked off before then,’’ Walsh said.
“But that’s the motivation towards training and wanting to get better and then hopefully I will reach that goal.’’
Walsh was taken with the first pick overall in the AFL national draft last year after an eye-catching season in the under-18s.
As he joined his his fellow draftees at the annual AFLPA/ AFL induction camp at Marvel Stadium yesterday, Walsh said he felt he had settled in quickly the life at the Blues.
Although the 18-year-old admitted backing up from strenuous pre-season training sessions had been the toughest adjustment.
“It’s been unreal. I’ve loved every minute of it really,’’ Walsh said.
“I couldn’t ask for a better club to welcome. The training that we have been doing has been great. I feel like I’m improving every day. I’m starting to feel really settled.
“I thought I was pretty prepared coming in, but just backing it up every day is how you improve. But it is also a bit of a grind at times. I love that day-to-day stuff, but you’ve got to recover well otherwise it catches up with you.’’
Walsh said he had been doing most of his training with the Blues’ midfield group and expected his role to include a mix of inside and outside midfield play.
And he has taken every opportunity to learn from the established players.
“I’ve been lucky at Carlton everyone has been great in terms of getting around me and especially that young midfield group. We have all been working really well together,’’ he said.
“Early on I was lucky enough to live with Patrick Cripps, Zac Fisher and Darcy Lang and they’ve been a huge help just to get a feel for what AFL life is like and things outside of the club that you do.’’
The draftees’ induction camp is held over two days - the players’ association leads the program on day one and the AFL today.
“Already at the start we had a talk from ‘Joey’ (Leigh) Montagna and talked about the ups and downs of AFL football,’’ Walsh said.