New Blue after kick-off de­but

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - RE­BECCA WIL­LIAMS

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.

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