The Blues had their first intraclub practise game for 2011 at Visy Park today. It attracted a crowd of 2000 people and also created a flurry of activity across all the Carlton related websites. This is a summary of the best.
From the club itself,
The Herald Sun ran a positive piece,
CARLTON'S mature-aged draftee Nick Duigan was one of the standout performers in the Blues' first competitive hit-out of 2011 at Visy Park today.
As the mercury started rising early yesterday, so too did Blues fans’ hopes that the 26-year-old draft smoky plucked out of the SANFL last November will lock in a spot in the backline in Round 1.
Duigan’s polished display and his fine foot skills were one of the highlights of a spirited and competitive hit-out that pleased coach Brett Ratten.
The Blues took the opportunity yesterday to try some players in new positions, use some new faces and experiment a little ahead of their opening NAB Cup round of matches against Collingwood and Richmond at Etihad Stadium on February 12.
The following album of photos was taken by regular training photographer and photobook user yonniboy,
Meanwhile at TalkingCarlton some of the comments on the game were,
Walker very good up forward, kicked 4 and looks set for a big year. Waite was also good, presented well and with a full pre season under his belt i expect he will be pushing for AA honours this year. Ellard was excellent by foot today and looks to have improved from last year. Expect him to play round 1.
Marcus Davies has put on the most size out of any player this pre season. He is massive and no doubt has been ear marked to play on the Colin Sylvia, Mark LeCras big bodied medium forwards this year. Yarran played across HB and was impressive with run and carry and his delivery by foot was terrific. Bower and Jamison were good in defence
Nick Duigan was also impressive across HB. I like the look of him, tough uncomprising type who will be a fan favorite this year.
Duigan looks the goods simply because he makes few mistakes and makes good decisions. Bower very good run. We need 20-22 games from him to take the extra steps this year. He frees up Waite.
Laidler good for a half. 1 kick off a step over 50 to a running man made me smile. Yaz at half back showed alot of promise. You just know we will still have the ball in a good position once he disposes of it. Walker looks an X prospect for us. 20+ games is a must for us to take another step. JR looks huge and will be hard to pass this year. Very calm and composed when under the pump.
Robo looked calmer and used it well most of the time. When he did kick long I thought it was the right choice.
Houls onball looked sharp and moved very, very well. Hammo never missed a tap out and was jumping well. Not much to beat but he did it convincingly. White calm and collected. Lucas moving well and getting involved due to his hard running. Took a while to spot Kerr but he did some nice things in the 2nd half and has slimmed down this year.
Over at the Carlton Supporters Club the opinion was,
Lots of half-field press, defensive flooding and sideways kicking but the players showed good patience and considerable skill in piercing the zones - either that or the defensive zones were crap. Players who looked in very good form were, on the blue team, Bower (37), Ellard (35), Scotland (31) and Waite (33). Also impressed with bursts by Duigan (18) and Tuohy (14).
Players who looked in very good form were, on the white team, Carrazzo (10), Houlihan (16), Robinson (6), Russell (14) and Walker (24). Laidler also looked the part. Walker, without his shoulders obviously strapped, looks to be every inch a key forward - I have been hoping for him to play there since he played a couple of games there for the Ants a few years ago - about time the club coaches caught on.
Regular senior players Gibbs, Murphy, Simpson, Armfield and Lucas all looked to be travelling well. McLean looks in better shape than last year, which is not saying much, but positive nonetheless.
At Bigfooty the assessment was,
Houlihan and Scotland were the major ball winners and very clean as usual. Duigan was clearly the best of the recruits and is ready made for a debut in rd 1, he seems to know what spaces to run into and I noticed him directing a bit of traffic down back as well, which is the sign of good leadership. Robbo was good in close an his attack at the contest was very good, don't expect much less.
Watson looked much more comfortable down back in the second half after been moved up and down the ground. Walker was a real live-wire up forward and seems to have found his niche up there, backing up what we saw in the qualifying final last year with a few goals and some good marks. Carrots racked up the touches and played to his role like he usually does, but his disposal still lets him down, as does Armfield's, can't question Army's endeavour but he really needs to do something about his kicking
Lucas ran out the game really strong after a quiet first half but it's obvious he's trying to get his fitness back, Yazza showed some glimpses of class but often went missing, I think he's worth persisting with at half back, cos we def need some good ball users coming out of defence.
Not only that but a supporter was taking a little video on the day and it can be seen here as well (check out the Spirit of Carlton donated vehicle towards the end of the video),
As you can see it may have just been an intraclub game but it created a lot of interest. The next intraclub game is on the 5th of February, get down to the club and check it out, and while you are there get your Blues membership if you haven't already.