Blake Acres will join his third club next season, with the wingman headed to Ikon Park to play for the Blues in 2023.
Following the Dockers loss in the semi-final to Collingwood, Acres was one of a raft of Fremantle players who requested a trade away from the club with Acres making his intentions clear that he would like to play for Carlton in 2023.
The 26-year-old was traded to the Blues on the second day of Trade Perio for a future third-round selection.
The experienced winger arrives at his third club after playing 120 at both Fremantle and St Kilda previously and comes to Ikon Park with a defined role earmarked in Michael Voss’ side.
The missing link?
Blake Acres will more than likely take up a much-needed wing role at the Blues who have a notable lack of strength at this position. With Acres placed on a wing, it creates vulnerability for the likes of Will Setterfield, Matthew Cottrell, and Lochie O’Brien who took the majority of the wing minutes in 2022.
With the addition of Acres, it will also mean that players that would traditionally rotate their primary positions and the wing may be restricted to only their original position. Players like Sam Docherty from half-back and Zac Fisher from half-forward are some of those.
Acres will offer exactly what the Blues need from their needed wing position. This season, he averaged a career-high 21.7 disposals (at 74.7 percent) and 5.8 marks to go along with 2.7 tackles, it was a fantastic year from Acres, and Blues may have found a bargain.
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Does Acres walk into the 22 or have to earn his spot?
As mentioned, Carlton had a significant depth struggle at the wing position, struggling to secure two reliable wingers for the past two seasons. Will Setterfield and Lochie O’Brien started the year on the wing with as many as five players rotating through the position throughout the year for Carlton. With Matthew Cottrell finishing the year strongly in that position and O’Brien falling out of the side.
Blake Acres might be that wingman alongside Cottrell that Carlton is needing. While a long way out, it is expected that Acres does start in Round 1 on that wing position and offers that two-way running and brilliant ball use that the Blues so desperately need if they are to push for finals.
Given Acres’ experience, it doesn’t look to be an ideal situation for those fringe wingers Will Setterfield (if he remains on the list) and Lochie O’Brien who may have to earn their way into the team either onto that opposite wing role or even be trialed in a new position and give them a second opportunity seeing as their time on the wing hasn’t been as they had hoped.
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