17/04/2024

Charlie Curnow is back to his very best in 2022 (PHOTO: 7AFL Twitter)

Carlton's forward line has looked dangerous in the first five rounds of the 2022 AFL season with the return of key forward Charlie Curnow.

Carlton’s forward line has looked dangerous in the first five rounds of the 2022 AFL season with the return of key forward Charlie Curnow.

The Blues sit 4-1 after defeating a fast finishing Power outfit on Sunday afternoon, with Curnow kicking five goals.

Curnow missed the back half of 2019, the entirety of 2020 and the majority of the 2021 season with recurring knee injuries that nearly derailed the emerging forward’s young career.

He was injured in round 15 of the 2019 season, before suffering three further setbacks in November 2019, April 2020 and November 2020.

This meant that his return to the game was delayed all the way until round 20 of 2021.

Carlton forward coach Ash Hansen still believes Curnow’s return is only the beginning, stating, “I’m not sure what Charlie’s 100% looks like yet.”

“I think he’s trending in the right direction after not playing a lot of footy.

“He’s still creating that belief in his game and learning how to play a part of our system.

“Without doubt, his performances have been really important in the first five games.”

The powerful forward duo of Curnow and last year’s Coleman Medallist Harry McKay has helped lift the Blues to their best start to a year since 2012, with the two combining for over a third of the team’s goals.

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Both McKay and Curnow are having career best years aiming for goal, kicking at 60 and 66.7% respectively.

Curnow’s kicking is currently ranked elite by the AFL, with his 5.1 effort on Sunday helping to sway the statistics.

Assistant coach Aaron Hamill is equally as impressed with his output this season, saying “Charlie is a by-product of hard work.”

“He’s set himself up over the preseason…a really strong four months which was a good block for him.

“He’s no where near a finished product… Ash (Hansen) is in charge of him and will sharpen him up the right way.

“He’s got a lot of growth in him but we really like and we’re encouraged by what we see.”

Curnow’s career best in goals for a season is 34, which came in 2018. This record looks set to fall with 14 already in 2022.

The main issue now for the Blues is their second half performances, with the team conceding 22.17 in second halves in the past three rounds, with an inaccurate 7.16 in retaliation.

They will need Curnow and the rest of the forward line to maintain a four quarter effort in round 6, with a tough game against second-placed Fremantle.

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