13/04/2024

A Blues favourite has made his return to the track. Image: Rose Zarucky/@rosewithone_eye on Instagram.

Despite fears injury would de-rail his season, Carlton's Sam Walsh has returned to full training.

Carlton continue to elevate following a comfortable 56-point win over North Melbourne on Good Friday in which they welcomed back star defender Jacob Weitering, with Sam Walsh participating in main training.

Walsh impressed on the track today as the Blues prepare to travel to Adelaide Oval for their Gather Round clash on Saturday.

Whilst most of the drills completed were light in comparison to some of their brutal pre-season sessions, Walsh took to the track with ease – sprinting, changing direction and hitting targets.

It is a welcome sign for the Carlton faithful who have waited with bated breath amidst whispers that he had repeated the same injury which saw him undergo surgery towards the back end of 2022. 

The group looked fit and ready to take on the challenge of an emerging Fremantle side, with only a handful of players on light duties.

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David Cuningham (calf), Jack Martin (hamstring) and Jesse Motlop (hamstring) participated in a skills session and ran laps throughout the morning.

Matt Carroll (groin) has began working his way into main sessions, with a return to full fitness scheduled for Round Seven. 

Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow continued to put in overtime, practicing their set shots during breaks in training. 

Captain Patrick Cripps also focussed on his goal kicking throughout the session, plying his trade whilst the main group participated in simulation drills.

Cripps has been a standout in the Blues’ electric start to the year, and his improved kicking – both field and set shot – has added even more depth to his game. 

It is an exciting time for the Blues as they continue to find new ways to win.

Dominating scores from stoppage last year, they have been able to increase their ability to punish off turnover so far this season – currently ranked second in the competition in this metric. 

Their depth continues to develop, too, with an array of players performing well on the track including draftees Billy Wilson, Ashton Moir and Rob Monahan.

Lachlan Cowan and Jaxon Binns also continue to stake their claim for selection, with Binns breaking tackles on multiple occasions throughout their match simulation.

It is a testament to the strength of the Blues’ new additions, as well as their access to talent in the backline, that these two remain in the Carlton Reserves lineup. 

Adding Sam Walsh to the mix whilst their depth develops steadily is a luxury for a team that has already won their first three games of the season. 

As a collective, the group showed good synergy and connection despite the session being a relatively light one. The competition for spots remains an evident focal point, with internal pressure like this not having been seen at the club for a number of years – one of many reasons why the group continues to reach new heights. 

It also brings to the fore the squad mentality – with severe injuries plaguing many teams across the board so far in 2024, it will take a galvanised and connected group to push into the pointy end of the year. 

A group that is Stronger Together, one might say. 

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