Blues star Walsh’s return unclear due to ‘grumbly’ back

Oliver Caffrey |

AFL club Carlton are still trying to figure out what is wrong with Sam Walsh’s back.
AFL club Carlton are still trying to figure out what is wrong with Sam Walsh’s back.

Carlton are still trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with Sam Walsh’s back as the star midfielder remains in significant doubt for the Blues’ opening-round match.

Walsh, who won the Gary Ayres Medal as the best player of last year’s AFL finals series, appears certain to miss the Blues’ preliminary final rematch with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on March 8.

The 23-year-old sat out Thursday’s match simulation against Geelong, and has already been ruled out of Carlton’s community series clash with Melbourne on Wednesday.

A day after Aaron Hamill said there was no timeline on Walsh’s return, fellow Carlton assistant coach Jordan Russell admitted the vice-captain was still having problems.

“It’s a grumbly one. They’re still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on,” Russell told SEN WA on Friday.

“He just gets a bit of back soreness that flares up every now and again, and because of the quality player that he is, you don’t want to rush these things.

“We want to respect it and make sure he’s ticking a few of the pain boxes and making sure he can run with freedom.

“There’s no point pushing him at this time of the year, because if we push him and make whatever it is worse, then we might lose him for a chunk of the season, and that’s not what we want.”

Carlton will take an extremely cautious approach with one of their best players after Walsh missed the first four games of last season because of a bulging disc in his back.

Walsh had surgery after the 2022 season finished to fix that issue with his back.

Star defender Jacob Weitering (calf) has already been ruled out of Carlton’s first two games of the season, while crafty forward Jack Martin (knee) is also in doubt to face the Lions. 

AAP