Blues bolstered by handy ins for AFL Good Friday match

Roger Vaughan |

Jacob Weitering is a welcome inclusion for Carlton on  Good Friday.
Jacob Weitering is a welcome inclusion for Carlton on Good Friday.

Carlton will come out of their unusual early-season AFL bye with a brace of important inclusions for the Good Friday match against North Melbourne.

While the 2-0 Blues will start as strong favourites in the twilight game at Marvel Stadium, coach Michael Voss took note of the young Kangaroos’ impressive first half last week against Fremantle.

Carlton will welcome back Jacob Weitering, one of their most important players, and fellow defender Caleb Marchbank from injury.

Small forward Elijah Hollands will also play his first game for the Blues after the former Gold Coast player served his two-game illicit drugs ban.

Star midfielder Sam Walsh continues to make good progress in his much-discussed return from a back injury and could return in the next fortnight.

“We’re trending certainly in the right direction … very good news,” Voss said on Thursday morning.

“They’re obviously really important players to us, having Elijah also coming into the team, what he’s been able to do over the pre-season has been particularly impressive.

“All we asked from him was to be able to come in and put his head down, work really hard and earn the respect from the workrate he brings and the effort he brings.

“He’s shown all those things from the very first day.

“His pre-season has been as good as anyone at the club – probably in the top three.”

Voss gave no guarantee about when Walsh would be back, but was pleased with his progress.

“There’s been an exhorbitant amount of speculation around him, but we’ve stayed pretty present to where he’s at,” he said.

“He’s progressed well. If he’s able to complete his next couple of weeks (training), he’ll be available.

“He’s stepping through the gears pretty well.”

Carlton’s “round zero” trip to Brisbane earned them the week off and Voss went to watch Fremantle’s comeback win over North.

“It’s been a great couple of weeks. We thought it’s probably not necessarily the ideal opportunity, to have a bye, but what it’s afforded us is to take a step back, look at the competition,” he said.

“It’s good to be able to see what those games have looked like.

“They (Kangaroos) are extremely dangerous. I don’t think they could have been more impressive in that first half.

“We’re aware of what’s coming, so it’s up to us.”

On Thursday, the Blues welcomed patients and staff from the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital ahead of the annual Good Friday appeal.

“We try to find ways where we can contribute and put smiles on the faces of people who might be struggling a little bit,” Voss said.