Carlton recruit Hollands ‘humbled’ by Blues support

Oliver Caffrey |

Elijah Hollands has made a successful Carlton debut after a controversial off-season.
Elijah Hollands has made a successful Carlton debut after a controversial off-season.

Carlton recruit Elijah Hollands feels humbled by the support of the Blues after slotting straight into the undefeated line-up once his AFL drugs ban ended.

Hollands described his start to his Carlton debut as “rusty”, but finished with 22 possessions and a well-celebrated goal in the Good Friday thumping of North Melbourne.

The 21-year-old arrived at Ikon Park, via an off-season trade from Gold Coast, in trying circumstances.

Hollands was hit with a two-game ban from the AFL after being caught with cocaine while at The Star Casino on the Gold Coast last September.

The utility was charged by Queensland Police and sanctioned with a two-month good behaviour bond, and also had to complete a drug diversion course.

But Carlton coach Michael Voss saw enough in Hollands to play him as soon as he was available.

Corey Durdin with Elijah Hollands.
Elijah Hollands (R) celebrates with teammates after a Corey Durdin (C) goal against North.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the coaches, players, admin staff, the way they’ve backed me in and then thrown their arms around me,” Hollands said.

“They’ve let me get to work; it’s been huge and given me a heap of confidence.

“Even being able to come straight into the line-up and play AFL footy is humbling and also am really grateful.”

Hollands already had a point to prove after the former No.7 draft pick was restricted to just 14 games in three seasons with the Suns.

He has teamed up with younger brother, Ollie, at Carlton.

When Elijah kicked his first goal for the Blues in the last quarter against North, the brothers pulled off a celebration made famous by Tottenham soccer superstar Son Heung-min.

“We didn’t really know if we had the knack of finding each other, but I think we did a couple of times,” Elijah said.

“It was a special night for us and we’ll keep enjoying it as the years go on. 

“I’ve been trying to do that (celebration) for a little bit, and it only came to me and then Ollie wanted to join in the party so we got that done.”

Oliver Hollands.
Oliver Hollands gathers possession during Carlton’s big win over the Kangaroos.

Voss declared Hollands had been “fantastic” at earning respect off his new teammates.

“It was a very easy decision,” Voss said of picking Hollands immediately.

“We’re not making it off one week or two weeks, we’re making it off a body of work that we’ve seen over the course of the pre-season.

“We’re becoming more and more bullish about what he could do and the role he could play for us.”