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1AW begins new chapter

Cripps impressed by teammates Carlton Media spoke to Patrick Cripps as the boys continue their second week of pre-season training.

Andrew Walker can still vividly remember the guidance and support he received from fellow teammates Andrew Carrazzo and Heath Scotland when he arrived at Carlton as a fresh-faced 17-year-old.

The genuine care and strong relationships he formed helped the 202-gamer throughout his AFL career – something he’ll never forget.

Now, at the age of 30, the recently retired Blue is back at the Club in a new role to provide that same guidance and support to Carlton’s young talent. 

“It’s funny, my role is development coach and integration coach, but I’m trying to make sure I’ve still got a player relationship with them and I can be that person that they remember,” Walker told EON Sports Radio on Tuesday morning. 

With injuries hampering the high-flying forward in the last few years of his career, Walker unearthed a passion for helping his younger teammates develop as footballers and as people. 

“Over the last three years, being so injured, I started to work closely with younger players and I was obviously not able to get myself out on the track all the time,” he said.

“One of the positives that comes from being injured is the fact I did get to help develop these kids in other aspects of their games.

“So I was working with guys in the fitness area and strength and conditioning area and trying to pass on some of the knowledge I learnt over the 13 years of being a player.” 

Andrew Walker puts the young Blues through their paces during pre-season training. (Photo: Carlton Media)

This experience will no doubt help Carlton’s next crop of talent, as the Blues begin preparing for the 2017 season.

After more than a decade playing the game, Walker says it was a “pretty good” feeling to pull on the training gear for the first time in three months. However, two days into his new role, Walker admitted he will need to take time to transition from player to coach.              

“We used to go for lunch after the main session on Monday and the players would go and have a coffee, and the coaches would go somewhere else to have a coffee, I was a little bit torn on which way to go – that’s going to be part of the transition I guess,” he laughed.

“I’m still really close with a lot of the players and I don’t ever want to lose those relationships, so I decided to go and have a coffee with the players,” he joked.