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Bolton backs baby Blues

Post-match | Brendon Bolton Watch Carlton's press conference after their Week 2 JLT Community Series match against Melbourne.

Opportunity and experience for Carlton’s youngsters will continue to underpin the Blues’ JLT Community Series, according to senior coach Brendon Bolton.

Despite a 54-point loss to Melbourne on Saturday, Bolton maintained an optimistic outlook and said the Blues’ pre-season hit-outs would be used to equip the squad for the season proper. 

“This (JLT Series) is all about preparation for Round 1 for us,” Bolton said after the match.

“We’ll use the first few games to trial some things – give exposure to youngsters.”

In Carlton’s first pre-season clash, second year players Jacob Weitering, Jack Silvagni, David Cuningham, Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay made their return to the navy blue, while new recruits Caleb Marchbank, Jarrod Pickett, Rhys Palmer and Billie Smedts ran out for Carlton for the first time.

Carlton’s squad of 26 also saw new faces Zac Fisher (2016 draftee) and Kym Lebois (2016 rookie) given their first taste of senior footy.

Amongst the new inclusions, Lebois thrilled the crowd with a stunning goal from his first kick, but it was a courageous Marchbank who impressed the coach.

“I really liked Marchbank,” Bolton said.

“I thought he went back with the flight on a few occasions to try intercept and try dash out of there.

“I think he’ll be a good long-term player for us.”


A focus on match experience for the young Blues was accompanied by a case of trial and error against the Demons as the coach sought to experiment with the positions of his players.

Promising defender Jacob Weitering was given a stint in the Blues’ forward line while captain Marc Murphy familiarised himself on the wing.

Bolton also elected to have 22 players on rotation in the first half – likening conditions to the regular season.

“We tried a lot of different things today, that’s what the JLT Series is about,” he said.

“We played a fair chunk of our players and about eight of them played about a half of footy.

“That’s in-line with trialling and giving youngsters a chance.”

Carlton’s first-and-second-year players are set to feature prominently when the side takes on St Kilda for its second game of the JLT Community Series, while Bolton is set to opt for more experience in the final hit-out.

“We’ll probably give opportunity to a lot more first-and-second-year players in our next game against the Saints,” he said.

“I think for JLT 3 in Freo we’ll probably look to stiffen our side up a little bit … and lock that (Carlton’s prospective 22) away a bit more in that last game.”

Carlton returns to pre-season action this Saturday against St Kilda at Ikon Park from 2:05pm.