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19 in...Charlie's story

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media  July 6, 2017 3:57 PM

The Journey | S2E4 Season 2 | Episode 4. In the fourth episode of Season 2 of The Journey, go behind-the-scenes as Carlton struggles with mid-season form, before a season-defining win against the Giants. Presented by Virgin Australia.

Nineteen-year-old Charlie Curnow was amongst Carlton’s best afield in game No.19 last weekend – his first at senior level in older brother Ed’s absence. 

And in the 21 months since his name was called, Charlie, the 12th selection of the 2015 draft, is steadily adjusting to life in the system – undeniably with the direction of big brother. 

For Charlie, Ed’s the security blanket. As the boy from Bellbrae said just prior to a school clinic at Ikon Park this week: “I’d like to think that I’m my own man, but Ed is pretty handy to have around to be honest. He gives me a lot of feedback, and we have a really good connection”. 

In reflecting on the quantum leap from TAC days, Curnow, a more friendly, easy-going character there never was, cites the running component as the greatest challenge. As he said: “There’s a lot more running to be done, that’s for sure”. 

“When I was a bit younger I used to sit in the goalsquare whereas in this competition you’ve got to get up the ground and back. It’s awfully tough in that sense and that’s probably been the biggest step-up I’ve found,” Charlie said.

“I do enjoy running. I grew up doing it, although Ed’s always tended to do the hard running and I’m happy to leave that to him. It is an area I want to build into my game and there are still a lot of areas I need to improve on.” 

Without question, there’s been improvement – and Charlie’s but one of the many success stories of Carlton’s 2017 calendar year. Ask the man himself, and he knows that he’s making in-roads in this early phase of his League football life.

“I’m just starting to find my way I think,” he said. “I’ve been pretty happy with the way I’ve been playing recently, but that’s a credit to the people around me. You’ve got the older players like Levi Casboult, who is an amazing contested mark, is playing really well, as well as ‘Kreuz’ (Matthew Kreuzer) who’s doing the same thing pushing forward.

AFL 2017 Round 12 - Carlton v GWS Giants
Charlie Curnow is grateful for the influence of experienced players such as Matthew Kreuzer. (Photo: AFL Media)

“Then you’ve got Matthew Wright who keeps the group up and about on the forward line and you’ve got the young blokes a year below me like Zac Fisher who are doing really well also.”

The presence of Casboult, Kreuzer and co., together with Ed’s steadying influence, is helping Charlie’s cause no end. In fact, his story best illustrates the time-honoured view that nine-tenths of this caper is played above the shoulders. 

“With so many good players around you it means you can relax a bit, knowing that if they can do the job you can also do yours – and I play better when I’m a bit more relaxed,” Charlie admitted.

“I’ve always loved my footy and I kind of find that if I’m not having fun I’m playing pretty bad football. It always helps having good people around you and it’s pretty easy to go out there and play with those sorts of blokes around.”

AFL 2017 Round 06 - Carlton v Sydney
Charlie Curnow says he plays his best footy when he's relaxed. (Photo:AFL Media)

Though Ed is still a month or so away with a bruised larynx, Charlie hasn’t let big brother forget that in the goalkicking game of life he owes him one. As he said: “I gave Ed a goal recently, so I like to remind him about that a fair bit . . . he hasn’t given me one yet, but hopefully it should happen soon”.