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Former coach backs Garlett

Nathan Schmook for AFL.com.au  November 27, 2017 9:42 AM

Jarrod Garlett highlights | Pick 78 Watch number 78 pick Jarrod Garlett's highlights.

JARROD Garlett is well placed to have an immediate impact in his return to the AFL and could prove to be a bargain pick-up for Carlton, according to his WAFL coach Todd Curley.

Garlett, who spent two seasons with Gold Coast from 2015-16, was given a second chance at the top level when the Blues pulled a surprise by snaring him with the last pick in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft (No.78) on Friday night.

A first-round selection in 2014, he walked away from a two-year deal with the Suns late last year to return home to WA to be closer to his terminally ill brother, Desmond Lawson, who had suffered a burst blood vessel on his brain.

His luck took a magnificent turn this year, however, when Lawson's condition improved. Garlett's form with the Bulldogs in the WAFL spiked and Carlton came knocking to see if he would be interested in returning to the AFL.

Curley has overseen Garlett's year out of the AFL and believes the elite attributes that convinced the Suns to part with pick No.15 in 2014 are still there, now complemented by a hardness and maturity that will serve him well at the top level.

"He's got a lot of elite attributes with his speed and vision, and he certainly sees the game really well, so to get him at pick No.78 could turn out to be a bargain," Curley told AFL.com.au.

"Whether you're in footy or out of footy, going through those sorts of experiences, you become more resilient.

"While footy is important, it's not everything and hopefully that's given him a bit more balance.

"Having to sit out for a year as well and watch guys he played with or against, I think that would have made it really clear to him how important it is to him."

AFL 2015 Rd 01 - Melbourne v Gold Coast
Garlett showed plenty of promise during his time at the Suns. (Photo: AFL Media)

Curley said he would expect the 21-year-old to adjust back to AFL life quickly with a new coach and new game-plan, and the nature of Carlton's young list meant there would be opportunities for him in 2018.   

The versatile speedster was also free of the injury issues that hampered him during his first stint in the AFL and will give Brendon Bolton options at match committee after playing as a half-back, half-forward and wingman this year.  

While family and spending time with his brother was Garlett's priority when he returned home, a second chance at AFL level was always something he hoped for.  

"Everyone's dream is to play at the highest level they can, so for him to get another chance is fantastic," Curley said.  

"We spoke about it when he first came back, but really the main reason he came back was the health issues in his family.

"If he could get everything else under control he always had that belief that he could play at AFL level and that was always the carrot at the end if everything worked out.

"It's great that it has worked out for him."