Main content

Injured Docherty 'instrumental'

Wright on camp and new faces Matthew Wright fronted the media after Sunday's training session on the Sunshine Coast.

INJURED Carlton leader Sam Docherty will play an "instrumental" role for the club this season as an unofficial coach, teammate Matthew Wright says. 

Docherty is likely to miss the entire 2018 season after rupturing his left anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-season training drill last month.

Having returned to Ikon Park soon after undergoing a traditional knee reconstruction, the leadership group member is attending this week's training camp at Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where he has actively participated in the Blues' match practice and skills sessions as an extra coach. 

Wright said Docherty had already demonstrated this pre-season that his leadership would still be hugely influential around the club in 2018.

"He had the white coach's top on today so he cops a bit of stick from the boys for that, but the role he's going to play for us off-field, he's nearly another coach," Wright said after training on Sunday.

"He really bridges that gap from 'Bolts' (Brendon Bolton) as the head coach to the line coaches and then the playing group, he's going to be instrumental for us this year. 

"I think he was away for about a week for his surgery and he physically couldn't get to the club, but as soon as he could get to the club he was straight in there, not only just walking around but he was actually in there to help blokes.

"So it's a credit to him and it's a credit to the Carlton footy club (and) the environment that we're trying to create." 


Docherty will leave a considerable hole in the Blues' backline next season, having finished first and second in the club's past two best-and-fairest awards, and won his maiden All Australian selection in 2017.

Wright did not think one player would be able to cover Docherty's absence. 

"He's an exceptional person as well as a footballer. It's going to fall on a few blokes' shoulders to step up and fill that role, which I'm confident we can," Wright said. 

Wright was similarly optimistic Carlton could fill the midfield hole left by Bryce Gibbs' departure to Adelaide. 

Along with captain Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps, Gibbs has carried the Blues' midfield division over the past four seasons.

But the Blues have a host of exciting young midfielders headed by Sam Petrevski-Seton, Zac Fisher, David Cuningham and 2017 draftees Paddy Dow and Lochie O'Brien, while former Giant Matthew Kennedy and ex-Cat Darcy Lang shape as readymade additions to their onball division.


"We've got a few boys that are putting their names forward to step up and take that role," Wright said.

Carlton has invested heavily in the past three NAB AFL Drafts after embarking on a list rebuild under Bolton that has seen the club turn over a remarkable 42 players in that time.

Content that those drafts have added the talent their list was crying out for, the Blues look set for a period of stability, where their focus will be on getting games into their youngsters and developing on-field chemistry among the group.

Wright senses exciting times ahead for the club.

"We feel like we've got a good group now and we've got some good depth, we're just trying to get that synergy between the lines and getting to know each other," he said. 

"We've got some young kids that have come in that are really stepping up."

The Blues will continue their training camp in Maroochydore until Tuesday.