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Blues' trust in Dow

Rising star nomination a 'massive honour' Paddy Dow faced the media at Ikon Park today following his Round 14 NAB AFL Rising Star performance against Collingwood.

CARLTON is putting its faith in Paddy Dow.

The first-year Blues midfielder is beginning to find his feet in the AFL system and has been entrusted as one of Carlton's go-to centre bounce players as a result. 

Over the last fortnight, Dow has attended his most centre bounces for the year, partnering Patrick Cripps in an ever-changing Blues midfield that is relying heavily on youngsters. 

Having attended 42.9 per cent of all centre bounces against Collingwood two weeks ago, his most for the season, Dow was involved in 36.7 per cent of centre bounces against Port Adelaide on Saturday. 

Dow's balanced mix of industry on the inside and breakaway speed from stoppages was the reason why the Bendigo Pioneers youngster shot into pick No.1 calculations last season.

They're now traits that have made the 18-year-old one of Carlton's most relied-upon midfielders all year, sitting fourth at the Blues for centre bounce attendances. 

Only Cripps, Ed Curnow and Zac Fisher have been thrown into the fire more.

Furthermore, across the competition, Dow ranks third for centre bounce attendances among all first-year players, behind only mature-aged recruits Tim Kelly, 23, and Bailey Banfield, 20. 

Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw, who is Dow's age, sits some way back in fourth.

The rewards are subsequently starting to arrive for the teenager.

A career-high 20 disposals against the Pies was followed by a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination, while the Official AFL Player Ratings evaluated his game against the Power as his best yet.

 

Although he had only 14 disposals, Dow's effectiveness in possession saw him rated among the eight most influential players on the field in Carlton's hard-fought 21-point defeat.

Injury to Marc Murphy, in addition to a slight role change planned last summer that has seen the Blues skipper move to half-back, has forced Carlton's engine room to rely more on its youngsters.

Dow is just one of the players to be handed added responsibility, with Fisher and former Giants on-baller Matthew Kennedy also earning extra midfield loads.

Fisher, 20, ranks third at Carlton for centre bounce attendances this season and has seen his disposal numbers grow from 11.6 per game last season to 19.9 per game this year. 

Kennedy, 21, has been troubled by an ankle injury throughout the year, but enjoyed arguably his best performance on Saturday with 19 disposals and 10 contested possessions.

Along with the form of Cripps, who is among the Brownlow Medal favourites at just 23 years of age, these are the 'green shoots' coach Brendon Bolton regularly speaks of.

Together, they are building to what the Blues hope is a bright future. The established midfielder the club is aiming to attract at season's end might help them get there quicker. 

Centre bounce attendances among first-year players:

1. Tim Kelly (Geel) – 174
2. Bailey Banfield (Frem) – 118
3. Paddy Dow (Carl) – 93
4. Andrew Brayshaw (Frem) – 77 

Stats supplied by Champion Data