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Blues youth leading the way

Hard Hit of the Week | Round 23 Cameron Polson takes out this week's Hard Hit of the Week for this desperate tackle, which was rewarded with a well-earned goal.

All season, the mantra from Carlton was that the Blues would be backing in the youth.

The stats show that was exactly the case in 2018.

Over the course of the season, the Blues injected 198 games of experience into their players in the 18-21 age bracket. It was clearly the most in the competition, ahead of the Western Bulldogs (186).

It’s nearly an unprecedented backing of youth at Ikon Park — more than double compared to the first year of the Club’s reset, with the tally sitting at 95 in 2016.

Breaking it down, it meant that nine players per game this season for Carlton were aged under 22. 

Included in that group are excitement machines Charlie Curnow, Paddy Dow, Zac Fisher, Lochie O’Brien and Sam Petrevski-Seton, who played 17 games or more and showed their undoubted potential. 

 

O’Brien was joined by Harry McKay and Cameron Polson in showing the benefits of a stint in the senior side, with the trio displaying positive signs in the back-end of the year. 

Six of the group were club debutants, with Paddy Dow also adding in a Rising Star nomination in Round 14.

Excitingly for Blues fans, promising defenders Harrison Macreadie, Angus Schumacher and Tom Williamson can also be added to this group going forward. They didn't feature at AFL level due to a combination of injury and development through the VFL for the Northern Blues.

While the wins didn’t come as much as Bluebaggers would’ve enjoyed, the investment in youth should hold Carlton in good stead for the years to come. 

Carlton’s under-22 players in 2018 (games played in brackets):

Sam Petrevski-Seton (22); Charlie Curnow (20); Paddy Dow (20); Lochie O’Brien (18); Zac Fisher (17); Jack Silvagni (15); Jacob Weitering (14); Harry McKay (13); Matthew Kennedy (12); Caleb Marchbank (12); Cameron Polson (12); Jarrod Garlett* (11); Jarrod Pickett* (7); David Cuningham (5); Patrick Kerr (4); Tom De Koning (2)

* denotes the player turned 22 mid-season.