AFTER AN interrupted run to begin the VFL season, Jack Carroll has been a strong contributor for the Carlton Reserves in the last fortnight.
A knee niggle, calf tightness and AFL Health and Safety Protocols meant it was an interrupted run for Carroll just as the season was about to roll around, which could’ve been a source of frustration for the 19-year-old.
However, the up-and-coming midfielder went to work, and - according to Head of AFL Development Luke Power - has shown a number of areas which can present as a point of difference.
The best news for Blues fans is that he won’t be going anywhere, having re-signed at IKON Park until at least the end of 2023.
“To retain Jack for another couple of years - on the back of not having played senior football - is a really big thing for the Club,” Power said on Carlton Coaches’ Corner.
“I’m looking forward to watching him develop as a person and as a player over the next few years.”
Carroll was one of if not the most influential player on the ground on Saturday at VFL level, accumulating 25 disposals as well as kicking two goals in the second half.
Playing a combination of midfield and up forward, Power said it was important Carroll continued to add strings to his bow — particularly on the back of his pressure, which was a sign of growth on the weekend against Werribee.
“Tim Clarke and myself see this as a big point of difference for Jack: he has the ability to close space really quickly with his speed,” Power said.
“He forces the opposition into errors because they don’t have much time with the ball.”
Regarded as a draft ‘slider’ when snapped up by the Blues with pick No.41 in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft, two elements of Carroll’s game which have always stood out since junior level have been his evasiveness and class.
Power stressed the importance of Carroll continuing to back and master his strengths, particularly given the work he’s doing with a fellow East Fremantle Sharks graduate.
“He’s got some really good mentors and one of those is a fellow West Australian, Patrick Cripps,” he said.
Two East Fremantle Sharks just catching up for a chat.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) December 11, 2020
"Day for it" — when Carroll met Crippa. pic.twitter.com/4YmwxsoxYM
“The captain has taken Jack under his wing and spends a lot of time doing contested craft with him.
“We love left footers. [His ball use] is an area Jack has worked really hard on and we can see the improvements in his game.
“He has the capability to win the ball on the inside, but also be able to get outside and damage the opposition with his left foot.”