CARLTON Head of List Management Nick Austin has had a busy period with the mid-season draft taking place last night. 

With a few ideas in mind of what he and his team were looking for, Austin was ultimately pleased and impressed with the talent he has received in Sam Durdin and Will Hayes. 

Here's what he had to say on both of the new Navy Blues. 

On Sam Durdin: 

"Sam’s been someone that we’ve been following for quite a while. He’s a mature age, he’s been in the system before, 25 years of age and a key defender so he suits our list profile and needs really well.

"He’s played before, he’s a big body, he’s 199cm. With his athletic profile, he brings a bit of flexibility to our backline. He’s worked on his game enormously in the last 18 months and going back to Glenelg.

"He took on some leadership responsibility down back, that’s been evident with his ability to spoil and even come off his man and mark. He’s got a really good mix of defence and attack and we like what he can bring."


On picking a key defender: 

"We had a strategy in place. The key back was on our radar long before Jacob [Weitering] went down so it probably solidified in a lot of ways the need to bring him in.

"We’ve certainly been looking at our key defensive stocks for a while now, that was going to be a priority leading into this period."

On Will Hayes: 

"With Will, when things didn’t go his way at the end of last year, we got on the phone to him really quickly to get him in and we were keen to look at him in some pre-season form and get him into our Club through the VFL program, which he’s just excelled at.

"He really impressed the coaching staff in our match play, he fit our system really well and what 'Vossy' and the coaches were looking for. He took that pre-season form into the VFL and he hasn’t looked back.

"He’s been one of our strongest performers at VFL level, along with a handful of others and he’s improved his game. He’s probably had to play a bit more inside due to personnel and other things which has been good for his contested game, but we see him as a winger and high forward.

"With his elite running ability he can get back, help our midfield on the spread and help defensively and equalising the front half. We’ll look to throw him into that midfield mix inside and outside and see where that takes us."


On the Carlton Reserves: 

"I think it’s a further endorsement for the program: it really ties the bond between our Carlton VFL and AFL lists. It sends a pretty good message to the players in that program or players thinking about coming into our program that if you can show some form and fit our system, the opportunities are there.

"Alex Mirkov came in mid-season last year and we couldn’t be more excited about Alex and the improvement he’s shown in such a short period of time, where he’s taking his football.

"Will adds another one to that. Two in a row is a great endorsement for Luke Power, Daniel O’Keefe, Torin Baker and that whole program: they’re doing a really good job."

On the strategy heading into the mid-season draft: 

"We weighed up a lot and the opportunity to get ahead in the draft with some 19-year olds that were there.

"Where our picks were falling, we were a bit further out so there were players that we really did like and did a lot of work on that went up the list, but obviously the ready-made defender was a big priority and the chance to reward Will for some early season form was important to us too."