THE CARLTON Football Club is pleased to announce Alex Cincotta, Hudson O’Keeffe and Domanic Akuei will remain in Navy Blue.
Cincotta, O’Keeffe and Akuei have committed for another year.
All three players have worked hard to earn their spot at the Club, with each paving their own, unique story of resilience and determination.
This re-signing marks another chapter in Cincotta’s amazing personal story.
After overcoming an ACL injury in the VFL with Geelong, and learning how to walk again, Cincotta found a list spot on Carlton’s VFL team in 2021.
Finishing on the podium in the Carlton Reserves best and fairest count last year, Cincotta impressed over the summer, signing with the Blues on the final day of the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP).
Cincotta made a well-earned call up in Round 6, debuting for the Blues against St Kilda, with 24 disposals, 18 handballs and 7 marks.
Since his debut, the hard running defender has fit well into the defensive line-up, showcasing a strong work ethic, toughness and resilience.
In Round 13, Cincotta kicked his first goal for Carlton, grabbing the guernsey of his boyhood club in the middle of the MCG.
Brought in to bolster the ruck depth on the eve of the season, O’Keeffe has developed solidly since starting at the Club in the pre-season.
Showing significant promise in the VFL, O’Keeffe has averaged 13 hit outs a game. In the past five matches, he has stepped up as the solo ruck averaging 20.6 hit outs as he shoulders the ruck responsibilities as an 18-year-old.
A towering 202cm prospect, who was the No.1 ruck with Vic Metro, O’Keeffe signed with the Blues as part of the SSP alongside Cincotta at the start of 2023.
Akuei was selected as a Category B rookie in 2021, becoming the first ever player to join the Blues from the Carlton Academy,
Currently in his second season in the Navy Blue, Akuei has played every game in the VFL this year.
His season-best performance to date came in Round 3 against North Melbourne, which included 15 disposals, six kicks, six marks and nine handballs.
Boasting an enormous vertical leap, Akuei made a case for VFL mark of the year with an impressive aerial mark against Geelong in Round 1.
Carlton Head of List Management Nick Austin said that while injuries and non-traditional pathways into football has had its challenges for each of these players, their character and determination to be part of this football club has held them in great stead to launch into the next phase of their careers.
“We are excited to have Alex, Hudson and Dom all recommit to the Carlton Football Club,” Austin said.
“Alex has come into the AFL system the hard way, but we couldn’t be more excited to have him extend his time here at the Carlton Football Club.
“His enthusiasm around the Club is infectious and his diligence and commitment to his craft is admirable. It is fantastic to see his dedication rewarded with another contract – he has certainly earned it.
“Alex has overcome so much in the journey to his AFL career, and we applaud his mental toughness which got him to where he is today.
“We have been really excited to see how Hudson has progressed this year.
“Having worked closely with our ruck coach Matthew Kreuzer, Hudson has shown real improvement in his ruck craft, showcasing his ability to compete consistently through the middle of the ground. He has embraced the Carlton way and we look forward to seeing his skills grow over the coming year.
“Dom has developed immensely throughout the 2023 season, it’s been great to see him refine his skills over the past year.
“It's been really pleasing to see all the hard work he puts in pay off on the field on the weekend, but also throughout the week at training. We look forward to seeing him grow and develop his game further to become the well-rounded player we see in him.”