Orazio Fantasia came to IKON Park and knew it was going to be a slow build, but he feels as though he’s reaping the rewards now.

Fantasia arrived at the Blues at the end of 2023, and his discussions with Michael Voss centred around how the Blues would get the best out of him when his move to the Club became official.

Speaking to Triple M’s Rush Hour, Fantasia said everything is currently going to schedule.

“I’m feeling good, feeling really good. I had a bit of a slow pre-Christmas but that was always the plan, even when I was thinking about coming here,” Fantasia said.

“Talking to ‘Vossy’, the plan was always to build a base, because I didn’t really have any sort of fitness. I played four games in the last two seasons . . . I couldn’t get right, I had lots of surgeries on my knee which was causing trouble and then I kept doing soft tissues on the back of that.

“It was why we took it really slowly when I got here, and post-Christmas, I’ve been in match play and feeling really good.”

Fantasia has already spoken of the challenge he knew he was in front of him when coming to IKON Park in terms of earning his spot in the Carlton forward line.

But it’s one which he’s relishing.

“It’s a tough forward line to get into, that’s for sure. We’ve got so many young guys coming through that are going to be absolute superstars I think.

“Carlton has been unreal, so welcoming with my family. It’s been seamless: ‘Vossy’ has been really good, we’ve got a great relationship. He’s allowed me to be myself and play the way I like to play.”

There’s been no shortage of connection opportunities for Fantasia and his fellow Blue arrivals to meet their new teammates.

Fantasia mentioned that new co-vice captain Charlie Curnow is already pulling rank.

“We had a little forwards camp and in the WhatsApp group, Charlie put me on treats. It’s fair to say we had lots of good treats and the boys ate well.”