THE WORLD according to Jacob Weitering.

It was a marathon, insightful chat when Weitering joined Gerard Whateley on SEN for his monthly chat, talking all things Carlton and AFL in equal measure.

The big games don't stop rolling around for the Blues, with Weitering's eyes firmly locked in on Thursday's blockbuster with Port Adelaide.

This is what he had to say.


On how his body is holding up:

“My legs seem to be a target in recent weeks! I do have relatively big legs, and I’m a bleeder which isn’t ideal. It’s just one of those things where you have to play through it to the best of your ability. I couldn’t do it against Sydney and was a bit of a liability for a quarter there, so we made the decision to come off, recover and prepare for this week. It’s all part and parcel of the game. 

“When it’s in the same spot or the same leg, it’s not ideal. I’ve had a couple of knocks in each leg now for a few weeks: it’s just on the annoying side for continuity and doing my role in the team, wrestling the big key forwards. You’ve got to draw it back to the support I got on the weekend. I thought the defence stood up consistently across four quarters for probably the first time in a few months. 

“I’m very proud of the boys’ efforts and I think ‘Vossy’ was as well. Hopefully we get some good clips in the review today and head into Port Adelaide pretty confident about our team defence.”

On what this week’s short turnaround looks like, with the bye coming up:

“With a short five-day turnaround to Adelaide, no I won’t be doing much this week! You try and get moving as best you can prior to the game. If you’re unable to jog and run, we have Alter-G treadmills, you’ve got your hots and colds and saunas. You just try and get moving as best you can early on in the week. 

“It’s one of those things you’ve got to manage, most players are managing injuries in different capacities throughout the year. I’m just becoming an expert on corkies at the moment.

“It’ll be a nice little rest, that’s for sure. We’ve got a mission to do in Adelaide. We haven’t beaten an Adelaide team in Adelaide — I know we won at Adelaide Oval against Fremantle, which was a nice milestone for us. Then we’ve got the Dons who are in very good form, so we’ll try and get that done first before taking four or five days off which’ll be nice.”

On how his form line is tracking:

“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks just with the continuity piece with my body. Getting some troops back certainly helped. You can look at our game as a whole on the weekend, it wasn’t just one guy. ‘Gov’ certainly drove us to play the way we did throughout the game, with the way he was coming off his man and intercepting in the first quarter. I thought ‘Kempy’ was terrific in doing the same thing, Lachie Cowan in his 12th AFL game was brave and courageous in coming off his man and intercepting. 

“When we play together as a unit like that and supporting each other in the air and on the ground, it’s much easier for me - especially on some good key forwards. As a team, up the field, the pressure and the contest that the mids were providing in the middle was unbelievable with ‘Crippa’ leading the way. Up forward, the boys were pretty well held and we didn’t go in as efficiently - which has been a bit of a theme - but the way we were able to coach that and adjust after half time was terrific. 

“There were really positive signs in how we were able to defend and adjust during the game and put a four-quarter effort together.”

On how he prepares for his role every week:

“For me, it’s a cliche, but it’s doing my role for the team. If it is coming across and intercepting, and that’s the role I have to do on the day which the other team is providing me the opportunity to do, then I’ll do that. If it’s winning or halving contests, Gold Coast are terrific with those long-down-the-line plays and getting ground balls off the back of it. You might have to come across and spoil and make sure you get the ball out of the area. It’s a balanced approach. 

“The back end of last year was clearly the best form I’ve been in in my career in terms of intercept numbers, they were quite high. I can’t do that every week, I’d absolutely love to. But you’ve got to make someone else better, and that’s been a theme for us in recent weeks. 

“Looking at ‘Kempy’s’ game, ‘Gov’s’ game, ‘Marchy’ when he’s in the team, I think when we’re all playing in sync and together, it might be one bloke’s turn in one quarter and then someone else’s in another. I’m at my best when I’m marking and not letting my man kick goals.”

On what the Sydney game provided the group:

“Other than getting a fist between the eyes, it was a bit of a reflection on our own identity. It’s something we struggled with for many years, in terms of trying to find what it is we do really well as a football club and team. We’ve talked about pressure and contest before, and Sydney just did it a whole lot better than us. 

“It started in the midfield, there were some very good reflections and reviews and performance conversations with ‘Vossy’ and the leadership group. It was just himself and us, and we went to work on each of our lines in theming the week. Making someone else better, worrying about someone else other than yourself, going internal — that’s been a theme in games when things aren’t going so well. 

“You saw the maturity of the group with our ability to respond after being challenge, it’s something ‘Vossy’ takes a lot of pride in and certainly motivates us to do that. We’ve got to do it again on a short turnaround against a quality side.”

On what a win against Port Adelaide would mean:

“We mentioned it as a leaders group yesterday, we haven’t won two in a row in a little while and it’s something good teams do — winning a patch of games in a row. It’s going to be a challenge, they’re playing some very good football and it’s going to start in the middle again. 

“There are some quality players in each midfield, so the pressure and contest and winning the hard ball is going to be significant. There are some really quality forwards up each end, so the defenders will have their hands full. I’m sure it’ll be a very good game.”

On Zac Williams’ move to the forward line:

“It’s a change! It’s hard to see a defender go forward. He’s been a big part of our defence for a number of years. He admitted himself that he was a bit down on confidence: the way he’s responded has been great to see. He’s got a smile on his face, the celebration of Indigenous Round over the last two weeks has been quite special for him. 

“His cousin did our jumper, the story behind that — it’s been a whirlwind for him, but to be able to go forward, apply pressure and then get some reward off the back of it is nice. Hopefully he keeps getting and it’s a revelation for us!”

On Carlton’s ruck setup:

“Marc and ‘King’ are the ultimate competitors. If you were ever down at training over pre-season, both of them love to go at it. It’s hard to say, it depends on the way we’re playing and how each individual is feeling. ‘TDK’ has had injuries in the past, Marc in recent times. You’ve had a look at the two-ruck setup, the one-ruck setup, the way our forwards move around when we have one in and two in. 

“It’s a hard conversation when you’ve got two quality guys and two quality rucks. We’ll keep reviewing that. There’s a bit to play out with Marc and his injury history: if Tom De Koning can keep doing what he’s doing, especially when he’s one out against a quality ruck like Witts, that’s positive signs for us. I’m no expert, I’ll leave that up to the coaches!”

On what the Club is doing in the injury space:

“There’s been more conversation and more awareness. When you look at the training itself, whenever there’s contact injuries or trauma injuries, it adds to the overall feeling of injuries if that makes sense. We’ve got seven soft tissues, and you double that with trauma injuries. The list looks longer than it actually is. 

“There’s definitely been some reviews and conversations, I saw Brian Cook come out and say there’s movement on that. I don’t think it’s down to one individual or one department. There’s players involved, the coaching and training setup, high performance and medical — it’s something we’ve all got to review. 

“The other thing is that some of the individuals getting soft-tissue injuries are some of the most meticulous players on our list in terms of preparation. I know they’re doing absolutely everything they can, a number of players are seeing specialists as well. It’s an area for us to work on, we need to make sure we’re healthy come September which is the most important thing.”

On the next-man-up mentality among the group:

“Whether it’s in a drill or a warm-up, it’s very hard because the amount of screening and conversation and testing you do prior to each training nowadays — I’m sure every club is doing it. Looking at hamstrings, calves, quads, back, you’re making sure you’re going out there and not putting yourself at risk. There’s all of those tests before you even get out there. 

“Sometimes the unfortunate happens, and it is hard when you’re losing really quality players in our team. We’ve played a pretty mature brand of football with that next-man-up mentality that we spoke about last year. We’re 7-4, which is great position considering we’ve got four, five or even six guys to come back and play in our 22.”


On his knowledge of giving the ball back to the umpire:

“I wouldn’t have in detail, but I think it’s pretty self-explanatory if I’m honest. For me, as a defender, I wouldn’t want to cause an umpire anymore grief than I need to! The situation certainly magnifies the issue, the situation in the game and the result of it. It’s just one of those things, I think players now are very aware of what you have to do as a player. I’m sure you’ll see many players giving the ball back pretty promptly.”

On the holding-the-ball rule:

“I think there is a bit of a grey area for players especially, you heard some frustration amongst coaches over the weekend. I’ll speak to our game because I played in it: the free kick count is what it is, I wasn’t too aware of it at three-quarter time. I know the crowd was getting quite rowdy from a Carlton side of things. But in terms of holding the ball, I think I’ve said it before, it’s just about clarity. 

“We’re getting one answer here and one answer there, but if there’s clarity and consistency with it, I don’t think there’s an issue. We need a strong outline of what it looks like and what the umpires are going to pay: a big part of our game is applying pressure and tackling, specifically at Carlton. 

“We try to take that pretty seriously, I know Gold Coast prides themselves on it as one of the best tackling teams, and I think at times both teams weren’t rewarded for some of those efforts. Hopefully we can get a bit more clarity over the next couple of weeks so players know what to do.

“I remember growing up, they didn’t pay it often and it had to be a pretty obvious run and chasedown tackle. If you could get rid of it in some capacity, they called play on. I don’t mind it, it’s just when it’s a pretty clear dropping the ball or didn’t dispose of it correctly that it should be paid. I don’t mind them holding the whistle and letting it play, it felt fine on the weekend but maybe it’s a little bit different when it’s in your forward 50 and costing you a goal or giving you one.”

On recent contract talk:

“It’s funny, the media do inflate numbers. It’s one of those things where as players and sportsmen, you have to deal with speculation. I’ve said it before, it’s going to be another cliche, but I’m very happy where I am. I’ve still got 18 months to run, I’m out at the end of next year and Carlton are in a better position than when I was first drafted. 

“I’m very happy with my position in the team, the leadership group, the boys we’ve got around at the moment. It certainly does [get to you] when your mates are sending you messages to pay for the next dinner or breakfast that we’re at, but it’s all part and parcel of it.”

On key defenders getting due recognition:

“You know I love my NFL, with players in different positions getting paid what they’re worth. At the end of the day, I do play a position that is more on the team side of things and heavily dependent on what goes on up the field. I would love to keep playing with the guys we’ve got. 

“It’s been taken slightly out of context with the articles that have been written, but if you can keep a group of guys together that were drafted or traded in that’s been together for a number of years now, I’ve been with ‘Cripp’ and Charlie and Harry and ‘Walshy’ for six or seven years. That breeds a fair bit of continuity and hopefully some success down the line. 

“I’d love to stay here. It’s great seeing key defenders get that recognition and getting paid what they’re worth. On the field, it’s more about getting a fist on the ball or marking it, we don’t get the end result of kicking a snag or 30 touches, so I’m just happy doing what I’m doing.”

And one last comment on his contract:

“I’d love to be at Carlton for as long as I can. I don’t think that’s news to anyone. I’m 26, turning 27 at the end of this year. I’ve spoken to ‘Crippa’ who says 34 or 35 is the new 30. I don’t know if that’s relatable to me and my body, but as long as we’re doing well and everyone is happy with me sticking around, I’ll be doing that for sure.”