CARLTON Football Club is delighted to announce the signings of Michael Gibbons and Matthew Cottrell as rookies for the 2019 AFL season.

Both players had their dream of joining an AFL list realised on Friday when they were informed of the news alongside their new teammates at the Blues’ pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast.

The emotional moment was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work for the pair.

After emerging as a star of the VFL, Michael Gibbons will get his AFL chance in navy blue. (Photo: Carlton Media)

Gibbons’ story has been well-documented, with the versatile midfield-forward spending the last five years as a consistent, standout performer for Williamstown in the VFL.

In that time, the 23-year-old became a dual J.J Liston Medal winner and Norm Goss Medallist in the Seagulls’ 2015 premiership win.

A natural ball-winner with great athletic ability and a supreme hunger for the contest, Gibbons has also been named in the VFL Team of the Year in each of the last three seasons.

Cottrell, whose grandfather Len played 12 games for the Blues between 1958-1959, did not take long to establish a reputation for himself at the Blues as an elite runner.

The impressive 19-year-old blitzed the Club’s pre-season time trial, running sub-six minutes to dethrone the Blues’ annual time trial king and fierce competitor, Ed Curnow.

A wingman who possesses outstanding endurance, Cottrell was a state middle distance runner through juniors before spending the last two years in the TAC Cup with the Dandenong Stingrays.

New Blue Matthew Cottrell has impressed throughout pre-season with his elite endurance. (Photo: Carlton Media)

Under the pre-season supplemental selection period, Carlton had until March 15 to sign both players: however, their impressive pre-seasons to date meant that there was no reason to delay the decision.

General Manager of List Management and Strategy Stephen Silvagni said the Club was excited to officially welcome both players to the Blues.

“Michael and Matthew are talented footballers, but even more importantly they are quality people who we think will really add to our group on and off the field,” Silvagni said.

“’Gibbo’ in particular has done everything he possibly can over the last five years to give himself an opportunity and now he has one. We believe he will really add some energy for us up forward and through the middle of the ground.

“Cottrell has hit the ground running from the moment he walked through the doors of our club. His running ability will be a real asset to our list and we look forward to him developing his game even further.”