“I’M THERE to do a job. If I can do that each week, roll in on Monday, look my teammates in the eye and say ‘I’ve done my role’, that’s all I can ask for.”
It’s safe to say that Jacob Weitering can look his teammates in the eye after his performance in the season opener.
Given one of the most difficult jobs in football, Weitering went toe-to-toe with Richmond’s Tom Lynch.
While the Blues were outpointed by four goals, the 22-year-old comfortably accounted for the power forward, restricting him to nine disposals.
So often Carlton’s nemesis, Lynch didn’t take a mark for the first time since 2014 while also being held goalless.
Weitering - who lost just one of eight one-on-one contests - said the challenge of coming up against the competition’s best was something he relished.
“It’s something that I look forward to: it’s going to come around in Round 1 every year,” Weitering said.
“He’s certainly a quality forward and he showed that last year throughout the final. It was nice to come up against him and do my best.
“I’m not sure if I’ve got Tom again this year. It’s a week-by-week thing: ‘Jonesy’ and I work closely together to get our jobs done.”
Jacob Weitering had eight one-on-one contests with Tom Lynch tonight and only lost one. Kept him to nine disposals, no marks and no goals. Hell of an effort. #AFLTigersBlues— Ethan (@ethanmeldrum_) March 19, 2020
Alongside new teammate Jack Martin as well as his co-captains, Weitering was a standout on Thursday night as the Blues surged home against the reigning premiers.
However, the late run wasn’t enough as Richmond emerged with a four-goal win, with Carlton lamenting a slow start at the MCG.
While pleased with the response, Weitering was clear in articulating the disappointment of the playing group.
“We certainly didn’t give up and there’s a positive in that, but we can’t be one of those sides that are happy and content with coming back,” he said.
“We want to win games.
“We’ll look forward to next week: we’ve got nine days to recover.”
Crediting leaders such as Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy with getting the Blues going, Weitering saved a special mention for a back-line mate who enjoyed a long-awaited return.
Weitering couldn’t have been more assertive in his praise for Sam Docherty, saying the co-captain had returned “in All-Australian form”.
“I think it was 900-something days since he played, which is just ridiculous when you put it like that,” he said.
“He was terrific with his leadership and his voice, and he was coming across and impacting when he was the spare player.
“I was certainly very happy to have a quality player like that come back and help out when I’m up against someone like Tom Lynch.”
Weitering made his debut in the season opener of 2016, and hasn’t missed one since arriving at Ikon Park.
His average Round 1 crowd he had played in front of was 81,000: a far cry from the empty stands on Thursday night.
Clearly, this was a different occasion — but it’s something the competition will have to get used to.
“It was a strange feeling, I’m sure everyone felt it,” he said.
“With no supporters, the vibe and the motivation had to come form the players. It was a little bit eerie, but it’s probably going to be like that for most of the year so we’ll have to get used to it.
“I noticed it a bit but, to be honest, I was pretty narrow focused on getting my role done against Lynch: I know that’s a bit of a cliched response.”