THE SPECULATION might have ramped into overdrive, but Jack Silvagni paid it no mind.
Given his family's connection to Carlton, it was hard for him to ignore the stories of a potential move away from the Blues when he was dropped to the VFL earlier this season.
Uncontracted beyond the current campaign, questions were raised about whether Silvagni – a name synonymous with the Blues – could be playing footy at a rival club in 2020.
But instead of buying into the speculation, Silvagni instead tried to refocus.
He used his time playing as a full-time midfielder with the Northern Blues to refine his forward craft in readiness for when he was eventually recalled to the senior team.
That has paid dividends, with an impressive eight-week stint rewarded on Monday when the 21-year-old penned a two-year deal to ensure his future with the Blues until at least 2021.
"I didn't really acknowledge it," Silvagni said of the links away from Carlton.
"I was aware of it, but I just tried to focus on my footy. I didn't think I'd be going anywhere if my footy wasn't good enough, so I really just knuckled down.
"Earlier in the year, I was in and out of the team, so I was really focused and hellbent on breaking my way back into the senior side.
"I've been able to do that throughout the back-end of the season."
Having been left out of the senior side throughout the first month of the season, Silvagni struggled to find form and continuity while playing in a range of different positions.
He was trialled as a defender, then even as a tagging option in the midfield, before finally being handed a defined forward role under new coach David Teague this season.
But it was his time playing as a pure midfielder with the Northern Blues that has helped improve all aspects of his footy, something he is reaping the benefits of now.
"I probably didn't think it at the time, but the VFL stints playing through the midfield during that time has probably held me in good stead," Silvagni said.
"It played me into some form and it's allowed me to take some of those midfield traits and apply them to my forward craft.
"It's something I didn't really feel at the time, because obviously I didn't want to be playing twos, but it's now something I'm grateful for because I'm playing some of my better footy.
"I'm happy to just be contributing to a few wins, which have been nice."
Now, Silvagni is hopeful he'll soon be sharing the field with his younger brother Ben.
Another father-son pick for the Blues last season, Ben has shown good signs in the VFL recently as a 196cm forward option and is hopeful of pushing for a senior debut next year.
"He's developed really well over the last nine or so months," Silvagni said.
"He's turned a corner with the way he sees it. He says he's sick of playing twos and that he wants to play ones now, so it's good that he's got that attitude.
"But he'll bide his time. When his time comes, I think he'll be ready to step up."