ZAC Williams. Adam Saad. Lachie Fogarty.
When it comes to new recruits for Carlton in 2021, you might as well add the highly talented defender to the list.
That’s the opinion of assistant coach Dale Amos, who detailed where Marchbank was at as a return to pre-season looms for all at Ikon Park.
After a frustrating 18 months on the sidelines due to a number of injuries, Amos said “there’s no doubt” that Marchbank has to be regarded as essentially a new recruit.
“Everything points to Caleb being in great shape for the start of the year,” Amos told Carlton Media.
“It’s really exciting to have him back — he’s in a really good headspace and he’s really excited about what footy is in front of him and the fact that he’s going to be able to play some more footy moving forward.”
Marchbank isn't due back for training until the new year, with first-to-fourth-year players scheduled to return on Monday for a two-week block of training. All other players will return on Wednesday 6 January 2021.
It’s clearly been a willing time for the key defender.
In Round 15 of the 2019 season, Marchbank produced one of the best performances of his career in a win over Fremantle. With 22 disposals, eight marks and nine spoils, it seemed like he was poised and settle in the Carlton side.
A week later, a knee to the head resulted in a non-displaced fracture of a vertebrae in his neck.
In a neck brace until November, Marchbank returned to get himself in a position to play senior football in 2020, before a knee injury and then hamstring issues ruled him out for the year.
“He just hasn’t had the chance to be able to play much footy in the last couple of years,” Amos said.
“He was just starting to get some continuity in 2019 and then he had the neck fracture: that was a long, significant injury.
“He was getting close this year and was playing some reserves footy to be back in the team, and then had a bit of a hamstring issue so we shut him down for the year.
“A bit like a Tom Williamson this year, the main focus will be getting him on the park and letting him play some consistent footy: there’s no doubt he’ll continue to grow off the back of that.
“He’s going to be a great asset for us.”
Amos spoke to Carlton Media as part of a pre-season preview series ahead of next week’s return to training. For the full interview, watch the video in the player below.