“IT’S GOOD to be back into it.”
Echoing the words of many footballers across the competition, young Blue Sam Walsh’s statement was arguably one of the most genuine.
After 11 weeks away from Ikon Park across the off season, Walsh eagerly returned to training last week keen to get stuck into his third year in the Navy Blue.
Speaking to the team at 3AW, the 20-year-old star in the making shared his excitement to be able to get back to work with both some familiar and fresh faces.
“We obviously had a fair few inclusions through the trade and draft, so it’s a pretty exciting time for those guys to get involved at the club,” Walsh said.
“It’s been good to get stuck back into it with the older boys after Christmas. It’s been good fun.”
Despite all the fun and excitement, Walsh and the rest of the playing group know there is a lot of work to be done ahead of the 2021 season.
Walsh did not mince his words when stating the team’s expectations for the upcoming year, with the Blues looking to use a more aggressive style of play to move up the ladder and into finals contention.
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“I think the expectation for us will be finals football this year,” he said.
“At the moment, we’re doing the work to get in that position. We want to play attacking and hard-nosed footy and that’s how we want to be known as a club.
“We want to be a physical team that moves the ball quick.
“With the weapons that we’ve now got and the way that we’re training at the moment, I think that’s been a big focus for us.”
No longer the ‘new kid on the block’ Walsh will also be looking to once again improve and transition into a new role as part of Carlton’s midfield.
While he started playing on the wing, the 2019 NAB AFL Rising Star also spent additional time playing as an inside midfielder towards the end of 2020 – a role he relished.
Now, with a better understanding of the expectations of what’s required to play as an inside midfielder at an AFL level, Walsh is looking to work on his weaknesses over the pre-season period to ensure he has the versatility to play the role required by Coach David Teague in 2021.
“That’s a transition I want to take with my game. The thing that I pride myself on is being a versatile player, so I’m happy to play various roles for the team,” he said
“A strength for us this year is that we’ll have plenty of guys who can go through different roles and I think I can be one of them.
“There are things that I’m working on to try and transition my game to have more on-ball time.”