WEDNESDAY was a significant day at IKON Park, with the Club officially relaunching the Carlton Academy for season 2021.
The new-look Academy has taken on a restructure this year, with the Blues incorporating its father-son, father-daughter, multicultural and Indigenous prospects all into the one program.
Some of the names taking part in the day included Tom Gleeson (son of Adrian), Mackenzie and Darcy Hogg (son of Matthew), Charlie McKay (son of Andrew), Tom Silvagni (son of Stephen) and Dane Whitnall (son of Lance), as well as some of the brightest multicultural and Indigenous young talent from the Northern Knights across their NAB League Boys and Girls programs.
The Blues appointed former Western Jets coach Torin Baker over the off-season in the newly introduced role of Carlton College of Sport and Academy Coach.
Speaking after the first day of the program, Baker said it was a sign of the Club’s commitment to ramping up its investment in this area.
“We’re no doubt looking to streamline that talent and put as much work into that talent as possible,” Baker said.
“We’ve got a group of players that we think have the potential to be something in the future and be able to go into our pathway teams.
“After Covid, we had to look at the restructuring and where we wanted to allocate our resources. We’ve got a group of 17 to 19-year-olds and that group consists of around 20 players.”
Assisting on the day were AFLW Blues Abbie McKay and Madison Prespakis, as well as club staff including Head of Development Luke Power and VFL Football Operations Coordinator Ash Naulty.
Wednesday’s session was the first of a number which the Club will conduct over the course of the year, which will incorporate both a skills and education component for all prospects.
“We’re looking at a bit of their craft with their training sessions and focus on a particular skills area, but also giving the off-field education,” Baker said.
“We had Tarah Kavanagh talk about mindset preparation, about how you live and how you train.
“We think that kind of education from an AFL piece is so beneficial for our player group.”