Carlton coach David Teague has confirmed the Blues are likely to welcome back a number of players for their clash against the Western bulldogs this Sunday.
The Blues will look to bring in Jack Silvagni and Zac Williams, as the pair look likely inclusions while Tom De Koning and Nic Newman are also in the mix.
Teague said the quartet needed to get through training along with veteran Marc Murphy.
Murphy was restricted to jogging laps away from the main group and looks unlikely to get up for this week.
Charlie Curnow looking better every week at Carlton training. Dow, Murphy, Williams and Silvagni all training as well. @zerohanger
— Jake Benoiton (@Jake_Benoits) May 6, 2021
The former Blues skipper missed last week with a neck injury, with Teague stating a significant amount of players coming back was creating a healthy competition for spots.
“Dow and Silvagni have both got to get through training today and should be available if they do, similar with Marc and Zac,” Teague said.
“We are getting a few back, there’s competition for spots and that’s what we want.”
Patrick Cripps also trained away from the main group but the club said there was no issue.
Patrick Cripps training with rehab group @zerohanger
— Jake Benoiton (@Jake_Benoits) May 6, 2021
De Koning and Newman may have to wait another week as they recover from long-term injuries.
“It’s a possibility, we will have a look at how they have pulled up,” Teague said.
“They didn’t play full games so we will assess whether they are ready or need another week (in the VFL).”
The Blues have won two of their last three games against the Bulldogs, having scored over 100 points on all three occasions.
Teague said the Blues were prepared for another high-scoring affair but acknowledged a need to improve defensively.
“If we concede a big score we’ve just got to make sure we kick a bigger score, I think this game could be really exciting,” he said.
“It could end up being a more offensive game. Do we want to get our defence better? Yes, it’s probably our biggest growth area but sometimes the game requires you to score.
“There’s no point having a really dour game if you don’t score enough to win it, we have to get better with our defence but we still have areas in our offence we want to get better in as well.”
The Blues play the Bulldogs and Demons in consecutive weeks in a real test of where the Blues sit. Teague said that his team were relishing the opportunity to play against the best but weren’t looking past this week.
“It’s exciting, our focus is on the Bulldogs at the moment. You want to play the best teams and that’s probably an area of growth for us, to compete against the best,” he said.
“Particularly for the full four quarters, we have shown it for periods but we haven’t done it consistently.
"I think our best is good enough to beat anyone."
– David Teague pic.twitter.com/zXo3XJC6hg
— 7AFL (@7AFL) May 2, 2021
“The Bulldogs are a very, very good side and we want to be able to beat the best sides. We believe if go out and play our best we can do that.
“We need to become really consistent at playing at our best that’s the challenge for us”
Teague was criticised last week for sticking with veteran Eddie Betts after he kicked 0.4 against Brisbane. Betts booted three goals in the win over Essendon and was a key in the club’s win.
Teague said he always had faith Betts would begin to convert his opportunities.
“I don’t get to concerned about what everyone else is saying, I think Eddie has had our second most shots for the season and over history you know Eddie is going to kick them,” Teague added.
“He had a period where he wasn’t but you know more often then not they’re going to go through the goals.”
Lochie O’Brien has put together some good form in the VFL and Teague was asked whether he was playing for his career this season.
O’Brien played only one game last year and was dropped after round one this year, however Teague said O’Brien would be at the club next year and was tracking well.
“He’s only 22, I wouldn’t say he’s fighting for his career,” he said.
“What he is fighting for is a spot in the team, I think he’s a better footballer now then he was a couple of years ago but now the challenge is breaking into the team.
Nine AFL-listed players took the field in our VFL win over Essendon.
See how Daniel O'Keefe broke down their performances. ⬇️
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) May 5, 2021
“Absolutely, you have to look at the bigger picture and their development, If he stops developing and stops growing then that’s the challenge.”
Carlton take on the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon.