BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Jacob Weitering of the Blues kicks the ball during the round 7 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Port Adelaide Power at The Gabba on July 19, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Carlton defender Jacob Weitering is reportedly firming as a chance to replace teammate Sam Docherty as Blues co-captain alongside Patrick Cripps, while an AFL great has called for the club's young star to gain a leadership promotion.

The calls come in the wake of Docherty's decision to step aside from his duties as captain as he looks to focus on his health in recovering from recent cancer treatment.

Docherty's decision has opened up several options for the Blues to consider in regards to their leadership group for 2022, potentially having a new face join Cripps in sharing the top job.

Carlton could also consider keeping Cripps as the sole skipper for the next 12 months, however 7 News' Mitch Cleary reports that Weitering is a chance to pair with the midfielder in leading the Blues this year.

"Gun defender Jacob Weitering has emerged as a candidate to jump at the top job and partner Patrick Cripps as Blues skipper in a new-look leadership group," Cleary said on Wednesday night.

"Docherty today standing down from his post as he recovers from his second bout of testicular cancer. The Blues are hopeful he will return to the field in 2022 and continue leading without any official title.

"The full leadership group to be announced in the next month."

Carlton's 2021 leadership group consisted of Cripps, Docherty, Weitering, Ed Curnow, Sam Walsh, Marc Murphy and Liam Jones, with the latter duo having retired this off-season.

The pair of retirees, mixed with Docherty's departure, leave the Blues with just the four players remaining from the captaincy cohort.

Walsh has emerged as a wealthy asset to the Blues following a breakout 2021 campaign, prompting Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy to suggest the 21-year-old would best fit as Cripps' vice-captain.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Sam Walsh of there Blues celebrates a goal during the round 20 AFL match between St Kilda Saints and Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

“I’d make Cripps captain … and I’d introduce the youngster (Walsh) as a vice-captain," Healy said on SEN. 

“Give him a two-year apprenticeship, maybe one, and off he goes.”

The Blues enter a critical campaign in Michael Voss' maiden season as senior coach, with finals seen as a non-negotiable following another busy off-season of player movement.

Carlton will face St Kilda and Melbourne as part of their pre-season schedule before beginning their 2022 campaign against Richmond on Thursday, March 17.

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