Andrew Walker left out of Carlton team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Andrew Walker left out of Carlton team

By Leonard Siragusa 10/07/2008 07:36:41 PM Comments (0)

Carlton have overlooked versatile runner Andrew Walker for Friday's crucial AFL clash with St Kilda at the MCG.

Walker, who has recovered from two shoulder operations, was pushing hard to be included in the Blues line-up after two solid games with the club's VFL affiliate, the Northern Bullants.

The No.2 pick in the 2003 draft trained sharply on Thursday morning but it's believed he was told of his fate in a one-on-one discussion with coach Brett Ratten after the session.

Walker walked away from the chat, visibly upset, ripping off strapping on his hand.

Although Ratten had last month earmarked Walker's return against St Kilda, the Blues were concerned Walker was not match hardened enough.

"I think Andrew thought he was more of a chance than just in the mix," Blues assistant Brett Montgomery said.

"He's gone back and played two games at the lower level, been pretty good but he's not the sort of guy we want to risk.

"Andrew's super sharp, best trainer, one of the most physically gifted players at the club, it's just a matter whether he had enough footy or not."

Much has been made of the team's improved fitness following the appointment of former Western Bulldogs and Cricket Australia conditioning expert Justin Cordy.

The Blues have been the competition's final-quarter specialists in the past month, running out games like no other team.

From rounds seven to 14, the Blues have kicked 297 points in final terms, 55 points more than the next best finishers Hawthorn.

But Montgomery said he was impressed with the team's resolve in tough times during games.

"There's an enormous amount of spirit in the young guys here. Certainly the way we have been able to comeback in games is not something you relate well to young groups," Montgomery said.

"Usually you don't find that they've got that real will to stay in games once things don't go there way so that's been one thing, especially of late, that we've been impressed with."

The ninth-placed Blues have the chance to displace St Kilda from the eight to remain in the finals hunt.

But they will have to break a seven-year drought against the Saints.

St Kilda have won the past 10 meetings with the Blues, including round two this year. Carlton's last success against the Saints was in round 20, 2001.

While the Blues are determined to clear the poor record, Montgomery believes playing at the MCG and personnel changes will work in their favour.

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