Blues pick four debutants against Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues pick four debutants against Tigers

25/03/2009 08:29:59 PM Comments (0)

Carlton have no concerns about blooding four first-gamers in the unforgiving spotlight of a packed MCG, predicting they will thrive on the experience.

And the Blues are also confident gun forward Brendan Fevola's injured heel will not restrict him from playing a key role in the season-opener against Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night.

Fevola again looked proppy in a brief appearance on the training track on Wednesday but assistant coach Mark Riley predicted he would be right on the night.

Tigers coach Terry Wallace expected pain-killing injections would help Fevola through.

The Blues named teenagers Mitch Robinson, Jeffrey Garlett, Aaron Joseph and 20-year-old ruckman Sam Jacobs to play their first AFL games in front of a sellout crowd.

Three of them - Garlett, Joseph and Jacobs - had to be elevated off the club's rookie list to become eligible.

But assistant coach Mark Riley said the quartet had shown during the pre-season they could improve the side.

"That once again indicates that we've got good faith and trust in the depth of our list and I think it's very exciting for Carlton supporters going forward," Riley said.

"We've still got a very young list, very very young and it will be great to give these boys exposure at an early age in front of the crowd in big games.

"We haven't really been involved in very many proper big games in recent years and there is an expectation on both clubs that we will improve and hopefully both clubs will be aiming to make finals in 2009, that's certainly our aim."

Riley said Robinson and Garlett had impressed with their speed and tackling pressure in Carlton's forward line.

"I wouldn't like to be a halfback flanker with the ball in my hand in today's game knowing how precise your execution has to be with Jeffrey Garlett in the vicinity, because he'll run you down and put pressure on," he said.

"We've been stoked by the amount of pressure applied by Robinson and Garlett and Eddie Betts and all the other guys that have gone through our forward line.

"We think that's a real advancement in our game."

Joseph showed great dedication in a tagging role on Geelong star Gary Ablett during the NAB Cup and will probably set out to shut down one of Richmond's top midfielders.

Jacobs will come up against another first-gamer, with Richmond also pulling a ruckman off their rookie list, 18-year-old surprise inclusion Andrew Browne, who at 205cm is the tallest player at Tigerland.

Tigers coach Terry Wallace admitted that three weeks ago even he did not contemplate that prospect.

"He got an opportunity in round three of the NAB Cup where we played all of our young players, it wasn't that he'd done anything particularly special up until that stage, he was going along adequately," Wallace said.

"But he performed really well in NAB three so we took him along to NAB four and he did a good job in that game as well, so we decided to give him the opportunity."

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