Blues' Waite 'on track' for AFL opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues' Waite 'on track' for AFL opener

By Sam Lienert 14/02/2010 04:34:28 PM Comments (0)

Valuable Carlton key position player Jarrad Waite believes he is on track to play in the AFL season-opener against Richmond.

Waite, who seriously injured his knee last May, told Blues fans at a family day on Sunday that his recovery had progressed quicker than expected.

"I probably should try to play a practice match in two or three weeks and should be right for round one hopefully, if all goes well," Waite said.

"I'm a bit ahead of schedule, which is nice, but I've got to wait and see how it turns up from games and I won't rush it."

The athletic 194cm marking player's ability to perform at both ends of the ground will be vital for the Blues as they seek to fill the hole in attack left by Brendan Fevola's departure.

While ruckmen Matthew Kreuzer, Shaun Hampson and Robert Warnock will have stints up forward, Waite said he also expected to regularly spend time in attack.

"We'll see how it goes, if I'm going no good down back I might get swung up forward and vice-versa, I might go down back," he said.

"I'm looking forward to the year and it's going to be good to get back out there."

Coach Brett Ratten said ensuring that the club could convert attacking moves into goals would be the focus of their opening NAB Cup match against Sydney in Blacktown on Saturday night.

"We'll get a lot of feedback from the Sydney game on how well we go and how well we move the ball inside 50, it will be pretty critical," Ratten said.

Fullback Michael Jamison is another key position player the Blues are glad to have fit again, after he missed their last eight games of 2009 with a groin injury.

But a noticeably bulked-up Jamison said a benefit of his missed gametime was the extra hours he spent in the gym over the off-season.

He was looking forward to reuniting on-field with Waite.

"He's so versatile and flexible you can play him anywhere," Jamison said.

"It gives us that little bit of unpredictability, being able to play him forward and back, so hopefully he's out there round one."

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