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Judd will still have leadership impact: Carrazzo

Ben Collins  February 6, 2013 5:13 PM

Off season update - Carlton We wrap the Blues' intraclub match at Visy Park
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Andrew Carrazzo gets a kick away during Carlton's intra-club game

It will probably end up being a joint position anyway through us helping each other. It's exciting, no doubt
CARLTON captaincy candidate Andrew Carrazzo says the club's next skipper will be the beneficiary of a tight-knit leadership group and ongoing support from predecessor Chris Judd.

Carrazzo, Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson will each have the chance to stake their claims for the captaincy when the Blues rotate the leadership role in the opening three rounds of the NAB Cup.

At a press conference following the Blues' first intra-club hitout under coach Mick Malthouse at Visy Park on Wednesday, Carrazzo said the eventual leader was lucky to have Judd's vast experience to call upon.

"Playing under 'Juddy' for a few years, certainly Kade, Marc and myself have learned from the best on how to lead a team by example, and through his actions and words," he said.

"I've spoken to him a couple of times (about leadership). He's got a wealth of knowledge, having played under John Worsfold (at West Coast), and his experience, and being in a successful team he knows what it takes to get to the top level.

"Juddy's a fantastic example. He's someone who's always willing to offer his experience and his know-how. In a way, we're lucky that Juddy's still here and playing such a big part still, so he's able to help us along."

Carrazzo said the captaincy would be an honour, adding that to simply be considered for the role was "humbling".

"It will probably end up being a joint position anyway through us helping each other. It's exciting, no doubt," he said.

"I think whoever gets the job is going to have good support and should do a good job."

The intra-club match, played over four 15-minute quarters in sweltering heat, also provided plenty of cause for optimism.

Nine frontline players were missing (injured pair Judd and Jarrad Waite, along with the rested Murphy, Simpson, Heath Scotland, Matthew Kreuzer, Michael Jamison and Lachie Henderson, while Eddie Betts is with the AFL Indigenous All Stars team) which made it difficult to get an accurate gauge on the game style and strategies implemented by Malthouse, but there was still enough to whet the appetite of Blues fans.

Malthouse walked around the field with a headset, issuing instructions to his players, while leaving the coaching to assistant Rob Wiley and Northern Bullants coach Luke Webster.

Midfielder Brock McLean, who resurrected his career with a strong finish to 2012, was best-afield, playing what Carrazzo described as a "fantastic game".

"Brock's had a fantastic pre-season, he's ticked all the boxes," he said. "The previous few seasons his body's probably let him down a little bit over summer ... Brock's raring to go for a big season."

A younger midfielder to impress was teenage draftee Nick Graham, who showed great skill and hardness.

Upgraded rookie Levi Casboult enhanced his claims for a key-forward role with a particularly impressive first half in which he slotted two goals from set shots: the first from a lead and the second from a strong pack mark.

Sam Rowe, who last year battled testicular cancer, produced a few bursts of strong football in attack. Carrazzo later said Rowe was a player the Blues would need this season, and they expect a lot from him.

Left-footed defenders Matthew Watson and Jeremy Laidler were dominant in defence, with Watson's aerial work and long, precise kicking being a feature, while Laidler's judgment, composure and organisational skills were also a welcome sight.

Andrew Collins was prominent in the forward half, improving as the game wore on, while David Ellard was busy.

There were very few stoppages but Shaun Hampson appeared to have the better of his ruck duel with Robbie Warnock.

Among the purists' delights, frequent flyer Andrew Walker took a high mark and climbed even higher, but unsuccessfully, for another.

The Blues will have a more intense workout in their next intra-club game on Friday February 15.

Carrazzo said Murphy and Kreuzer would "definitely" play, along with the majority of others who missed Wednesday's hit-out.