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Waite declares he's ready to return

Ben Collins  April 30, 2013 5:36 PM

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Jarrad Waite in action during a Carlton Blues training session at Visy Park in Melbourne. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)

JARRAD Waite has declared himself ready to return to the Carlton line-up.

The veteran forward says he has made himself available for selection for the Blues' clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.

Waite, who has overcome a calf problem that had hampered him since February, played his first game for the season in the VFL on Sunday.

In about 60 per cent game time for the Northern Blues, he had 12 disposals, six marks and four tackles but went goalless, scoring just two behinds.

"I've obviously put my hand up (to be selected), but in the end it's up to the fitness staff and Mick (Malthouse) to see if they want me out there," Waite told carltonfc.com.au on Tuesday afternoon.

"I don't care where I play on the weekend. I’m happy just being back out there…

"I know I can’t be impatient. I'm just basically waiting the week out and (we'll) see what happens."

The 154-gamer enthused that he had "pulled up really well" from his VFL hitout.

"Obviously there was a little bit of game soreness, but nothing that wasn't planned. It felt good, I got through the game and (I was) happy with the way it went," he said.

"I felt good the way I was timing the ball and stuff like that, which is usually out when you've missed a fair bit of footy."

Waite admitted that in the past he had probably been guilty of trying to get back too soon, but that it was different on this occasion.

"This time it's probably the first time I've been injured at the start of the year, so you don't feel as uptight to get back," he said. "Obviously with a calf – and (I) hurt it again – it's one of those things you've got to be patient with and I knew that from the start.

"I'm just hoping that it'll all go well for the rest of the year."

One factor in Waite's favour is that key forwards Shaun Hampson and Sam Rowe struggled during the win over Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night.

After the match, Malthouse suggested he might restructure the forward line and would look closely at players at VFL level.

When fit, Waite is one of the keys to Carlton's forward line, and his return would make the Blues more dangerous, unpredictable and flexible.

Jarrad Waite is a forward in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 88.3 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.

Ben Collins is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_BenCollins