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Weitering is ready to play AFL football, teammate says

Nick Bowen  January 20, 2016 2:42 PM

AFL 2016 Training - Carlton 130116

Jacob Weitering has impressed his new teammates at training

He's as ready as any first-year player in terms of his body that I've seen

CARLTON full-back Michael Jamison has not seen a first-year player more physically ready to play AFL football than Jacob Weitering.

Jamison has trained alongside Weitering, the No.1 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, in the Blues' defensive group for much of this pre-season.

Jamison told reporters on Wednesday it was still too early to tell whether Weitering would force his way into the Blues' round one team, but said the key defender had done all he could so far to press his selection claims.

"A lot's been said, but he is really impressive," Jamison said.

"We look after the first-year players in terms of loads and things like that, but even off-field his willingness to learn and ask questions and really want to fast-track his development, that's probably been the thing that has stood out for me.

"It's always hard to tell (whether a first-year player will play round one), but he's as ready as any first-year player in terms of his body that I've seen."

Meanwhile, Jamison expected Carlton would make a decision on its 2016 captain before it opened its NAB Challenge campaign against Hawthorn on February 18 at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

The defender praised the job incumbent skipper Marc Murphy had done since taking over from Chris Judd ahead of the 2013 season, but said Carlton's pre-season focus was on improving all of its players' leadership skills.

"We're trying to develop leadership, not only in a small group, but across the entire playing group because we recognise that we need as many leaders out on the field as possible," Jamison said.

"So we'll keep going through that development and I'm sure before the NAB Challenge something will be released.

"I think 'Murph' has done a fantastic job for the last few years. It certainly hasn't been the easiest place to be a leader the past couple of seasons, so if it's his job again I'll be right behind him."

Carlton football boss Andrew McKay told AFL.com.au earlier on Wednesday that Murphy was due to resume full training soon after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder in December.

Jamison welcomed that news, saying he believed Murphy could return to the training track as early as Friday.

"I think the plan is if not Friday then next week, so it will be great to have Murph back out there," he said.

"He's been training hard off the track, (but) he's pretty keen to get back into the football stuff."