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No.1 challenge for No.1 pick as Weitering set to play on Buddy Franklin

Ben Guthrie  March 10, 2016 12:10 PM

AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Carlton v Essendon

Jacob Weitering was outstanding in his first NAB Challenge match against Essendon

We'll get a really good training block into him before round one

HIGHLY rated Carlton youngster Jacob Weitering is set to face his toughest test yet, with coach Brendon Bolton flagging a match-up on Sydney Swans spearhead Lance Franklin in Friday night's NAB Challenge clash at Etihad Stadium. 

Weitering, the first overall pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, looked incredibly composed in his first game for the Blues against Essendon a fortnight ago.

The 18-year-old won 17 possessions and took nine marks on debut.

Bolton is not afraid of laying down the challenges to his young players.

"If he (Weitering) can get some minutes against a forward like Buddy, that's great learning," he said.

"If that happens I hope we all get an opportunity to see Weitering (play on Franklin), and it'll be great for him to sit back and analyse what he did do right and what he didn't."

The Blues will welcome back reigning best and fairest winner Patrick Cripps and dynamic forward Andrew Walker for Friday night's duel against the Swans.

Matthew Kreuzer, Dale Thomas and Bryce Gibbs have also been recalled.

The Blues have decided to manage Marc Murphy as they prepare for him to be fit for a round one against Richmond.

The skipper was part of a hard training session before the main squad went through their paces early on Friday morning.

"We've taken a conservative approach with Murphy," Bolton said.

"He was a bit line ball about whether we'd play him or not. We'll get a really good training block into him before round one." 

Kristian Jaksch has not been sighted through the NAB Challenge and Bolton said the former Giant would play in the Northern Blues' practice match against Box Hill at Ikon Park on Saturday. 

Jaksch, who was traded to the Blues from Greater Western Sydney at the end of 2014, managed just six matches in his first year at Carlton.

"He'll be playing in the VFL this week so it'll be a good opportunity for us to have a look at him," Bolton said of the ex-Giant.

"We think he's a player that can play both forward and back, so a practice match gives us a chance to see how he's going."

Asked how far away Jaksch may be from senior selection, the Blues coach was straight to the point: "Form dictates that," Bolton said.