Michael Voss and Patrick Cripps celebrate Carlton's win over Richmond in R1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON will give its players an extended break to start the week as the club navigates the unique situation of having a bye in round two.

The Blues are not expected to return to full training until later this week, with a focus on rest and recovery to start the mega 15-day period ahead of their Good Friday clash against North Melbourne.

Carlton's high-performance staff have been preparing for the early bye since last November's fixture release, planning to build game loads through heavy a training block that continued into the season this time around.

Carlton players sing the team song after their win over Richmond at the MCG in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Clubs have normally received an extended break between their final pre-season practice matches and round one, with the Blues opting to delay that period until their bye given the tighter turnaround in 2024.

Last year, Carlton had 13 days between their last AAMI Community Series game and a round one clash with Richmond, but the advent of Opening Round saw that gap reduced to just nine days this season.

It meant Blues players kept training through after their pre-season scratch matches, enduring a heavy month-long block of conditioning that also featured two practice games and two proper matches against Brisbane and the Tigers.

The majority of those games were played in sweltering conditions, with their game at the Gabba last Friday night coming after successive pre-season scratch matches where temperatures hovered in the high-30s throughout.

Carlton now plans to hand its players nearly a week off to recover from that strenuous start to the season, though returning stars like Jacob Weitering (calf) and Sam Walsh (back) are likely to hit the track early this week as they aim for impending comebacks.

The Blues are confident defender Caleb Marchbank (illness) will return for Good Friday's game against the Kangaroos, with Weitering also a chance to feature, while Walsh and Jack Martin (knee) are also steadily building towards a return.


"What we've decided to do is go to the line hard over the last four weeks," Carlton coach Michael Voss said after Thursday night's win over Richmond.

"It probably means we haven't been as pristine, because we've trained pretty hard up until that point in time. We've deliberately, over this last month, kept training up and we obviously got the game exposure we needed.

"The view was always to get to here and see what shape we were in and then use it as a bit of rest and recovery and then launch into the season from here."