Carlton defender Zac Williams poses for a photo during a Sir Doug Nicholls Round media opportunity on May 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON rebounder Zac Williams still needs to "tick a few boxes" before he is cleared to return from a glute strain against Sydney on Friday night.

Williams missed the Blues' last-gasp win over Narrm after being subbed out the week prior when playing Collingwood.

"I have main training tomorrow and need to make sure I tick a few boxes in terms of changing direction and high speed stuff in training, and make sure I'm doing majority of the drills with the boys," Williams told

"I'll tick a few of those boxes and put my hand up for selection on Friday night."

Williams missed the entirety of 2023 with a torn ACL, and has been subbed out twice this season with minor injuries – a knock to the Achilles against Greater Western Sydney, and then the glute issue which forced him to miss a game.

"It hasn't been a clean run, but I think I played eight straight games, including a few VFL pre-season games, so I don't look at it as frustrating. It is what it is," he said.


"Our squad mentality, when it comes to gameday, that's our focus. When I'm focusing individually, I'm just trying to be consistent week to week with training and my recovery, so I'm giving myself the best chance to play my role on gameday."

Carlton has been hit by injury this year, with the backline arguably affected the most.

Mitch McGovern missed three weeks with a hamstring injury, Caleb Marchbank (back) has managed one game, Jacob Weitering sat out the start of the season due to a calf issue and Adam Saad (calf) hasn't played since round five, while Sam Docherty ruptured his ACL in Opening Round.

"As a backline group, we spend a lot of time together in meetings. Having coffees together, and you actually spend a lot of time with the backline boys. So it's just the consistency in training and boys knowing what they need to do in their role on gameday, through the week and training and everything like that," Williams said.


"I think we had Mitch back last week, which was a really good addition back into the team, he looked like he hadn't missed much football. It was good to have him back. 

"Hopefully I'll be back this week, and 'Saady' in a few weeks after that. The boys that are playing the roles in Alex Cincotta and Jordan Boyd, they're playing really good football, it's a good problem for 'Vossy' (coach Michael Voss) to have at the selection table."

Cincotta closely shadowed Kozzy Pickett when the star Demon was in attack, holding him disposal-less till the final two minutes of the second quarter.

"I think he loves those types of match-ups, and he's built his name off those roles, and he's the ultimate professional," Williams said.

"At the start of the week, you tell him his role, and he sits down with the coaches and goes through what he needs to. On gameday, I almost feel sorry for his opponent for that specific weekend."