CARLTON has helped Michael Gibbons finally realise his AFL dream, signing both the VFL star and youngster Matt Cottrell to rookie contracts.
The pair had been training with the Blues since December and were eligible to sign for the club until March 15 under the AFL's new pre-season supplemental selection period rules.
Coach Brendon Bolton revealed the news to the pair on the Sunshine Coast on Friday that they had been signed to rookie contracts, just prior to the team returning from the club's summer training camp in Mooloolaba.
The pair were surrounded by their new teammates as they were told the news.
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Gibbons, 23, had been waiting nearly six years for his AFL opportunity after a distinguished VFL career with Williamstown that included two JJ Liston Trophies.
Cottrell, 18, is an elite runner who missed out on his chance to be recruited to an AFL list when he was bypassed at the NAB AFL Draft last November.
Carlton had left one list spot open following the draft, but gained two more vacancies following a long-term injury suffered by Sam Docherty and the premature retirement of Tom Bugg.
Gibbons and Cottrell subsequently fill two of Carlton’s three available list spots.