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All smiles at Carlton as Bolton banishes the Blues

New Blues' sharing session The new-look Blues get to know each other as a young gun burns up the track

BRENDON Bolton promised to deliver a new learning environment to the Carlton Football Club and on the opening day of pre-season training, he did that.

Every one of the first to fourth-year players as well as the coaching staff, which with the exception of John Barker is entirely new, gathered in a room at Princes Park on Monday to tell some stories. 

Every player had to give something of themselves, and from all accounts, it was a bit of a hoot. 

"There were some really good stories," Bolton explained on Wednesday ahead of the first major training session of the new campaign.

"One day I'd like to share them. Not now because we have a different agenda, but what it means is that we have some quality people." 

Bolton directs his new charges at Ikon Park on Wednesday. Picture: AFL Media

He'll need them because Carlton enters 2016 knowing that it is in for a slow and laborious rebuild where patience will be a key. Wins on the scoreboard will likely be few and far between, but as Bolton said: "Internally, there will be a lot of wins."

Wednesday marked the first of many times Bolton will front the cameras. His happy-go-lucky persona was a feature of his five-week period in 2014 when he stood in for Alastair Clarkson as the interim senior coach of Hawthorn, but wearing the navy blue of Carlton and with no 'interim' in his job title, it wasn't hard to discern a slightly harder edge. 

"You always need to show your personality. And if I'm happy then I'm happy. I won't be putting on a façade.

"You need to be happy at times to bring people with you and to engage and build relationships, but you have to get the job done. We're urgent and there's a process to be done and that's to rebuild this footy club."

When pressed further about whether becoming a full-time senior coach required something of a personality change, Bolton's mood hardened.

"If you're questioning me about whether I can be assertive I have answered it. It's about people and process," he said.

What has already brightened his mood is the ripping condition in which some of his key building blocks have returned to training. Reigning best and fairest Patrick Cripps looks terrific and this was noted by Bolton.

"What I do know about him is there's no complacency. He, (new Adelaide recruit) Sam Kerridge and Dylan Buckley all came back in elite condition," he said.

Dale Thomas was a notable inclusion at training, despite the more experienced Blues not being required back at training until later this month. Pretty much every senior player has been spotted training at the club over the past few weeks.

Dale Thomas fronted up with Carlton's youngsters on Wednesday. Picture: AFL Media

It has all been a bit of a whirlwind for Bolton, who was appointed by the Blues in late August. He confessed "there aren't enough hours in the day" for a first-time coach, but he did get back to his native Tasmania for 10 days for a spot of fishing, a bit of a breather and as he confessed, just a few hours at night on the computer.

And it is to Tasmania he will return for his first official game in charge of the Blues, in the NAB Challenge opener against Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium on February 18.

"It's terrific," he said of facing his former club. "We wouldn't want it any other way. At the moment they're the yardstick of the competition and when you're trying to raise standards and when you face the three-time premiers, there couldn't be a better start." 

Carlton recruit Liam Sumner and new teammate Nick Graham on the bikes. Picture: AFL Media

Before then comes the NAB AFL Draft later this month and that is where Bolton's Blues will start to take shape. He has no idea of the make-up of the side for the start of the season, but bringing elite young talent to Carlton leaves him genuinely excited.

The Blues had to give up some quality such as Chris Yarran and Lachie Henderson, but they have four picks in the first 19 for Bolton to get to work with.

"It's about sustained success," he said of his plans for Carlton. "If you want sustained success you have to get into the draft. And we're in the draft.

"We encourage all the members and supporters to look for the little sprouts with our youngsters. We have four picks in the top 20, which has never happened before so watch the talent grow. 

"We know it takes time, it's a brutal industry and a tough competition, but we're excited by that growth," he said.

Bolton's media conference was preceded by the announcement that online job website CareerOne will become the club's new joint major partner for the next two seasons.

Carlton captain Marc Murphy runs laps at Ikon Park on Wednesday. Picture: AFL Media