CARLTON star Sam Walsh has become the face of the argument to retain the draft age at 18.
And the Blues youngster himself is very much of the opinion that it should remain the same in the future, having enjoyed a stellar maiden campaign in senior football last season.
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Walsh, the No.1 pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, burst onto the scene last year to play in every senior match for Carlton while averaging an impressive 25.1 disposals per game.
He claimed the NAB AFL Rising Star award and became an integral part of the Blues midfield, leading to his elevation to the club's leadership group this season at the age of just 19 years and bolstering the case for keeping the draft age as it is going forward.
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Speaking on Tuesday, Walsh reiterated his belief that 18-year-olds are ready for senior football and suggested that raising the draft age in the wake of the game's suspension of play could simply be delaying the inevitable for many young footballing hopefuls.
"I'm of the belief that at the age of 18 most guys are mature enough and ready to thrive at AFL level," Walsh said.
"Over the past 20 years – or however long we've been doing the draft – that's been shown.
"For the kids who maybe aren't ready yet, whether it be mentally or physically, there's still other pathways as we've seen.
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"For me, personally, when I was in my draft year at the age of 18 the balance of school gave me great structure. If you push that age back, a lot of people would lose their way.
"Even if you didn't want to go to uni and you wanted to do a trade, I don't think too many people are going to be put on as a one-year apprentice knowing they're going to get drafted the next year.
"There are a lot of things that are being discussed about it, but I think the way it is at the moment really helps kids get the best out of themselves. I think the clubs are all for that as well."
Meanwhile, Carlton has reiterated its commitment to co-major sponsor Virgin Australia after it was placed into involuntary administration in the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
"From an economic perspective, it would be hard to think of an industry hit harder than the airlines," the club's CEO Cain Liddle said in a statement.
"As a club, we will continue to offer our full support to Virgin Australia and their people, who have stood by our side for the past five years and through some very difficult periods for our football club."