LAST year's No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh has no discernible weaknesses and is ready to slot straight into Carlton's midfield early this season, veteran Blue Kade Simpson says.
The Blues drafted Walsh ahead of star South Australian juniors Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine, having been sold on, among other things, the former Geelong Falcon's prolific ball-winning and elite endurance.
Simpson told Melbourne radio station SEN on Monday morning Walsh had quickly justified Carlton's faith over the pre-season and was on track for an early AFL debut.
"I'm yet to see a weakness to be honest, he's a serious athlete," Simpson said.
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"I think one thing he's got that a lot of young guys probably learn (later) is he's not afraid to push himself to the absolute limit.
"On the training track he's up the front of all the running drills, he's got explosive speed away from stoppages, an amazing lateral step and (he's) just a ripping young fella.
I'd be excited if I was a Carlton fan because he's going to have a very long career, I would have thought.
Asked if Walsh would play senior football early in the 2019 season, Simpson said: "I think so. He's been really impressive on the track. I think he will slot very nicely into our midfield."
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Carlton is coming off a dismal 2018 when it finished last with just two wins for the season.
The Blues' pre-season has been just as bumpy. Co-captain Sam Docherty suffered a season-ending ACL rupture before Christmas, while the preparations of Mitch McGovern, Matthew Kreuzer, Jarrod Pickett and Alex Fasolo have also been disrupted by injury.
Simpson, however, is confident Blues fans will start to see the fruits of the list rebuild the club embarked on under coach Brendon Bolton at the end of 2015.
The veteran defender says if anything Carlton's spate of pre-season injuries has "energised" the team, with some players seeing it as an opportunity to stand up and cement a position.
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Simpson is also hopeful the young talent the Blues have stockpiled over the past four years is ready to deliver in 2019.
"All the work that I see the boys doing and the amount of effort that we're putting in, I hope that it translates on the field," Simpson said.
"I think the young talent that we've got now and the way they're working – we've seen glimpses of that with Charlie Curnow last year and Zac Fisher – so hopefully a few guys, Sammy Walsh coming in and Will Setterfield from GWS, if a few of those guys can stand up and make that jump to the next level I think you'll see a much-improved side this year."