Carlton recruit set to play first game
Tuesday July 21, 2009
CARLTON may have a different look in defence against Collingwood on Friday night with Michael Jamison and Setanta O'hAilpin up for selection, but perhaps the better news for the Blues will be at VFL level.Two-thirds of the way into the season, ruckman Robert Warnock, a much-touted recruit from Fremantle at the end of last year, is finally set to play his first game since joining the Blues.Warnock, 22, has had a foot stress fracture, but is tipped to play for the Northern Bullants against the Bendigo Bombers on the weekend. "We're planning for him to play," Carlton football operations manager Steven Icke said yesterday.Whether Warnock has left his run too late to play senior football in 2009 is problematical. Icke was non-committal about it. "We've taken a conservative approach with him. We'll just assess how he does. We don't want to put pressure on the kid. We're going to watch how he does and get some game time into him and hopefully he gets something out of the year rather than it being a total write-off."The 206-centimetre Warnock left Fremantle because he had limited opportunities as the understudy to all-Australian Aaron Sandilands. His absence has left much of the ruck burden to be carried by the inexperienced Matthew Kreuzer.Key defender Jamison, a late withdrawal at the weekend because of groin soreness, is expected to play against Collingwood after training with the main group yesterday. "One of the reasons we pulled him out was because we knew we only had a six-day break," said Icke. "We knew that he might struggle to come up if he had played."O'hAilpin, who has had buttock bruising, has not played since a collision with teammate Brendan Fevola in round 14. He also trained with the senior group yesterday and should be available this week.Among those pushing up from the VFL are ruck-forward Cameron Cloke, who kicked five goals in the Bullants last game, midfielder Richard Hadley and defender Mark Austin.- St Kilda ruckman Michael Gardiner is likely to be fit to play against the Western Bulldogs after missing Sunday's game with a calf muscle injury. Saints' football operations manager Greg Hutchison said the club was "optimistic" about Gardiner's return, although he will have to prove himself at the main training session on Thursday.Justin Koschitzke had the split webbing in his left hand stitched yesterday and Hutchison said the key forward "should be OK" for this week.Full-back Max Hudghton, who has missed several weeks with an ankle injury, also will be available. He trained strongly on the weekend.