Sam Walsh has his sights set on making his AFL debut in Round 1.
Sam Walsh has his sights set on making his AFL debut in Round 1.

No.1 pick Walsh has sights set on Round 1

Carlton's No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh is setting set his sights on a Round 1 debut with the Blues this year.

Just six weeks into his first AFL pre-season, the midfield jet said pushing for selection in the opening round against Richmond was his motivation every time he stepped onto the training track this summer.

"That's the goal for me (Round 1 debut). Obviously that's still a long way away and there's things to be ticked off before then,'' Walsh said.

"But I think that's the motivation towards training and wanting to get better and then hopefully I will reach that goal.''

Walsh was taken with the first pick overall in the AFL national draft last year after an eye-catching season in the under-18s.

Speaking at the AFLPA/AFL induction camp for draftees at Marvel Stadium, Walsh said he felt he had already settled into life at the club.

Although he admitted backing up from strenuous pre-season training sessions had been the toughest adjustment.

"It's been unreal. I've loved every minute of it really,'' Walsh said.

"I couldn't ask for a better club to welcome me and the training that we've been doing has been great and I feel like I'm improving every day. I'm starting to feel really settled which is good.

"I thought I was pretty prepared coming in, but just backing it up every day is how you improve, but it is also a bit of a grind at times … I love that day-to-day stuff, but you've got to recover well otherwise it catches up with you.''

Walsh said he had been doing most of his training with the Blues' midfield group and expected his role to include a mix of inside and outside midfield play.

And he has taken every opportunity to learn off the more established players at the club.

"I've been lucky at Carlton everyone has been great in terms of getting around me and especially that young midfield group, we have all been working really well together,'' he said.

"Early on I was lucky enough to live with Patrick Cripps, Zac Fisher and Darcy Lang and they've been a huge help just to get a feel for what AFL life is like and things outside of the club that you do.''

The draftees' induction camp runs for two days - the players association leads the program on day one and the AFL on Tuesday.

"Already at the start we had a talk from Joe Montagna and talked about the ups and downs of AFL football,'' Walsh said.

"We talked about what to expect and how the players' association can help us on this journey that is hopefully a good ride for us.''

AFLPA general manager of development manager Ben Smith said the camp would discuss the pressures of being an AFL player, education, social media, finances and preparing for life after football.

"For us it's just about making sure the players understand the opportunities the AFLPA can provide to support their career on and off-field,'' Smith said.

"We want the players to understand the importance of having identity away from the game … that there is more to life than being a footballer and where they can access support from the AFLPA in their journeys.''

News Corp Australia


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