Docherty steps into sideline role
He won't play at all next season due to a serious knee injury, but Carlton's Sam Docherty will have a role to play as an unofficial coach.
The 24-year-old faces a season on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL during pre-season training last month.
It's a blow for the Blues, after he put together a very impressive 2017 campaign that ended with him earning his maiden All-Australian selection in the half back line.
Docherty led the AFL in kicks and marks and was in the top five in overall metres gained as well as rebounds from defensive 50.
He's undergone a traditional knee reconstruction on his left knee, and team-mate Matthew Wright says he'll now play an "instrumental" role for the Blues off the field.
Docherty, who's in Carton's leadership group, returned to Ikon Park soon after his surgery. He is attending training camp at Maroochydore, where he has actively participated in the Blues' match practice and skills sessions as an extra coach.
Wright said: "He had the white coach's top on today so he cops a bit of stick from the boys for that, but the role he's going to play for us off-field, he's nearly another coach.
"He really bridges that gap from 'Bolts' (Brendon Bolton) as the head coach to the line coaches and then the playing group, he's going to be instrumental for us this year. It's a credit to him and it's a credit to the Carlton footy club (and) the environment that we're trying to create."
Wright doesn't feel one player will be able to cover the absence of Docherty, who finished in the top two in the club's best and fairest in the past two seasons.
Carlton are 5000/1 to win the 2018 Grand Final, while the Blues are 5000/1 to finish in the top eight.
View all Australian Rules betting