Carlton coach David Teague says Charlie Curnow wants to make it back to the AFL team this season as the star young forward prepares for his first game in over two years.
Curnow, 24 has not played a game since Round 15, 2019, following multiple surgeries and injury setbacks that have continually delayed his return to football.
But he has been training fully for several weeks, and Teague said Curnow was ready to play in the VFL and, pending his body holding up, could return to the AFL before this season finishes.
“That’s his plan,” Teague said on Thursday.
“That will come down to form. We will build him up, we won’t risk him obviously. His health and him as a person is the most important priority for us.
“If his form and his body are handling the load no worries, then absolutely we would love to get him out there.”
Teammate Jacob Weitering said Curnow was looking “unbelievable” in training, and track watchers think he’s moving better than before his horror run of injuries.
Teague said Curnow, who has played 58 games since his 2016 debut, had been training well, but his minutes would still be monitored in his comeback game.
“He won’t play the whole game, we are going to build him up. he’ll play probably 60-70 minutes at this stage,” Teague said.
“I know he’s excited, the boys are excited to see him out there. I think our fans will be excited. He’s really looking forward to it and we can’t wait to see him get out there and have some fun.”
Charlie Curnow has had a long battle with injuries. Picture: AAP Image/Alex MurraySource:AAP
While Curnow will return via the VFL, former captain Marc Murphy, who needs to play four more games to reach 300, is still batting a calf issue.
Curnow’s return would add to a “spine” at the Blues that includes Weitering in defence and Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay up forward.
With Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield also declaring gun young Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh a “special, special player” this week, the Blues have all the ingredients to make the rise many expected this season.
Teague said he was “positive” Carlton had the players to make a sustained run of success but wouldn’t be gifting any games to young players this season, with finals out of the equation, to fully assess his team’s talent.
“We want to finish the year strong and continue to improve.” he said.
“It’s about getting to finals, whether it’s this year or next year. We are not going to go through the motions and we are also not giving games that are unwarranted,
“We have a group we need to get some cohesion in, get guys playing football together. We’ll balance all those decisions.”
Teague and his players had been given no information about a potential shift in Sunday’s clash with Collingwood, scheduled to be played at the MCG, despite the evolving Covid crisis in Melbourne.
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