Paddy Dow learning from the legendary Betts
CARLTON young gun Paddy Dow says there's more competition than ever for a spot in the side this year as the Blues ramp up their pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast.
A local contingent of Blues fans braved cloudy skies and muggy conditions at the Maroochydore Sports Complex yesterday for a chance to see their side in action.
The Blues' third straight year on the Coast is also the third for 20-year-old midfielder Dow, who said he was relishing the opportunity to learn new roles and cement his spot in the best 22.
"I'm going to do everything I can to earn my spot in the midfield, there's a lot of competition for spots," Dow said.
"In your first two years everything is new but this year I feel I'm a lot more confident … I'm going to try and earn my spot the best I can, keep training well, keep performing in the practice matches.
"I'm adding more strings to my bow.
"I prefer a midfield role but learning more about going forward is very exciting, and with us performing a lot better at the back end of last year and scoring higher - it's getting exciting."
Dow said legendary forward Eddie Betts' return to Carlton had been a big help in learning his new role, as well as the arrival of former Gold Coast Sun Jack Martin.
"Everyone's been learning off him and he's a great resource for us," he said.
A Round 1 guernsey could also mean facing off with his younger brother and new Tigers recruit Thomson, a prospect Paddy admits he's already excited about.
"Some of the stuff Eddie does on the track is pretty amazing, I've been picking his brain … about the forward role because obviously he's one of the best in the game," he said.
"We do joke about that sometimes, if (Thomson) trains well and I train well hopefully that does eventuate, further down the future if not Round 1.
"It would be pretty amazing, I don't reckon I've ever played against Thomson other than the backyard, but it would be pretty special.
"I spoke to him before the draft and just after the draft, everything's so new to him so he's been pretty flat out."
Wednesday's session saw a step back in intensity for Dow, with calf tightness restricting him to light duties away from the main group.
The open training session wasn't without its casualties, as star midfielder and incumbent AFL Rising Star Sam Walsh also leaving the track early - later emerging with strapping on his head and ankle area.
"This year I've done pretty much a full pre-season. Apart from today, I didn't train because I had a little tight calf because I've done so much pre-season and been training well so (I've been told) to rest it," he said.
"Monday was very hot, I think a lot of the boys had a tough session, and then today it was cooler. It's pretty muggy and sticky out there, but I think it's meant to be like this for the rest of the week so it's not too bad for a training camp.
"I think Sam Walsh and Will Setterfield have been amazing this pre-season, I don't think they've missed a session, they've been performing unreal."