Posted: 1 April, 2015
Carlton vice-captain has been declared fit by Mick Malthouse
(Image: AFL Media)
Carlton star Bryce Gibbs will line up for Thursday night's season-opening blockbuster against Richmond at the MCG after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Coach Mick Malthouse said his vice-captain would play as well as Chris Yarran and Robbie Warnock, while the Blues are set to include ‘one or two kids who are worthy of selection’.
Defender Yarran had been battling a virus while ruckman Warnock also had a shoulder injury.
Malthouse said former Giant Kristian Jaksch would make his club debut against the Tigers too.
The veteran coach only wanted to focus on the season-starter and wouldn't be drawn on the Essendon or Collingwood ASADA situations.
"I made it my full intention of coming and talking about the Carlton-Richmond game and I'm not going to change that," Malthouse said.
"The Essendon stuff, the Collingwood stuff, for us to go into tomorrow night, that's irrevelant.
"We are delighted to play at the MCG, play in the opening game ... this is what people pay their membership for, to see football played."
Meanwhile, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says key duo Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio will enter the clash in peak fitness after carefully managed pre-season programs.
Cotchin (hamstring) and Deledio (Achilles) have been handled with kid gloves at Punt Road, often training away from the main group, in the lead up to the 2015 season, but Hardwick said the pair are ready to break the shackles.
"(Trent's) raring to go," Hardwick said on Wednesday.
"You've only got to look at his track record from a game perspective - he's ready to go and he's going to be a good player for us."
Deledio worked away from the main group during a light training session on Wednesday, but Hardwick said that was part of the 27-year-old's routine at this stage of his career.
"He trained yesterday and we never train him two days in a row," he said.
"He always has the softer session the day before a game.
"He's raring to go, he looks in good form so we're looking forward to him making a solid contribution."
The Tigers have reached the eve of the premiership season in good shape with Chris Newman (heart surgery) and David Astbury (stingray barb) overcoming their recent setbacks.
Hardwick has been impressed with what he's seen from the Blues over the pre-season and scoffed at suggestions Mick Malthouse's men were clear underdogs going into Thursday night's blockbuster at the MCG.
"These round one games ... they're 50-50 games," he said.
"We've just got to make sure we go about playing our best footy, both offensively and defensively, and get the ball going our way."