Ins: Blake Acres (Trade, Fremantle), Jaxon Binns (NAB Draft, Pick 32), Lachie Cowan (NAB Draft, Pick 30), Oliver Hollands (NAB Draft, Pick 11), Harry Lemmey (NAB Draft, Pick 47)
Outs: Will Hayes (Delisted), Oscar McDonald (Delisted), Jack Newnes (Delisted), Luke Parks (Delisted), Will Setterfield (Trade, Essendon), Liam Stocker (Delisted), Tom Williamson (Delisted)
Draw: Based on the new weighted fixture brought in for 2023 season, Carlton will statistically have the 5th hardest draw. They Blues will face Collingwood, Gold Coast, GWS, Melbourne, St Kilda, and West Coast twice throughout the season.
Forwards: Jack Carroll, Charlie Curnow, Corey Durdin, Zac Fisher, Harry Lemmey, Jack Martin, Harry McKay, Jesse Motlop, Matt Owies, Sam Philp, Jack Silvagni
Midfielders: Blake Acres, Jaxon Binns, Adam Cerra, Matt Cottrell*, Patrick Cripps, David Cunningham, Ed Curnow*, Paddy Dow, Lachlan Fogarty, George Hewett, Oliver Hollands, Matthew Kennedy, Lochie O’Brien*, Sam Walsh
Rucks: Tom De Koning, Alex Mirkov*, Marc Pittonet
Defence: Domanic Akuei*, Jordan Boyd*, Lachlan Cowan, Sam Docherty, Sam Durdin*, Brodie Kemp, Caleb Marchbank, Mitch McGovern, Nic Newman, Lachlan Plowman, Adam Saad, Jacob Weitering, Zac Williams, Lewis Young
* Indicates rookie/long term injury listed player
Ones to watch: Adam Cerra will be looking to improve in his second year for the Navy Blues. Expect a stronger year in 2023 for the midfielder, especially early in the season with the absence of Sam Walsh. Look for Tom De Koning to take another step to becoming a genuine star, as he gets another pre-season under his belt. De Koning will be looking to secure the number one ruck spot from Marc Pittonet.
Strengths: The ‘Twin Towers’ up forward in Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay will be an automatic headache for any defence. Any side boasting dual Coleman Medal winners is always going to be dangerous. Their midfield will only be stronger this year with a fully fit Sam Walsh (once returned from back injury) and a bigger, stronger Adam Cerra to help out 2022 Brownlow Medallist Patrick Cripps. Expect continued development this year from their younger brigade this year. Their ball use and drive from half back is outstanding from Adam Saad and Sam Docherty, with the latter training in the midfield group over the pre-season.
Weaknesses: Although the Blues have one of the best defenders in the game in Jacob Weitering, their team defence was poor in several games last year which contributed to losses against lower ranked sides. One of the Blues biggest issues is slowing the opposition scoring down when they have momentum, as shown in their heart-breaking loss to Collingwood in their final game last year (sorry to bring it up Blues fans). Their backline has also had troubles keeping their 2nd and 3rd tall defenders in McGovern and Marchbank on the field. Zac Williams also looks set to miss 2023 with an ACL injury, maybe opening up a spot for draftee Lachlan Cowan who has been impressing over the pre-season
General thoughts: Everything about the Blues screams that they should be a finals team in 2023. Continued natural development of their young list, plus the inclusion of some outside run in Blake Acres only increases their chance this year. Although not superstars, if McGovern and Marchbank can spend 80% of time on field, rather than injured, expect a big improvement from the Blues. Expect another outstanding year from their superstar in Patrick Cripps, one of the best leaders, on, and off field currently in the AFL. Sam Walsh will miss the first few games of the year, which may allow Sam Docherty to move into the midfield until his return.
Coach Pressure Gauge: 3/10 – Michael Voss has managed to finally give the Blues fans some hope. The Blues board and fans alike are expecting them to make finals and anything else will be a disappointment. In saying this, Voss is an excellent coach with a quality young list and shouldn’t have any troubles making the finals this year for the first time since 2015.
Breakout year : Zac Fisher
B&F Winner: Patrick Cripps
Sam Walsh – $916,000 – Mid (Unlikely to play Round 1)
Patrick Cripps – $903,000 – Mid
Tom De Koning – $552,000 – Ruck
Lachlan Cowan – $242,000 – Def
Finishing spot prediction: 6th