herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Carlton Blues still have eyes on Kilkenny

AUSSIE Rules side Carlton's recruiting manager, Shane Rogers, insists they still have their eyes concentrated on Dublin starlet, Ciarán Kilkenny, but won't rush the talented young dual ace into a trip down under to trial with the Melbourne-based club.

Rogers stresses that while the club is extremely keen on acquiring the services of the recently crowned 'Cadbury Hero of the Future' - following his heroics for Dublin's U21s in when capturing the All-Ireland crown - he won't be distracted from his commitments with the Dubs this season.

"We're definitely interested in him," Rogers said. "But we want him to continue doing what he's doing. We don't want to interfere with his involvement with Dublin.

"There are a number of players we are interested in, in Ireland, and will continue to look at. We want them to continue enjoying their footy and their life in Ireland and when they're ready, they'll make the call and can come out for a trial."

Rogers said the success of his club's Irish recruitment programme means that Carlton would continue to seek talent in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

"Two new franchises came in (Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast) so we have to look a little bit outside the square because there just aren't enough players to go around, in our view.

"It's the success we've had (in Ireland) that keeps us going back. We've tried multiple international markets. When you have a bit of success that drives you to keep going to certain markets as opposed to other markets that have failed in the past."

While the Blues have attempted to harness talent from countries such as Fiji, America and Papua New Guinea, Rogers said he believed Irish players' attitude and determination to succeed is what makes the prospect of recruiting them so attractive. He cites former Laois footballer Zach Tuohy as an ideal exponent.

"Zach Tuohy is an amazing story. He came here with Ciarán Sheehan (Cork). At the time Ciarán decided to go back. Ciarán looked like he could play AFL tomorrow, he was a very talented player but he decided against it. Zach came with him the second time he came down. Zach probably didn't have the athletic qualities that he (Sheehan) had to play our game. But when he picked up the ball and started kicking it, we've gone 'Wow have a look at this bloke, he's doing it on his own'. So Zach's got that competitive nature. And now his athletic stuff has really gone to an elite level.

"The coaches won't like to hear me say this, and they've done a great job with him, but Zach basically has done this himself. He's a really driven kid. We were wrapped that he came over but we probably had our eyes on Ciarán and Zach was an added bonus. But Zach's gone way beyond our expectations and become a really good AFL player," concluded Rogers.

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