Bolton backs in AFL debutant Jack Silvagni

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton hopes Jack Silvagni’s debut and Andrew Walker’s 200th AFL match will elevate the Blues to a rare double over arch-rivals Collingwood.

The Blues were surprise winners over the Magpies in round seven and boast the club’s most famous name once more in their line-up for Saturday night’s match at the MCG.

Jack will follow in the footsteps of grandfather Sergio and father Stephen, now the club’s list manager, when he plays his first match.

It’s a keenly anticipated moment among Blues fans with memories of elder Silvagnis in their minds.

In stellar careers, Sergio and Stephen claimed 32 wins over the Magpies, including Sergio’s triumph in the famed 1970 grand final – one of four flags the Silvagnis won at Carlton.

But Bolton said it would be wrong to assume the 18-year-old was being blooded ahead of time on the back of his family name.

“He’s kicked around 13 (VFL) goals in the last month. It was earned,” he said.

“He’s been hitting the scoreboard and it’s an area we’d like to do more of at senior level.

“When I first met the draft intake this year (I told them) ‘nothing would be given, you’re not entitled to anything’. He earned his position.

“He’s worked incredibly hard in the gym. He’s put on some kilos.

“Form is the next dictator (and) he’s played really well.”

Unlike his ruck-rover grandfather and full back father, 19-year-old Jack will find a role in the forward line.

There, he’ll play alongside milestone-man Walker, the current occupant of the No.1 guernsey the Silvagnis made famous.

Bolton said Walker deserved his share in the limelight.

“He’s the first indigenous player at our football club to play 200 games,” he said.

“Over his career he’s faced adversity with his body but he’s never let that impact his mindset.

“He’s shown our draft class how to prepare … he’s an absolute professional.”

A win would be just the second time in eight seasons Carlton have claimed two wins over the Magpies in a year.

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