Walker reaches 200-game AFL milestone

The excitement at Carlton around Jack Silvagni’s debut has taken some limelight from teammate Andrew Walker, who makes his own AFL history on Saturday night.

Walker will become the first indigenous Carlton player to reach 200 games when they clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

“Over his career he’s faced adversity with his body but he’s never let that impact his mindset,” Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said of Walker.

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

Walker will be the 18th AFL indigenous player to reach 200 games.

He coincidentally wears the No.1 guernsey, which Silvagni’s father and grandfather made famous at Carlton.

Jack’s debut – he will wear No.2 – means Carlton will play a Silvagni for the 652nd time in their AFL history.

His debut adds extra spice to the latest match against their fierce rivals.

The Silvagni family is Blues royalty – Jack’s grandfather Serge played 239 games for the club.

Jack’s Dad Stephen, nicknamed SOS or Son Of Serge, is fourth on Carlton’s all-time playing list with 312 matches.

Stephen is also now Carlton’s list manager.

For all the potent symbolism of the 18-year-old’s debut, coach Brendon Bolton emphasised the third-generation Blue had earned his spot.

In particular, Jack has kicked goals in the VFL – something the Blues badly lack.

Only bottom side Essendon has scored less so far this season.

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

“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.”

The teenager has noticeably added to his slight frame since the Blues recruited him in last year’s draft.

“He’s worked incredibly hard in the gym. He’s put on some kilos,” Bolton said.

The added muscle will undoubtedly come in handy.

The Collingwood defence notoriously gave Melbourne’s No.1 draft pick Jack Watts a torrid time when he made his AFL debut in the 2009 Queens Birthday match.

There are certain to be some immediate physical tests for Silvagni.

If the Blues win, it will be only the second time in the last eight years that they have beaten the Magpies twice in a season.

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