Carlton livewire Jeff Garlett says he isn’t confident about returning to the senior line-up for next week’s clash against West Coast, despite an encouraging performance for the Northern Blues in their 25-point win over Footscray in the VFL on Sunday.
Garlett, searching for some form in the VFL, showed “bits and pieces” against the Bulldogs at Whitten Oval, according to coach Luke Webster, but still appears to be a shadow of the exciting forward who produced 43 goals last season as a small forward.
"I’m not confident [of earning a recall], but anything can happen, it would be good to get back in there,'' he said.
Garlett had 14 disposals, five marks, six tackles and kicked two goals in the second half. His silky pass to Nick Holman, who sealed the match, was one of the highlights.
He said he was working on his defensive efforts, as directed by Carlton coach Mick Malthouse.
"[I’ve been told] just to work hard and put my forward pressure up and to hit the scoreboard, so I’ve just got to keep working on that and hopefully things will go in the right direction and hopefully I’ll make it back [into the senior team] soon.''
Webster said he was impressed by Garlett’s last quarter. ''In that second half and definitely in that last quarter, he sparked us a little bit. He’s continuing to keep finding form and to keep building on his game, and again he’s been looking at his defensive side of things and I thought that was really good for him today.''
Webster was also impressed with midfielders Brock McLean (25 disposals and 11 clearances) and Nick Graham (24 disposals), who excelled when it mattered most.
Blaine Johnson was terrific with four goals, while Matt Watson found some form in defence in the Blues' third win of the season.
Western Bulldogs youngster Mitch Honeychurch moved closer to making his AFL debut after a dominant performance in the midfield, while forward Tory Dickson kicked five goals.
Geelong midfielder Steven Motlop says it will be his recovery from Saturday night’s comeback match in the VFL against Box Hill that will determine whether he will return for next week’s clash against Port Adelaide.
It was his first match since undergoing patella surgery in London.
''The next two days is pretty important for me to see how my knees pull up ... then we’ll see where we go in selection next week, either another game of VFL or AFL,'' he said.
Motlop, who was on limited game time, kicked a goal and showed glimpses of his bursts through the midfield.
In the same match, Lake had 17 disposals and made up for his second-quarter blues with a commanding performance in the final term as Box Hill ran out 27-point winners in the VFL grand final rematch at Simonds Stadium.
Lake gave away two 50-metre penalties and his off-the-ball hit in the second term may come under scrutiny from the match review panel.
Lake, playing his second VFL match in his return from a calf injury, said he hoped to return to the senior team against Richmond next week.
Hawks development coach Marco Bello said Lake and defender Ryan Schoenmakers, who has shown some promising form following a knee reconstruction, were ready to return to AFL ranks if required.
In Sunday’s other VFL match, Casey defeated Frankston by 14 points at Frankston Oval.