Blues set for a step back

FULL-BACK Michael Jamison says Carlton's defenders are ready to welcome and embrace Mick Malthouse's renowned defensive mantra.

The Blues left on Friday for a high-altitude camp in Arizona, a trip Malthouse made regularly with his former club Collingwood and one which he insisted the Blues agree to before accepting the top job at his new club.

But, as Jamison says, it won't be about physically torturing the players, rather it will be used more to help them get to know their new coach and understand the style he wants to enforce.

Jamison, provided he can remain fit, will be one of the pillars of Malthouse's plan.

''It's something we look forward to in the back line, knowing that we'll probably have more support than we have in the past. And our roles will certainly be valued and privileged within the team,'' Jamison said.

Decimated at times by injury, the Blues were the ninth-best defensive unit in terms of points conceded last season, having been fifth a year earlier.

''It is a fresh start for everyone. Mick knows how we all played last year, so he has a little bit to lean on. But guys might be thrown around in different positions, so it's pretty exciting,'' Jamison said.

Restricted by knee surgery and later a back complaint, he was one of more than a dozen players to have had a disrupted lead-in to the 2012 campaign, something former coach Brett Ratten lamented.

But Jamison said he was now in excellent condition.

''Having no surgery this time was a huge benefit,'' he said.

''You don't start behind the eight ball, so I'm feeling pretty fit and looking to work on that in the next few weeks.

''You can't compare pre-seasons when you have surgery in the off-season and then you don't.''

Jamison said the camp would enable the Blues to understand Malthouse better, having only spent a brief time with him since pre-season training began.

It will also be a time when Malthouse and Chris Judd discuss whether the champion midfielder remains as captain.

''The boys are keen to get over there, obviously, build our fitness base and get to know the new coach and a few new coaches around the club,'' Jamison said.

''He said it's mainly to build the fitness base up and learn a few things about the new game structure.

''It's certainly not going to be an old-school style commando session where everyone is just getting through the days.

''It's going to be pretty well balanced and it's not going to be too much torture.''

This story Blues set for a step back first appeared on WA Today.