‘Fresh set of eyes’: Recruits Hollands, Fantasia determined to boost Carlton

Carlton coach Michael Voss is excited about giving talented recruits Elijah Hollands and Orazio Fantasia a fresh start as the Blues attempt to build on their stunning end to the 2023 AFL season.

Hollands, a former first-round draft pick, and the talented, but injury-prone Fantasia, will significantly boost Carlton’s depth on the back of a preliminary final berth.

The pair were both at the club on Monday as the majority of Carlton’s players, except for superstars Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow, trained on a rainy and miserable Melbourne day.

Hollands won’t be available for Carlton’s first two games of the season after the 21-year-old was suspended by the AFL for conduct unbecoming following a cocaine possession charge.

Voss insists Hollands is determined to make up for his off-field mistake and become a regular AFL player after being restricted to 14 games across three seasons with Gold Coast.

“(Hollands) has stated this himself, he just wants to go out there and prove himself through the work he brings, and that’s all we’ve asked him to do,” Voss said.

“He gets that fresh set of eyes with what he does, and how he behaves will be how he gets treated here. 

“He’s prepared to put in the hard work. He’s a hard worker. 

“He’ll mesh in really well with the group and he’s got an advantage having a brother here, which certainly helps but we’re just rapt to have him here.”

Fantasia has moved to his third club after 99 games with Essendon and Port Adelaide.

The enigmatic forward only managed three games this year with the Power as the 28-year-old continued to struggle with injury.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“Clearly we feel like we can have an impact in getting him out there; his talent sort of speaks for itself,” Voss said of Fantasia.

“He understands what’s ahead of him. He understands that the position that he’s going for is going to have some genuine competition.

“He’s completely fine to go but we’re sort of taking a steady approach with him (at training).”

Versatile defender Zac Williams is making good progress after missing all of last season due to an ACL rupture and is set to feature early next year.

The addition of the aforementioned trio could help Carlton start 2024 stronger after the Blues were forced to win nine of their last 10 games just to make this year’s finals.

“The main thing for us before we consider anything else is is how do we replicate a really high standard throughout the whole home-and-away season,” Voss said.

“The last couple of years, we’ve been a little bit up and down in that department.”

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