Jacob Weitering understands being a top draft pick under pressure after a slow start to a career.
The number one pick in the 2015 National Draft had one of the toughest tasks in football, being a teenage key defender in a bottom four team.
However, he has found his feet and blossomed in recent years, culminating in winning Carlton’s 2020 best and fairest.
Similarly, Paddy Dow was the third pick in the 2017 National Draft and after playing 39 games in his first two seasons, he only managed three in 2020.
Under David Teague, Dow was deployed more across half forward in the back-half of 2019 as well as struggling to break into the side through the midfield last year.
Weitering understands what the 21-year-old has been through and is confident he will emerge as the quality midfielder he was drafted to be.
“I’ve got a bit of sympathy for Dow because I went through something very similar in 2018, he probably just lost a bit of confidence and belief in himself,” Weitering told Sportsday.
“He was pick three for a reason. He’s bloody quick, he’s got an awesome step.
“I guess the biggest knock on him was his kicking and if you’re playing AFL football everyone can kick and he just needed to get the demons out of his head and he’s had an awesome pre-season to date, he’s kicking the ball really well and he’ll be certainly putting his hand up for Round 1 and hopefully having a consistent year.”
If Carlton is to go to the next level and make finals in 2021 they will need internal improvement across the board.
Weitering named three players he believes could elevate their game this year.
“Harry McKay’s having an awesome pre-season and making life tough for (Liam) Jones and I in pre-season which is good,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are starting to step up. Zac Fisher’s another one that’s having a good pre-season, Sam (Petrevski-Seton’s) been really consistent.
“So we’ve got some guys that are maybe our second tier players that are going to be able to do some really consistent things this year and it’s exciting.”
Carlton takes on Essendon this Thursday in a practice match. A livestream will be available for club members.
They then take on St Kilda in the AAMI Community Series.