Carlton recruit Zac Williams’ season is over, following a hamstring injury suffered during the side’s loss to North Melbourne.
It marks the end of a tumultuous first year with the Blues, marred by suspensions, injuries, poor form and a move back to defence.
The Blues acquired Williams from GWS as a free agent and reportedly paid him in the realms of $800,000 per season to play as a midfielder.
Garry Lyon wonders whether a big pre-season could see Williams reach the potential Carlton saw in him.
“Carlton in their mind I’m sure thought they were recruiting a midfielder and paying for a midfielder and that’s on Zac a bit,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“That’s on Zac and the fitness of Zac and the way he prepares.
“He had a fantastic game through the midfield in a big final against Collingwood on the MCG. They looked at that and thought, ‘there’s our next midfielder alongside Patrick Cripps, Paddy Dow, Sam Walsh and everyone else', and the reality was much different.
“It’s one thing to pinch-hit as a midfielder and another thing to play there week-in and week-out and prepare and recover.
“All the best midfielders are phenomenal preparers and I don’t reckon that’s Zac Williams.
“Maybe he can get that right over this summer, but right now they’ve paid a poultice for a half-back flanker.
“There’s so many examples of players who have been able to look at themselves and make the changes and it comes down to hard, painful work. If you’re prepared to do that, they may still have a midfielder on their hands. It doesn’t look like it at the moment.”
Tim Watson agrees and hopes Williams puts the work in to become the player he teased in that 2019 Preliminary Final against Collingwood.
“He’s a great one to watch because you’re right, if he knuckles down and then turns out next year in the best condition he’s ever been in and blows records away in speed and endurance and all the things you would require a professional and elite athlete to do, then he can then be what Carlton recruited,” Watson said.
Williams played 14 games for Carlton in his first season with the club, averaging 19 disposals per game.
He was moved from the midfield to half-back after the first six weeks of the season where he has slotted in since.