Judd to miss NAB Cup opener

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 21 Februari 2013 | 14.43

Carlton forward Andrew Walker runs laps with Chris Judd, Andrew Collins and Dennis Armfield. Picture: Norm Oorloff Source: Herald Sun

CARLTON veteran Chris Judd has been ruled out for the Blues' NAB Cup mission north to face Sydney and the GWS Giants.

The dual Brownlow medallist is one of a number of senior players expected to miss games during the pre-season competition as new coach Mick Malthouse primes his troops for Round 1.

The Blues take on reigning premiers Sydney and the AFL's newest franchise, Greater Western Sydney, on Sunday at Skoda Stadium in Blacktown.

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"You need to have your players in good form by Round 1, so the NAB Cup is very important. We're looking for winning form," Malthouse said today.

"Chris Judd won't play this week."

Malthouse said the Blues would implement a defensive game-plan honing in on the player's strengths.

"We've got certain strengths and we want them to come to the fore, so they'll be heavily promoted."

Meanwhile, Blues forward Andrew Walker expects plenty of improvement out of supremely talented teammate Bryce Gibbs.

The pair were partnered together during the pre-season to learn from each other's skill sets.

The high-flying forward is looking to improve on his delivery by foot while Gibbs is hoping to work on his endurance.

"He's (Gibbs) bulked right up but he is running better than I have ever seen him," Walker told SEN radio this morning.

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Gibbs ($509,800 def/mid) mixed his form during the Blues' ill-fated 2012 campaign which came to a crushing end at the hands of Gold Coast in the penultimate round of the home and away season.

"I think he may be 2-3kgs heavier than what he was last year but his running power has changed so much over the past 3-4 months."

Walker said training under Malthouse had helped him get his body right for the season.

"I've got a huge benefit out of Mick coming this year… I actually feel my body is 100 per cent and I'm ready for the first game.

"One of his (Malthouse) strengths is he sees things from a player's perspective, he understands that you can't be flogged 100 per cent of the time.

"He recognises that and if the time comes where he can see we need a rest or we need a freshen up – mentally – he's willing to give us some time.

"The boys might have been a little flat or blokes just starting to get sore and he just takes the initiative to maybe give the boys 24-hours off to recover so we come in feeling fresh mentally and physically two days later."

Walker endorsed Nick Duigan as a knockout chance of winning the Blues' captaincy race ahead of frontrunners Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo and Kade Simpson.

"Everyone looks up to him, he speaks very well and trains the house down so he's a great leader."

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