Ex-Carlton rookie to bolster Rockingham midfield in season 2019

Former Carlton rookie Brad Walsh is set to fortify an already potent Rockingham Rams midfield after signing with the team for the upcoming Peel Football and Netball League campaign.

Returning to his original junior club following stints with Carlton and Peel Thunder, well-rounded star will bring elite level experience to a Rams outfit that tasted success blooding youngsters into their league side last season.

He’ll have enough ability to play any position in this league but we certainly see him bringing a lot to our midfield

Rams coach Scott Franklin

Walsh was recruited to Carlton via pick 14 in the 2015 rookie draft, following a successful 2014 that saw him captain Western Australia’s under 18s side at the national championships.

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He returned to Peel after a season with the Blues (which saw him claim their VFL club’s best and fairest award), playing 25 league and 14 reserves games with the Thunder over the past three seasons.

Now, Walsh looks set to add to a midfield that helped the Rams to a top-three finish in 2018.

Walsh played three games at the top level for Carlton. Photo: File image.

Walsh played three games at the top level for Carlton. Photo: File image.

“We see Brad spending the bulk of his time in the midfield for us,” Rams coach Scott Franklin said.

“He’ll have enough ability to play any position in this league but we certainly see him bringing a lot to our midfield.”

Walsh could form a lethal midfield duo with 2018 Ross Elliott medalist Mitchel Curnow, with the pair to be supported by the likes of rising star Zayne Selkirk and versatile forward Fraser Millar.

Franklin cited leadership and midfield depth as the main benefits of Walsh’s inclusion to the side.

“Having Brad on board will go a long way to guiding our young blokes in the right direction,” he said.

“It’s really exciting for us because it helps us create depth at the position, which is probably something we didn’t have much of last year.”

The addition of Walsh – along with the return of 2016 Ross Elliott medal winner Rocky Collins – will help the Rams cover the losses of promising youngsters Kyle Baskerville and Kyle Havelberg, who will look to test themselves at the WAFL level this season.

Rockingham made an astonishing rise up the ladder in 2018, breaking a seven-year finals drought to rise to the top three before being ousted by eventual premiers Pinjarra in the preliminary final.

Franklin said the side would be looking to further the progress made with their young core this season.

“When I took the [head coaching] job two years ago we set ourselves the goal of playing in a preliminary final in three years,” he said.

“We’ve already ticked that off and things have happened a bit faster than we thought, so this year we’ll just look to continue on that same path.”

The Rams open their season at home against Mandurah on Saturday, April 6.