CARLTON assistant coach Gavin Brown expects Colac district AFL export Lachlan Henderson to hold his spot in the backline for the remainder of the season.
A knee injury to Blues key defender Michael Jamison left the club with no option but to throw regular forward Henderson down back.
Brown, who played 255 games with Collingwood between 1987 and 2000, said Henderson’s name came up as a viable replacement with injuries taking their toll at the business end of the season.
“It was pretty much out of necessity that we needed someone to fill the void down back and we had injuries to other tall defenders on the list like Simon White,” Brown told the Colac Herald.
“But the other things the match committee looked at was his good size for a key position player, he reads the game extremely well and he’s a beautiful user of the footy,” he said.
“He now goes to backline meetings, trains as a defender in full-ground drills – it’s been a full 180 for him.”
Henderson, who came to the Carlton from Brisbane as a promising young forward in the infamous Brendan Fevola trade, has had one of the Blues’ most important jobs since his switch four rounds ago.
His opponents have included some of the AFL’s biggest names like Travis Cloke and Barry Hall and he restricted Jack Riewoldt to eight touches.
Brown said the 21-year-old had impressed coaching staff with his natural transition from key forward to defender.
“Hendo’s been fantastic, every week he takes the number one forward so he’s getting the big jobs,” he said.
“He’s acquitted himself exceptionally well, doing his research on his opposition.
“In an ideal world, Jamo would play on the number one and we’d look to have Hendo play on the next key forward.”
Brown said Henderson needed to continue to work on his defensive position to cap off his game, and would get the chance when the fourth-placed Blues took on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium tonight.