Charlie Curnow set to play VFL for Carlton this weekend

Injured Carlton star Charlie Curnow is set to make his long-awaited return to competitive football this weekend when he lines up in the VFL.

Club sources have told The Age that Curnow – who hasn’t played at AFL level for more than two years – will play this weekend barring any mishaps at training.

Charlie Curnow is set to return to competitive football through the VFL this weekend.Credit:Getty Images

The Blues’ main training sessions this week are on Tuesday and Thursday.

Curnow has been training fully for several weeks now and some teammates believe he is moving as well as he ever has.

The 24-year-old has been through a series of knee injuries and complications, detailed by The Age earlier this year.

The original injury, which the club described as a “slight strain” in August 2018, became significantly worse when Curnow dislocated his kneecap playing basketball with teammates Patrick Cripps and Zac Fisher.

His major setback happened in November of last year when he was kicking the football with his younger brother.

While the Blues originally said they were hopeful of Curnow playing a major part in the team’s second half of the season, the club has been extremely cautious in his latest stint of rehabilitation.

There are senior figures at Carlton who still believe that Curnow is Carlton’s most talented and important player.

He has shown glimpses of brilliance in first 58 games at the highest level, kicking 77 goals including a seven-goal haul in one scintillating display against the Western Bulldogs.

Curnow is contracted until the end of next year, in a deal sources familiar with his contract say is worth more than $800,000 per season.

If Curnow does return to the VFL this weekend, club sources say he will still need several weeks to build up his match fitness and confidence, so a return to the senior side this year is not a given.

Meanwhile, Brisbane have confirmed that key forward Eric Hipwood ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during Saturday’s match against St Kilda.

Hipwood, 23, will have surgery on the knee on Tuesday and will be sidelined for 10-12 months.

Lions footy boss Danny Daly said scans on Monday confirmed the club’s concerns.

“This is very disappointing news for both Hipwood and the club, but we will rally around him and provide our full support to him,” Daly said.

“He’ll require surgery and rehabilitation over the next 10-12 months and the club will provide all the help and support that he needs to get back out on the field.

“He’s in good spirits and he’s still got many years of footy ahead of him, and hopefully many more as a Lion.”

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