On reflection: Carlton draftees (from left) Nick Graham, Troy Menzel and Tom Temay at Visy Park.

On reflection: Carlton draftees (from left) Nick Graham, Troy Menzel and Tom Temay at Visy Park. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

CARLTON'S first-picked draftee, gifted South Australian Troy Menzel, says he is "pretty much all over" his knee injury issues, but he won't join full training with the Blues until January.

The left-footer, taken with pick 11 in last month's national draft, is keen to complete the rest of the pre-season and hopes to play senior football "at some stage" in 2013.

Few observers believe a fully fit Menzel won't make an impact early in his career, the only "slows" on the dynamic Central Districts star having been his knee troubles. After having LARS surgery on his right knee as a 16-year-old, Menzel had his left knee damaged in a collision this year. His highly skilled older brother Daniel, has also suffered two knee injuries at Geelong.

Menzel made the decision to undergo the controversial LARS treatment after discussions with his mother, who "did all the research on it". His injury-cursed brother, Daniel, who has undergone consecutive knee reconstructions after a promising start with Geelong, also had some sage advice to "enjoy it while you can, you never know how long it's going to last".

Menzel was the first of Carlton's highly rated 2012 draftees, introduced in the order they were picked, to speak at their first press conference at Visy Park on Monday. All three were red-cheeked after being put through their first half-hour in the altitude room, overseen by new coach Mick Malthouse. Like many footballers before them, the juniors found the three-time premiership boss initially "intimidating", then good-natured.

AFL draftees don't know what to expect when they walk into their new clubs - pick 35 Tom Temay described it as "surreal" rubbing shoulders with Chris Judd and Marc Murphy - but some get a head-start on the dedication a professional sporting career will require.

Midfielder Nick Graham says it took a concerted pre-season effort - ahead of his final year in the TAC Cup Under-18 competition - for him to even get the chance to play in the AFL.

Guided by Gippsland Power coach, ex-Port Adelaide and Carlton midfield star Nick Stevens, Graham completed a thorough preparation, concentrating on improving his defensive pressure and fitness.

The blond midfielder said he was "a bit timid, a bit nervous" when he had his first training sessions at Carlton last week, but he soon felt at home. "Once you get in, the boys are the same, they're just footy players, they're great blokes and they welcome you …"

Temay's father, Paul, played 52 games for St Kilda between 1980 and 1986, but Tom says he "wasn't too fussed" with his club of destination before the draft.

Temay said of the upcoming training load: "We'll ease into it, but then commence full training when we're fit."

That is a way off for Menzel, and also for Graham, who is recovering from a knee injury. He says he will be able to take part in training "100 per cent" in two weeks.