Why aren’t the Carlton Blues better?



The Blues’ ball motion is unrecognisable in comparison with their power-packed play of 12 months in the past once they burst from the entrance of stoppage with fast fingers and pumped the ball lengthy to Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

Although their contested numbers are again up after a quiet first month, they’re getting out the again and facet of stoppages, which permits opposing groups extra time get gamers into defence. No workforce has a greater disposal differential than the Blues, however there’s a plainness to their play.

A refrain of bronx cheers rang out throughout Marvel Stadium late of their loss towards St Kilda once they belatedly moved the ball ahead.

Adam Saad and Sam Docherty, their greatest kicks, didn’t play, which partially defined the shortage of dare. However each lined up final week when the Blues had been their very own worst enemy, conceding 13 of 15 targets on turnover.

“I believe it’s extra the consistency, I really feel prefer it’s been clouded considerably by 1 / 4 right here and there extra so than what’s taking place throughout the whole recreation,” Voss mentioned on Friday.

Jack Silvagni leaves the field after the loss to Brisbane, during which Blues fans voted with their feet last.

Jack Silvagni leaves the sphere after the loss to Brisbane, throughout which Blues followers voted with their toes final.Credit score: Getty Pictures

Former Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson stays bullish on the Blues’ prospects. He desires to see them present extra composure and take the sport on extra. Not like defensive constructions, Sanderson mentioned, ball motion could possibly be fastened in-season.

“Image how Carlton are enjoying to Collingwood,” Sanderson, a member of Nathan Buckley’s teaching employees when the Pies got here inside a whisker of successful the 2018 grand last, mentioned this week.

“Collingwood take the sport on with no concern of constructing a mistake. A part of that’s as a result of it’s excessive threat, excessive reward, and so they have nice religion of their defence ought to it go the opposite approach. Carlton ought to have that.

“I believe in the event that they go ahead sooner, they’ll be high-quality.”


Have they got the personnel to play a sooner recreation? Outdoors Saad and Docherty, they lack gamers who can land a kick on a handkerchief. Saad is their solely man with the pace to run with the ball or explode out of congestion, which explains why groups place such a excessive emphasis on stopping him.

Of their midfield, Cerra has improved, however Patrick Cripps, George Hewett and Matthew Kennedy are down on final yr, and Sam Walsh is 2 video games again from a prolonged harm.

One supply within the teaching business, who spoke on the situation of anonymity so he could possibly be extra candid, sees the Blues’ midfield as top-heavy for inside gamers. He desires to see Jesse Motlop or Corey Durdin launched to a centre-square combine missing pace.

“The sport is about attending to the surface,” the supply mentioned. “You solely want one or two to get out and in. Get a winger to take over, or a small ahead.

“There’s no X-factor, they don’t get breakneck ball motion to get the one v one ahead.”

Voss, who deploys All-Australian defender Docherty as his midfield wildcard, doesn’t see the necessity to get funky. He’s backing his bulls in.

“We’ve received some real strengths in there,” Voss mentioned. “You’ll be able to proceed to have a look at what you haven’t received, however typically you simply received to deal with what you’ve received. You’ll be able to’t invent gamers in that individual space of the bottom.

“If that’s the worst factor that we’re coping with, I’d take it.”


For a facet with the final two Coleman Medal winners, the Blues rank ninth for factors scored, not helped by their oblique play.

Revered pundits Garry Lyon and Leigh Montagna have each urged Carlton to maneuver Curnow up the bottom, as he can enhance their kicking, and station McKay deeper.

Voss says the Blues have already got in patches. Their clear choice is to have Curnow’s marking energy nearer to purpose. Of the dual towers, he’s additionally the extra dependable kick for purpose.

McKay’s goalkicking troubles have been effectively documented. The Blues say McKay, who has been applauded internally for enjoying a selfless position to assist Curnow, is placing the work in with forwards coach Ash Hansen, however there are additionally psychological hurdles to beat.

The teaching supply was essential of McKay, saying the 2021 Coleman medallist’s kind fluctuated an excessive amount of.

“They should discover a method to make him extra constant so he kicks three a recreation and makes probably the most of his alternatives,” the supply mentioned. “He’s imagined to be the finisher, he hurts them when he misses. He doesn’t take part on defence.”


Curnow, McKay, Jacob Weitering and Walsh are huge ticks for former record boss Stephen Silvagni, however the membership is feeling the results of three evident misses. If top-10 picks Sam Petrevski-Seton (2016, choose six), Paddy Dow (2017, three) and Lochie O’Brien (2017, 10) delivered what they promised as juniors, the Blues would have the centre-forward spark (Petrevski-Seton), midfielder who can burst from stoppage (Dow) and out of doors class they want (O’Brien).


Liam Stocker (2019, 19) is one other first-round choose who didn’t thrive at Carlton, and the jury remains to be out on different first-round choices Brodie Kemp (2019, 17) and Sam Philp (2019, 20). Kemp is an unfortunate omission from the beginning facet this week after displaying promise the previous two video games.

A number of recruiters and record managers contacted this week imagine the response to the Blues’ state of affairs is excessive. They are saying the Blues shouldn’t have a top-four record however one ok to play finals. All questioned the standard of the Blues’ backside six gamers.

Accidents to high-priced recruits Mitch McGovern (47 out of a attainable 91), Zac Williams (23/52) and Jack Martin (39/69) and proficient pair David Cuningham (41/179) and Caleb Marchbank (45/135) have positioned extra strain on their depth.

Prepare dinner mentioned the Blues’ salary-cap squeeze meant they’d head to the draft this yr, however with just one choose within the first three rounds they would wish to commerce gamers out or purchase future picks to strengthen their hand.

If Tom De Koning had been to depart, one recruiter believed he could be value a late first-round choose. One other can see the upside for the Blues in parting methods with the out-of-contract De Koning, a younger however underperforming ruck/ahead with enormous potential.

“However will he turn into that with Carlton?” the recruiter mentioned, below the situation of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk publicly. “In the event that they lose him for draft choose, it frees up cash, they get in a free agent – it’s not a foul place to be in.”

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