Why do Carlton have the Blues?
Carlton's Mitch Robinson in the NAB Cup (Slattery Images)
Early this year, who would have thought the Blues would fall out of the eight? After starting the season in hot form, they have bounced back to earth and are now in the bottom half of the competition.
There are many contributing factors. Firstly, they have unfortunately lost a lot of good players to injuries such as Andrew Carrazzo, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland, Bret Thornton and Jeremy Laidler.
It also doesn’t help that big guns such as Chris Judd and Bryce Gibbs are out of form.
But with the list that they have they should be doing better especially when they were considered as a premiership favourite at the start of the year.
At the start of the season Carlton showed that they were a force not to be messed with. After absolute demolitions of Richmond, Brisbane and Collingwood, they started showing signs that the form they were showing was wavering. Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne pushed them right to the last quarter before they finished the job.
They were then themselves demolished by St Kilda, Adelaide and Port.
Their performance against Geelong was heralded as better, but better does not win you games of football.
One big criticism of the Blues this season has been their ability to kick straight when it counted. When looking at the statistics, this criticism appears warranted. Against St Kilda they scored 14.14, with 15.20 against GWS and 11.19 against Geelong.
On all those occasions, if they had kicked straighter, it could have been a different result.
There are also doubts over Brett Ratten’s coaching ability. Much of the criticism has focused on his squad selections, with the likes of Bootsma and Bower getting a game over Ellard and Yarran.
Carlton has now lost four out of the last five games this year, with signs pointing to them further slumping down the lower rungs of the AFL ladder. They must also content with an unfavourable mid-season draw, such as West Coast at home and Hawthorn and the Pies at the ‘G.
It could be another dull month of footy for the Blues.