Is Carlton really a club in crisis?
Carlton's Mitch Robinson in the NAB Cup (Slattery Images)
Carlton silenced their critics last weekend after recording a 23-point upset victory over arch-rivals Collingwood at the MCG. The shock victory was a testament to the Blues ability to overcome adversity.
The victory over the old foe ends several weeks of turmoil surrounding the club both on and off the field.
Carlton coach Brett Ratten was facing the axe after his side failed to live up to expectations after fourteen rounds.
The Blues were early season favourites with many tipping them to make the top four and even win the flag.
But after a strong start to the season, the Blues then lost six of their last seven to slip outside the top eight.
The Carlton Football Club has some of the most rabid supporters in the AFL, who demand success from their club with failure not an option.
But has the criticism of the Carlton Blues been warranted, or are the fans expectations too high?
The Blues sit ninth on the AFL later half way through the season, which is well below their expectations.
The last seven weeks has been a rough road for the Blues, with their losses coming against sides both lower and higher than them on the premiership table.
Carlton failed to deliver against premiership heavyweights the West Coast Eagles and Hawthorn Hawks with AFL surprise packets Adelaide also proving too big an obstacle for the Blues.
In that tough trot, the Blues also suffered losses to Port Adelaide, Geelong and St. Kilda.
Geelong and St. Kilda are both in a similar position to Carlton as each of the sides are likely participants in September but may not be a big threat to the flag.
The low-point of the run was a 45-point loss to Port Adelaide. With no disrespect to Port Adelaide, they are not premiership material and should have been beaten by the Blues.
With the calibre of teams the Blues face over the seven weeks they should have won a couple more games than they did.
In response to this poor run of form, Carlton CEO Stephen Kernahan confronted the media to discuss his sides future as a premiership force.
Carlton’s boss was reluctant to answer questions on the team’s unity and the coaching future of current coach Brett Ratten.
The players were challenged by Ratten to step up against the harsh criticism of their supporters and show some passion against their old foes.
After a lacklustre first three quarters, the Blues charged home to steamroll the Magpies and record a season defining victory against Collingwood.
The Blues have had a tough run in recent weeks and will build off their last quarter performance.
The Blues sit just outside the top eight with this win giving them momentum to move up the ladder and become a premiership contender once again.
It may be one win, but it is amazing what a win against the league’s best team and a sure boost for a struggling side’s psyche.
The Carlton Blues may have under-achieved but they are on their way back to the high standards set by their supporters.
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