2012: The year the Blues won their 17th Premiership
Nick Duigan and Chris Judd head to the rooms (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Now before you skip straight to the comments section to call me a looney for believing the Blues will win the premiership this year, that isn’t what I am saying.
What I am saying is that while the injuries may have cruelled this campaign, they have created the opportunitites that will be the corner stones of the Blues’ future success.
Every critic of the Blues has pointed to a lack of a key forward, a lack of inside mid-fielders and a shaky defence as reasons they can’t win a flag. This season they have found answers to all of those.
Levi Casboult has shown he will be a great target, he clunks contested marks and brings the ball to ground if he doesn’t.
He had had 14 shots on goal in the last three weeks and if he can increase his conversion rate he will be a force to be reckoned with, espcially when he has a full preseason under his belt.
In the midifeld, the Blues have found two willing workers. Brock McLean’s return from oblivion has been great reward for hard work and a positive attitude while Tom Bell has all the attributes to make a long and successful AFL career.
While a lot of the defensive deficiencies were corrected in 2011 with Henderson and Yarran going back and Lailder and Duigan being recruited, injuries have caused the Blues to look at Watson and McInnes.
While both have shown they have a future it has been McInnes who has realy taken his chance and looks likely to cause selection headaches once Henderson and Laidler return from injury in 2013.
These players have led to the likes of Bower, Thornton, Russell and Joseph being ovrelooked (which every Carlton supporter would attest is a good thing) and looking for a new home next year.
On top of this, Casboults ability to hold down the second ruck position must have the Blues considering the future of Warnock or Hampson.
With the likes of Port Adelaide desperate for a quality ruckman and the possibility of Hampson returning to the Gold Coast, this could provide the Blues a chance to grab another early draft pick (especially if Port get an extra early pick for losing Boak).
So while injuries may have prevented 2012 being a premiership year, it has still seen the Blues take a massive step towards their next premiership.