Think big, Malthouse tells Blues
Now that he’s officially the first man to coach arch-rivals Carlton and Collingwood, Mick Malthouse wants his new AFL team to also believe anything is possible.
The Blues confirmed the obvious on Tuesday when they announced Malthouse would coach them for three years.
The job for the three-time premiership coach is as simple as it will be challenging – put Carlton back on track for their first flag since 1995.
Malthouse turned 59 last month, but he has brusquely waved off any suggestion that he might lack the passion or health to return to the AFL coaching bear pit.
He describes himself as “once a coach, always a coach” and is putting no limit on his tenure at Carlton.
Likewise, Malthouse will demand his players think large.
“If you start capping, we’ll only get to the eight and that’s it,” he said.
“If you take the cap off, the whole world opens up to you and that’s exactly what I want here … I want them to dream big.”
Adding to the enormity of this appointment is that Carlton and Collingwood have the longest rivalry in the league’s history.
But as Fremantle coach Ross Lyon keeps showing this season, winning is the best salve for any misgivings from supporters concerned about the controversial nature of the new coach’s appointment.
A year ago, the Dockers dramatically sacked Mark Harvey and poached Lyon from St Kilda.
Carlton’s desperation for a 17th premiership also led to them ruthlessly axing Brett Ratten, one of the club’s most admired figures, when they missed out on a finals berth for the first time in four years.
Speculation had been rife for months that Malthouse was on their radar as he spent a season in the media and once the Blues faltered in the second half of the season, Ratten’s fate was sealed.
“It’s a good day and a tough day,” said Blues president Stephen Kernahan, who counts Ratten as a long-time friend.
Malthouse also insisted that the first direct contact he had with Carlton was a meeting with club hierarchy on Monday of last week.
It remains unclear when Carlton administrators or other figures associated with the club first put out the feelers to Malthouse’s manager Peter Sidwell.
“I’m totally comfortable with where I sit on this – we met him last Monday night,” Kernahan said.
Over the last fortnight, Malthouse repeatedly said his family would be a large factor in whether he went to Carlton.
“Family is either all on or all off – if it had been all off, I wouldn’t be sitting here today,” he said.
Malthouse officially starts his multi-million dollar three-year deal on November 1.
One of his first tasks will be to work out his football department staff, with current Carlton assistant coaches Mark Riley, Paul Williams and Alan Richardson all highly unlikely to keep their jobs.
Asked if he would pursue out-of-contract Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke, Malthouse replied: “absolutely”.
In his third season at Carlton, Malthouse will overtake Collingwood’s legendary Jock McHale for the most games coached in VFL/AFL history.
McHale reached 714 and Malthouse is on 664, seven ahead of Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy.© AAP 2013
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