The AFL world is used to three types of Jarrad Waite – Awesome Jarrad, Angry Jarrad, and Absent Jarrad. Is it only a matter of time until Mick Malthouse creates Away Jarrad?
Throughout his career, the enigmatic Waite has been viewed by Carlton fans as the big hope, and has probably been given some lenience due to his pedigree.
The son of premiership player Vin Waite, Jarrad had the promise when he was recruited in the 2001 draft, and Blues fans were already hoping. He made his debut in 2003, winning Carlton’s best first year player and a rising star nomination that year.
They were the dark days for the Blues, as punishment from the salary cap scandals delivered the club its first wooden spoons.
Especially compared to bad boy Brendan Fevola, and the, um, less than athletic Lance Whitnall, Waite was always going to be the key in a Blues flag.
Unfortunately, Carlton fans got used to Absent Jarrod. Waite suffered injuries in 2009, 2011, and 2012. The fact he become the first player to be subbed off when he was knocked unconscious in the first round of 2011 pretty much sums that up.
This season has seen it all. We have had Absent Jarrod, for the first part of the season, until he returned against Melbourne.
We then saw Angry Jarrad, laying on some head-butt action against the hapless Dees, to gain himself a week of being Absent Jarrad again.
Then, a couple of weeks later, we saw Awesome Jarrad, as the big forward kicked seven goals against the Bombers to almost drag the Blues over the line.
On Friday night, we saw Angry Jarrad, giving away a pointless free kick just before three quarter time to give the Hawks the lead.
Malthouse has already shown his hand. He gave Waite an internal fine after his suspension this year. Last week, speedster Chris Yarran was dumped for bad body language. The chief is not afraid to dump anyone. How long will he tolerate the 30 year old forward?
The likes of Levi Casboult and Sam Rowe are breathing down Waite’s neck for the key forward position. Malthouse has options and isn’t afraid to drop key players.
For his own sake, Carlton needs to see Awesome Jarrod more often, before he is thrown to the magoos and becomes ABC Saturday Afternoon Jarrod for the remainder of his career.