New Carlton chief executive Brian Cook has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning Blues coach Michael Voss will miss the AFL Draft.
There is certainly no doubt that Carlton will be pushing once again for premiership glory in season 2012. However, the question for Carlton supporters and AFL followers is this: What is going to be different in 2012 from the previous year’s campaign for the Blues?
The usual suspects of Judd, Murphy and Gibbs will be pivotal to Carlton’s success. Carlton’s ‘spine’ was hampered in 2011 with injuries to Jamison and Waite. These injuries proved costly heading into the finals and placed unnecessary pressure on their crumbing forwards Garlett and Betts.
There is certainly no doubt that a fit Jamison and Waite will boost Carlton’s weight drastically. But is it enough? They did prove throughout much of the season, particularly the last six rounds, that they could still win against relatively strong opposition.
Carlton however cannot rely on a fit Jamison for their backline and a firing Waite to run their forward structure. The key to their success is taking their individual talents and fusing them together to run a smooth and successful unit capable of counter attacking off half back and mixing it in the heat of battle with the big boys.
There is no doubt that collectively Carlton have a bag of talent, boasting the AFL’s best midfield line-up and some quality ball carriers. However, tying together this plethora of talent together by placing a consistent team on the paddock each week solely lies with Brett Ratten.
Having the likes of Carazzo, Robinson, Simpson, Yarran and Scotland in your team are the keys for Carlton. They need to step up each week and play consistent football, particularly in finals, to see Carlton taste the success it so desperately wants.
Too many times in 2011 did these players play great individual games but collectively lacked the firepower and dominance needed to win premierships. Looking at the recent premiership sides, you see collective pressure right across the ground. All 18 players must pose threats and create headaches for coaches.
The Hawthorn ’08 side is a perfect example. No big guns played the game of their life to snatch victory; rather, pressure was placed right across the ground and all players stepped up as one.
It is not going to be the likes of Judd, Gibbs and Murphy who win Carlton the flag, it will be the pressure from Carlton’s best 22 that will get them over the line.