At the conclusion of a strange 2020 season, Carlton has shown a bit of promise for the future, coming in 11th with seven wins out of 17 games.
Carlton comeback forward Jarrad Waite says the Blues are already eyeing a top four finish next AFL season, despite this year’s injury-hampered failure to reach that goal.
Waite, who returned from a 12-week injury absence to kick three goals in Sunday’s loss to Sydney, conceded there was no more than a glimmer of finals hope for the 11th-placed Blues.
“We really needed the win to sort of keep our season alive,” he told reporters on Monday.
Despite Carlton declaring pre-season they would make the top four, Waite said, given constant injuries to their big men this year, the season shouldn’t be regarded as a complete failure.
“(It is) a little bit, but a lot of things were out of our control,” Waite said.
“You look at Hawthorn a couple of years ago, they lost all their big men, they didn’t make the finals.
“They come out a couple of years later and they’re dominating.
“We can take those signs out of it.
“We (aimed) high, we wanted to finish top four, it didn’t go our way, but we’re confident going into next year that it’s still a massive chance.”
Waite admitted during his long absence, caused by a “squashed disc” in his back, he had wondered how different the season might have been had he been fit.
“That’s probably been the most frustrating thing, I think we lost every one of our big fellas at least one stage this year,” he said.
“It’s very hard to play consistent footy when you’re losing big fellas.”
His back was in such a bad state that he couldn’t even sit early in his time out of the game and will require management.
The 29-year-old is confident it won’t stop him playing good football but he had earlier been worried how the injury might affect his life after football.
“I don’t want to be 35 and, if I’ve got kids then, not be able to kick the footy with my kids,” Waite said.
“It was more that side of it going forwards, that’s why I was really patient with the whole scenario.
“I don’t want to do it again, you don’t know if it will go ten times worse.”