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Is Bolton Carlton’s man?

Angus McKenzie Roar Rookie

By Angus McKenzie, Angus McKenzie is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Carlton’s 0-6 start to the 2018 season – with a percentage of 66.3 – is their worst ever.

    Any assessment of Carlton circa Round 7 2018 requires an appreciation that the team is in the midst of one of the most intensive rebuilds in memory.

    Let’s take a look back to when Brendon Bolton took the reins at Carlton at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

    In short, Carlton was a mess in the wake of the Mick Malthouse disaster. They finished the 2015 season with four wins, a percentage of 64.8 and 10 losses of over 50 points.

    Bolton inherited a basket case, which has to be taken into account in any evaluation of Bolton’s coaching position.

    Since Bolton took over at Carlton, it has turned over 42 players, an extraordinary number when you consider that an AFL list comprises 44 players.

    As a club, Carlton accepted the need to rebuild, primarily through the AFL draft, and appointed Bolton to lead that rebuild. In an era of unprecedented media scrutiny and impatient demands for success, Carlton deserves patience and understanding from Carlton supporters, lovers of the game and the media.

    patrick-cripps-carlton-blues-afl-2016-tall

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Following Friday’s loss to the Bulldogs Bolton addressed the situation stating that “it is frustrating because we want to win”. In light of this statement let’s have a look at the side that Carlton had face the Bulldogs on Friday.

    They had nine players all aged 21 years or younger and with no more than 30 games experience. But what sort of future do these nine players have? Of these nine, we’ve seen enough to be confident that, seven have the potential to be consistent, high quality AFL footballers.

    Zac Fisher (#27, 2016 Draft), Charlie Curnow (#12, 2015 Draft), Paddy Dow (#3, 2017 Draft), Caleb Marchbank (#6, 2014 Draft), Sam Petrevski-Seton (#6, 2016 Draft), Matthew Kennedy (#13, 2015 Draft) and Harry McKay (#10, 2015 Draft) were all out there on Friday night and at different stages have shown exciting glimpses of what the future looks like for Carlton.

    All sides need their experienced leaders on field and playing well, especially a club in Carlton’s situation, however this has not been the case for Carlton. Considering Carlton’s absentees on Friday included injured trio: current captain Marc Murphy, vice-captain Sam Docherty and All-Australian ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.

    In addition, 2015 number one draft pick Jacob Weitering – who is suffering from a quad injury and the added pressures that go with being the number one draft pick at a struggling club – has shown more than enough in his first two seasons to suggest he could be a long-term key defender. Speedy utility David Cunningham (#25, 2015 Draft and NAB Rising Star nominee 2017), highly skilled small forward Jarrod Pickett (#4, 2014 Draft) and young rebounding defender Tom Williamson, have meant that Carlton was seriously under manned on Friday night.

    It is entirely unrealistic with the inexperience, youth and injuries that Carlton currently have to expect them to be winning and playing high-level football.

    Bolton and Carlton must ultimately be judged on whether there is a crop of players that are developing and could form the nucleus for future success and whether Bolton is the man that leads Carlton through its rebuild?

    Rebuild announcement

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    The Crowd Says (122)

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 7:00am
      Mattyb said | May 3rd 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      It’s hard though to see how Bolton remains much longer,and remarkable that he has been able to take the blues further and further backwards in his time in charge,all on the back of his zero AFL game career.
      With the AFLW wooden spoon safely locked away and the reserves side coping weekly thrashings,the possibility that this tragic club could win all 3 wooden spoons available to them in a single season is very,very real.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:56am
        Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        What is remarkable is that you find it remarkable that a club that has shed experienced quality players and replaced them with 18 year old every year under Bolton has won less games.

        What is unremarkable is that you are he first to post on a Carlton article but we never hear about any of the games you apparently attend.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:10am
          Mattyb said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Could easily be 0-7 this week and 1 from the last 19,if we also see another reserves thrashing on top of all this I really can’t see how many more excuses can be made.
          Standards have simply dropped to such a remarkably low level that all we get now is one excuse followed by another.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:22am
            Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            No excuses, just logical conclusions.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:40am
          Kane said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Ignore him Macca, he’s just sitting down in his basement bedroom trolling for bites online.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 9:07am
        JamesH said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Pull the other one. The Blues are my most hated side in the comp (admittedly it’s more pity than hate at the moment) but Bolton is doing fine and the list has loads of upside.

        This is a team that was already struggling for consistency in the second half of last year, and has since lost Gibbs, Murphy and Kreuzer – three walk-up starts at any club. Wins are going to be hard to come by.

        Given the turnover of players, Bolton has really only just stepped out of Malthouse’s shadow. He deserves at least another season after this one to show what he can do with his own side. Don’t let all the pre-2016 crap cloud your judgement of Bolton’s tenure.

        If I was a Blues fan – and thank god I’m not – I wouldn’t even be panicking if they don’t win a single game for the year. They have the bright enough future if Bolton can keep the players onside.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:34am
          Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Good post JamesH.

          As a blues fan I am looking for players to emerge who will be part of a teamthat could challenge for a premiership. I think there is no doubt we had Docherty, Cripps and C Curnow at the start of the year, I think it is more than likely that Marchbank, Plowman, Fisher and McKay (early call I know but he moves very well for a player of 200cm) can be moved into that side by now and I think by the end of the season we will have confidence that more than a few of SPS, Kennedy, Dow, O’Brien, Weitering, Williamson & Pickett will have emerged as genuine components of that team.

          That gives us the majority of te spine and the strat of a very exciting midfield with more under 21 players possibly to emerge and e likelihood we will go after a player like Gaff in the off season, you can see a very competitive side emerging

        • Roar Rookie

          May 3rd 2018 @ 1:54pm
          Tom VDS said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          Good comment JamesH.
          Could anyone be doing any better than Bolton at the moment? The worst thing to do would be to remove Bolton right in the middle of the rebuild, and get someone else in who will inevitably have their own ideas and completely restructure the list again.
          Rebuilds take time, especially when you lose quality players to other clubs like Gibbs and others to injury like Docherty, Kreuzer and Murphy

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 11:02am
        Paul Dawson said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        You mean like how your bulldogs signed brendan mccartney for 3 years based on his zero game AFL career

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:11pm
          Mattyb said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          Correct Paul,and he was rightly moved on.
          I don’t really remember our supporters making excuse after excuse after excuse at the time.
          McCartney is an excellent example when comparing Bolton.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:08pm
            Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

            McCartney did build a list that go r you a premiership though.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:16pm
          Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          Or your coach at the lions

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 2:19pm
            Paul Dawson said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

            Ha, we didn’t sign him. The AFL signed him for us.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:40pm
              Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              Not knocking the appointment, just observing that Bolton isn’t the only coach without AFL experience but is the only one Matthew objects to.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:44pm
              The Original Buzz said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              Give it three years and the two non-AFL coaches will be facing off in a GF. As a Blues fan, I am confident they will rise next year.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:23pm
        Ken Oath said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        Where’s The Ghost MattyB?

        Forgot your login details?

        Such a tragedy.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:32pm
          Mattyb said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          The tragic blues could very easily be 0-7 this week Ken,but I’m sure we’ll hear the same sad and sorry excuses as the club plummets to even darker depths.

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 6:28pm
            Paul Dawson said | May 3rd 2018 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

            Surprised you’ve got time to talk Carlton. Flying to Ballarat to watch the dogs this week?

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 6:43pm
            Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

            Just wondering if you use cut and paste or simply type the same thing over and over.

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 7:00am
      Kane said | May 3rd 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      I have absolutely no doubt that he is the man for the job, he’s turned the list over completely and to almost where he wants it. He’s only 2 years into a massive rebuild and culture change at the club and obviously I’d prefer to have a few wins on the board but I’m behind him 100%.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:49pm
        Gecko said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        As a Pies supporter, I’ve gotten pleasure out of watching Carlton the past two decades. But Bolton does seem to be making positive changes to the culture and personnel. Stick with him.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 11:05pm
          Col in paradise said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

          Yep only has to win two games and he has a 100% improvement on the last year !!!

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:10am
      Liam said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      Provocative title is provocative.

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:33am
      Davo said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      One of Carlton problems is that they need at least half a dozen mature experienced good player to play each week to hold things to together. To much is expected from Cripps whom is in his early twenties. For example The Roos rebuild where they keep players in their 30 like Waite and Thompson on the list makes sense as the inexperienced youngster
      have someone to look to when the going gets tuff. It also seems to be working at GWS who have bought in experienced players that were thought past their used by date like Matt de Boer.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 9:21am
        JamesH said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        Chalk and cheese (I can’t believe this is my second post defending Carlton).

        Carlton also has a few veterans, such as Murphy, Thomas and Simpson. The difference with the Roos is that they have a solid core of players who are at or nearing their best which they can build around – Ziebell, Cunnington, Tarrant, Brown, MacMillan, Jacobs, Atley… The Blues don’t really have that. Aside from Kreuzer, and perhaps Wright and Casboult, the core team is basically a couple of older players and a bunch of kids.

        GWS is an even worse comparison. The older players they brought in were designed to play roles or provide depth in a premiership-ready list. They aren’t in a rebuilding phase.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:33am
          Angela said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          Why do you hate Carlton so much? It’s just a footy team.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:52pm
            The Original Buzz said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

            Just a footy team?? This is far greater than that, especially for fans who have followed a team for more years than I would care to mention. Crikey!!!

          • Roar Guru

            May 4th 2018 @ 1:46pm
            JamesH said | May 4th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

            1999. #neverforget

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:50am
          Davo said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

          What I am trying to say JamesH Carlton seem to be obsessed with unwanted GWS young high picks and don’t seem to be interested in bringing in any experienced player in to help the younger players. GWS are not in a rebuild but have topped up their list with season veterans like de Boar, Deledio and Griffen to help out the young list.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:36am
            Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Davo – Plowman, Kennedy, Marchbank and Pickett were hardly unwanted and here. I said not much point us taking players who are only going to be a round for a year or two.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 11:32am
              sammy said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

              I wonder macca whether now that Carlton have loaded up with young players via the draft and through trade, if they might look at someone like Rory Sloane who has maybe 3-4 years left as a player but is a very good midfielder who would bring leadership to the young players and help out Cripps and take pressure off Murphy when fit. Having traded Gibbs who offered a very similar skillset, it has left a fairly big hole in the onfield leadership side of things around the ball. If as you say the players are still a couple of years away from competing for the top 8 and maybe higher, to have a very strong leader and mentor in the middle might help during the final part of the transition period whilst the young guys are getting games into them. For what its worth, I hope the crows keep sloane, but it does look like the longer he remains unsigned that he will want to make the move back to Victoria. Surely the club would have the salary cap space to make a play for him if they wanted

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:18pm
                Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                I wouldn’t be unhappy with Sloane but his age isn’t quite right for the blues. Someone like Gaff or Wines would be ideal

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 12:46pm
              Davo said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              I grant you Marchbank was wanted and will be a fine player but to bring in some players in the mid twenties for example Daniel Menzel, whom they could have got for basically nothing would have been a good idea.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:21pm
                Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                If they could have got Menzel for nothing I think they would have.

                I will be interested to see what Lang brings, if he is up to it and Kennedy gets some continuity the midfield changes substantially

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:52pm
                jonboy said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                Menzel was keen to go to Freo……But no they stuck with Ballantyne ! Great decision.

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:45am
      I ate pies said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Of course Bolton isn’t Carlton’s man. They need someone who’s played footy at a minimum. He’s a theoretical coach; they need someone who is a real coach.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:36am
        Kane said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        Like Malthouse was??

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:00am
      Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      In short I can’t see the point in having Bolton coach while we are turning over 42 players and getting rid of some high quality experience and then not giving him the chance to prove himself as the young talent he brought in matures.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:01am
        Brian said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        I get that but at the same time is the group showing improvement. Bolton seems to have erred in not keeping more experienced guys to stay competitive and in deploying defence first. The latter got you competitive last year but now seems to have backfired.

        We are in a Free Agency area and it is fair to ask if Bolton has the right strategy or will Carlton just meddle for 3 more years to then find itself competing to keep its best players.

        FWIW I like Bolton, and the fact he has never played is irrelevant but there does come a point where you can’t just keep losing. At least Carlton were smarter then signing him up to a long-term contract like Richardson at St Kilda

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:43am
          Macca said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          Brian – I think you will see the blues very active in free agency in coming years. Also the loss of Docherty, Murphy and Kreuzer couldn’t b anticipated

          As for not keeping experienced players that I said only an error I fully you are focused on short term results – long term I am confident it will pay off.

          As for defence first while that is true of the game style it has to be remembered two of the first 3 players the blues drafted under Bolton were McKay and Curnow. When you add in Weitering (and possibly Silvagni) from that see an often overlooked strategy to grab the KPP’s who take longer to develop first – this again has short term negative consequences but means that a well balanced team should emerge all at the same time.

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