Why Carlton fans need to remember patience is a virtue

Jono Baruch Roar Pro

By Jono Baruch, Jono Baruch is a Roar Pro


34 Have your say

    Sporting fans are a fickle bunch, always demanding success and nothing more than 100 per cent from our athletes.

    Whether they cross the white line or take their mark on the blocks wearing their national or club colours, we expect and demand nothing more than the very best.

    But demanding the best and receiving less than that often leads to an outpouring of frustration, giving the chance for keyboard warriors to continually do what they do best: berate, complain and ask why they didn’t get the result they wanted or why it isn’t happening quick enough for their liking.

    Patience is a virtue. This old saying reflects one’s capacity to accept, tolerate or delay problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. It’s reflective in almost everyone’s daily routines.

    But this saying has also become prevalent in this AFL season, especially among one of the big Victorian clubs and their supporters, who are again beginning to lose patience and sight over the first major roadblock of a build.

    For a club like Carlton the messaging is reasonably consistent: it’s a reset, a rebuild, whatever you want to call it. The club has started again from pretty much scratch.

    While the pundits will look at Brendon Bolton’s coaching record at the Blues, now 13 wins and 38 losses, and say that AFL coaches don’t survive a record like his in his third year in the job, it is important to acknowledge that his job was to essentially start the club again, which he has done.

    Brendon Bolton

    (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    This has been demonstrated in part by their highly talked about and contentious turnover of players. The risk now for Carlton is whether they lose patience with the mounting losses and skew from the course they are on. As the debate about the game rages on, the evolution of the rebuild continues – if the previous two premiership sides along with some of the perennial top teams of recent times are a guide to the way you rebuild your club, rebuilding itself will soon be a thing of the past.

    Take the Richmond model. The reigning premiership team contained four to five genuine gun, A-grade elite players: Alex Rance, Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt and Kane Lambert. The rest of their team was filled by role players to serve a certain purpose and executed their roles to perfection throughout the season.

    We talk a lot about how even the competition is, but the reality is that if Richmond didn’t have all of their stars playing and firing at the same time last year, would they have won the flag? Probably not. But they did, and hats off to them.

    In the copycat league that the AFL is, it has set and paved a way for a rethink of how to build and structure a list.

    It would seem that this is the blueprint that most clubs are taking now. In this era of equalisation and unpredictability, preparing your list appears more important than ever. As well as gaining the elite young talent through the national draft, to be able to nitpick and pinpoint a specific need in your list and go out and get the players that you need is possibly more important to building a successful list.

    Marc Murphy

    (Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    A few examples from recent years: Collingwood needed speed and class and went and got Sam Murray, Geelong identified that Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan were near the end and they went and got Zach Touhy, in 2013 Hawthorn identified that the difference between them winning a flag and missing out was the extra key position player down back and went and recruited Brian Lake.

    Even now you are seeing clubs rebuild on the run more often than undertake a complete cleanout like St Kilda and Melbourne have done numerous times and like Carlton are doing now.

    Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong have been the masters of this on-the-run rebuild, continually rolling out new kids and undertaking smart recruiting. Essendon have attempted to do the same thing after the fallout from the supplements saga. As the game evolves, so do the different methods and mechanisms to build and rebuild your club and list.

    The message to the Blues fans since day dot of Brendon Bolton’s reign is that the journey will take time. With that, the path that they have taken to rebuild the club the way that they are is the one that is right for them.

    Patrick Cripps

    (Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    The talent is in the door, and there is plenty of it: Patrick Cripps, Charlie Curnow, Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Harry McKay, Jacob Weitering, Caleb Marchbank, Zac Fisher, David Cunningham and many, many more.

    By virtue of this rebuild they have the game time that they have got, and that should be reason enough for Carlton supporters to stay the course and rock up or tune in every week. We say it a lot, but patience is a virtue, and in many ways Carlton supporters just need to be patient in a world and a time where patience seemingly no longer exists.

    Heat will come on the Blues for their 0-7 start. It’s the nature of the industry to ask the questions and for clubs to continually reassess whether they are doing things the right way. Problems arise when the clubs don’t have an idea where they are or how they are going about it.

    The Blues and Bolton have been clear, consistent and adamant that the path they are taking is the right one for them and that they won’t deviate from their plan.

    The question remains as to whether or not, just like they did with the draft back in the day, they have again misread the tide of the competition and will be lagging behind in pursuit of a return to the top.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • May 8th 2018 @ 10:03am
      Birdman said | May 8th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      interesting article Jono but it seems to me that the ‘surprise’ flags won by the Dogs and Tiges in the last couple of years might also be giving some clubs a false sense of comfort that everything will be ok and patience will pay off in the end.

      It may just as well not be the case.

    • Roar Guru

      May 8th 2018 @ 10:25am
      Peter the Scribe said | May 8th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      I believe every year supporters deserve to have hope. Those who chastise Nathan Buckley forget he took the Pies to finals first two years and we had a couple of seasons where we started very well like 8-3 in serious contention and then fell away with injuries. We had hope, we have hope in 2018. I don’t subscribe to Macca, Kane and co who are happy to wait for 2021. That is a long time away. I know what Macca will say, Bolton didn’t inherit the list Buckley did but look at the hope the 0-7 Brisbane team are giving their supporters. How long has Fagan had? To be sitting in round 7 and saying you will look forward to 2021 is not good enough. For a start, you have no idea if you will contend in 2021 just because you are assembling in your eyes the best under 21 list in the comp. Game styles and plans evolve so quickly. A few years back we were watching with envy the Hawks with Buddy and Roughy, Gunston and Breust, now we look at the mosquito fleet Tigers, what will be the winning “list” demographic in 2021? Who knows. I have no vendetta against Brendan Bolton but I believe the Blues need to sell their supporters hope in the off season. Secure a Sloane or a Lynch with your number one pick, snag some free trade ready to go players, go all out for Longmire or Clarkson and Blues fans will be expecting to be contending for finals in 2019, not 2021.

      • May 8th 2018 @ 11:36am
        Birdman said | May 8th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        Clarko’s not going anywhere until he wins another flag with the Hawks.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm
          Peter the Scribe said | May 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

          You hope Bird! Kennett is in no hurry he says to extend him so the vultures will start to hover!

      • Roar Pro

        May 8th 2018 @ 11:38am
        Jono Baruch said | May 8th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Spot on Peter. I’m not comparing Bolton to Buckley but Buckley inherited a side that had come off 3 Grand Finals and in his first year took that group to a Prelim. He has now restructured the list into the list that he wants and it would seem that the tide has started to turn at Collingwood. i believe over the past few years you have recruited to have another real dip at the flag in a couple of years time and are actually shaping up really well. What i was explaining with Bolton is that he did what he had to do and that was effectively wipe the decks clean and start over. the list should be ready by about 2020/ 2021 to perform and challenge and be in rising group of teams but i go back to what you said before in your comeent and what i was alluding too in the article above. What will the comp look like then? who will be contending? how will teams go about building thier lists for the here and now and try and build a flag in a matter of seasons rather than a slow burn

      • May 8th 2018 @ 12:14pm
        Kane said | May 8th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        That’s ok Pete, you don’t have to subscribe to it because you’re a Collingwood supporter.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2018 @ 5:15pm
          Peter the Scribe said | May 8th 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          We will have to agree to disagree Kane. Personally, to sit back in round 7 2018 and wait for 2021 is just a waste. Footy is fun when you contend and fans deserve to enjoy their footy not be told to wait 5-7 years for any enjoyment. But if you are prepared to sit and hope the club is building to something in 2021 then good luck to you, you have the patience of a Saint (who were at least in the big dance just seven years ago).

          • May 8th 2018 @ 5:37pm
            Kane said | May 8th 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

            You’ve waited 5 years to maybe make the finals again Pete. That means that you haven’t been in contention.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 8:03am
              Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

              But Kane my point is every one of those years we had genuine hope that we would push for the eight, the Blues have no hope for their fans.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 9:21am
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

                Please tell me the difference between you backing Buckley to the hilt and Carlton fans and the club backing Bolton to the hilt and why is it in you’re mind that Bolton shouldn’t be given a chance to finish what he’s started after 2 going on 3 years but it’s ok for Buckley to finish lower on the ladder every year for 6 going on 7 years but yet continue on? I understand you can be like mattyb, the ghost or who ever he is going as today and not like to answer the hard questions but I’d like you to give me answers to both of these questions seeing you have raised the point.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 11:28am
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

                Can you please answer a couple of questions Pete. What’s the difference between you backing Buckley to the hilt and Carlton fans and the club backing Bolton to the hilt? And why in your mind does Buckley get 6 going on 7 years to maybe get Collingwood into the finals even though he has taken them further down the ladder every year but Bolton only gets 2 going on 3 years to rebuild from scratch and to start to get the list somewhere near where he wants it?

              • May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                First comment didn’t come up so I wrote this one then they both come up!!

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 12:13pm
              Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

              Kane my point is that under Buckley we have been in contention for the eight at the start of every one of his years at the helm. Yes, I grant you he inherited a better list that Bolton so in many ways your question is not a fair comparison for judging Brendan.

              Let’s instead look at another club with what most would call a basket case of a list, Melbourne as this is fairer to judge Brendan. In 2014 Paul Roos took over coaching Melbourne. The club had finished the previous seven year before he took over 14th, 16th, 16th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th. basket case right?
              Roos took the Demons to the following:

              2014: won 4 lost 18 = 17th percentage 68.4
              2015: won 7 lost 15 = 13th percentage 77.0
              2016: won 10 lost 12 = 11th percentage 97.6

              At the conclusion of his tenure he had made steady improvement and set the seed for the Demons just missing the finals last year with the Demons being in contention for the eight in 2016, his final year. he had given the Demons fans hope in just his third year.

              Let’s look at Brendan Bolton’s first three years.
              2016: won 7 lost 15 = 14th percentage 79.3
              2017: won 6 lost 16 = 16th percentage 78.2
              2018: won 0 lost 7 = 18th percentage 64.5

              By Roos third year the Dees were in contention for the eight with a healthy looking % of over 97.
              Now, in your wildest dreams can you the Blues nailing 10 wins this year? 9? 7? Or under 5? Under 3?
              Steady decline.

              Now yes I know you will say Buckley steadily declined but really we were in contention every single year. Going backwards year by year from last year under Bucks the Pies % was 99.0 in 2017, 95.0 in 2016, 106.5 in 2015, 94.0 in 2014 and we played finals 2012-2013. I like % because it takes out lucky wins or unlucky losses. Bolton hasn’t got you over 80% since he started. Roos had the Dees at over 97 in year three. 2018 was the year the Blues needed to show hope, secure 9-11 wins and get your % up in contention. It is not going to happen.
              Roos gave real hope to demons fans in his third year, Bolton is not doing the same but in fact taking you backwards.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Was Melbourne that much of a “basket case” that Roos had to turn over 40 players in 3 years? And you still didn’t answer my questions? Why according to you should Buckley after inheriting a premiership list and then taking them down the ladder every year since get 7 years and Bolton only get 3 after having to overturn the whole list? I’m not interested in stats, I just want you to answer my questions.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 1:08pm
              Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

              Kane, how can you look at those previous 7 years of results I gave you for Melbourne and not claim they were a basket case? Everyone knows they were. Number of players turned over is completely irrelevant. Results prior to a new coach coming in are valid.
              You ask.
              “Why according to you should Buckley after inheriting a premiership list and then taking them down the ladder every year since get 7 years and Bolton only get 3 after having to overturn the whole list?”
              Answer: Because every year under Buckley the Pies have been in contention deep into seasons. Every year we, as supporters had hope. Hope of playing finals, hope for the future. Right now, Bolton, even with his best salesman skills and sales face cannot sell hope. His sales pitch is flat, as Johnathan Brown said recently he sells cliche’s not answers.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Totally different circumstances so not really an answer Pete. Buckley after 3 years took Collingwood from the finals to out of finals contention, Bolton at the same stage is still building a list that started out as a rabble into something that he can work with. Us Carlton fans (which you and other clubs supporters can’t see or don’t want to see) are right behind him and the club whether you think it’s the right move or not. And on your comment on your club selling “hope” there has been a lot of Collingwood supporters on this very site among others that have been against pretty much everything your coach has done for the last 3 years.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 3:25pm
              Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

              Kane you have switched back to arguing against Buckley who as I stated was in contention every year of his tenure before finishing middle of the road. I have given you a genuine similar scenario to your rebuilding Blues with the Melbourne Roos years. Basket case list, rebuild. How come Roos could do it but Bolton can’t? I’m not here to ridicule your club. I want the Pies v Blues finals to be back as genuine blockbusters replacing the Cats v Hawks. I just think he may have laid the scaffolding but you need a master builder to finish the house. His big fail this year means he has to go for your clubs sake. Saying he “deserves” to see where the list goes is not good enough based on your performances this year.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Not good enough in your eyes and that’s fair enough, Carlton supporters are backing him and the club in and that’s all that matters really. We have already tried the master builder approach with Malthouse which is pretty much the reason we are where we are so it’s time to take on the proper rebuild approach (which is happening as we speak) instead of the quick fixes which obviously don’t work for us. The same approach that Hawthorn and Geelong took when they employed Clarkson and Thompson, the same approach that has led to these clubs to be 2 powerhouse’s of the modern era. There’s probably no right or wrong answer for it but I’m backing Bolton in.

            • Roar Guru

              May 9th 2018 @ 5:10pm
              Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

              Fair enough Kane. I certainly admire fans such as yourself, Macca and Col who at least stick by their club rather than pot shot it when the going gets tough and you do maintain that you have hope. Brendan’s future will play itself out regardless during the year ahead. Will the Blues hierarchy still be able to stick to the plan if you finish 2-20 I wonder or will they decide its time to offer hope again to the fans who have lost it is the question. I will be the first to apologise if Bolton does indeed lead you into a challenger again but I personally expect it might be the next coach IMO.

              • May 9th 2018 @ 6:41pm
                Kane said | May 9th 2018 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                Like I said in another thread, there is only 2 other coaches in the land that I’d agree to let Bolton go early for and that is Clarkson and Longmire. What good would it do bringing in another coach 3 years into a 5 year rebuild especially when, let’s face it, there is no one else out there except the 2 aforementioned.

      • May 8th 2018 @ 10:22pm
        Macca said | May 8th 2018 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

        Pete as discussed elsewhere the Lions had 3 players on their injury list prior to round 7, none of which would be in their best 22 while the blues were missing the likes of Marchbank, Weitering, Docherty, Murphy, C Curnow, Pickett, Byrne, Williamson and Lang out of their likely best 22 plus a few others( like Cuningham).

        Also how much hope we’re Brisbane fans getting in round 6 when they kicked just 5 goals against the Giants or how about in round 4 where they managed just 2 goals against the Tigers?

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2018 @ 12:16pm
          Peter the Scribe said | May 9th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          Macca, I’m not convinced that any of those outs apart from Docherty, Murphy and Curnow are worth mentioning. they are role players and should be comfortably filled from your list.

    • Roar Pro

      May 8th 2018 @ 11:32am
      Jono Baruch said | May 8th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      Thanks Ken, good to know that there are some rational and sane supporters among us like you. keep the faith!