A frank assessment of where Carlton are at

Michael Thompson Roar Pro

By Michael Thompson, Michael Thompson is a Roar Pro

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231 Have your say

    On the weekend, Carlton suffered their seventh heaviest lost in the club’s history, going down to a rampant Melbourne by 109 points.

    The knives are again out for Brendan Bolton, with the coach having to explain at the press conference where the Blues went wrong.

    We don’t need to judge Bolton based on this season, the club is in its third year rebuild and he has admitted that this is the toughest year in the club’s long road back to success.

    Honestly though, the Dees defeated a VFL side at the MCG. Carlton didn’t their best 22 out there.

    The integral Sam Docherty is out for the season with an ACL injury, while no Caleb Marchbank, Ciaran Byrne or Tom Williamson down back has hurt as well. Veteran defender Alex Silvagni is another on the long-term injury list.

    Losing both Curnows – Ed through suspension and Charlie due to a tight quad – didn’t help, while captain Marc Murphy has just returned from an injury sustained minutes before the Round 4 clash against North Melbourne.

    Big man Andrew Phillips played for the Northern Blues, and out-of-form duo Jacob Weitering and Jack Silvagni are trying hard to get considered for selection.

    That is where Carlton’s main 22 have been.

    It was good to see young Patrick Kerr get a run, and Harry McKay is slowly going from strength to strength as the new key forward.

    Aaron Mullett, Sam Kerridge, Nick Graham, Jed Lamb and Cameron O’Shea will not be there long-term, as the club looks to who is up for discussion during free agency.

    Former Port superstar Kane Cornes suggested on the Sunday Footy Show that out-of-contract Collingwood forward Jordan De Goey could be a fantastic acquisition for the Blues, while general manager of football Andrew McKay reckons the Blues will be filling the gaping holes of the mature age bracket of 22-26 to help the youngsters out.

    Another player Carlton should look at is Dylan Shiel. The 25-year-old Giant is one of the best midfielders in the competition right now, and Carlton should secure another number 1 pick if they finish bottom this year – why not part with it for Shiel, who can come in and help Murphy, Patrick Cripps, the Curnows and Zac Fisher through the midfield.

    It is not all doom and gloom at Carlton – their list is in better shape than Essendon, St Kilda and Collingwood’s put together, and Bolton is slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

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    The Crowd Says (231)

    • Roar Guru

      May 22nd 2018 @ 3:23am
      hairy fat man said | May 22nd 2018 @ 3:23am | ! Report

      the club is in its third year rebuild

      Carlton haven’t made the Finals on merit since 2011. What have they been doing for the last seven years?

    • May 22nd 2018 @ 4:48am
      Andrew said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      Recovering from the Malthouse era. One of the poorest mistakes Carlton have made since getting the salary cap breaches. Ratten was shafted plain and simple. I look at the current situation with Carlton as our toughest year as the key positions are filled but with only a Cripps and a very young Fisher holding up an entire midfield with Murphy on one leg and a Simpson in his 30’s going on 40. I expect a huge injection of midfield depth at season’s end and with the hope of an injury free preseason and a reasonable climb up the ladder from next year onwards.

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:02am
        Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Ratten wasn’t shafted, he proved himself to be a good, but not great coach with his time at Carlton and that’s what Carlton went after in Malthouse.
        The damage to Carltons list started during the Ratten era, not Malthouses, with Carltons abysmal record at identifying and developing talent through the national draft. Those players drafted during Rattens period at the club would now be in their prime years of playing football. The identified whole in Carltons current list.

        Of course it doesn’t finish with Ratten, in Carltons true quick fix fashion, they brought in Malthouse who quickly identified the lack of depth of the overrated list he inherited. Rather than beginning what could have been a mini rebuild at the time, with the pressure/expections coming from everywhere, including his own ego, and old man time for immediate results, Carlton went on one the most damaging run in list management decisions I’ve ever seen from any club, while Carlton maintained its horrible run at the draft. Particularly damaging was the exit of so many of the few good players that again are in that age bracket that is now a wasteland for quality AFL players on Carltons list.

        List destroyed. Enter Bolton and SOS .

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:14am
          Bobburra said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Malthouse ,”who quickly identified the lack of depth of the overrated list he inherited” was the same Malhouse who before he even coached one game at Carlton, said he had list that could win a premiership, then he promptly dismantled that group because there was no depth. ??? That is my understanding of the appointment of the ‘super coach”.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 6:59pm
            Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

            Thanks for the summary Bobbura, as I said the Carlton list was overated, both internally and externally, when Malthouse arrived at Carlton even to the point of talking premierships (many in the media as well although they would no longer admit it). He wasn’t there long before he realised that he didn’t have a premiership contending team and that’s when the the Malthouse era hatchet job on the list began in one repeated failed list management decision after another, usually in the traditional quick fix vane.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:17am
          Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          And of course with so little value to trade with on the Carlton list and the need to hit the draft and bring in young talent SOS has traded away most of the remaining talent Carlton had in that 23 – 29 age bracket.

          SOS has done a great job of putting together a talented list (potentially) for the future, but the cost, along with some other list decisions, have positioned Carlton for what at the moment is shaping as the worst season in Carltons history.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:28am
            Lroy said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

            Highlights the absurdity of the salary cap and the requirment for clubs to pay all of it out ever year.

            Carlton’s wages list would be almost the same as the Eagles, Tigers and Crows.

            • Roar Rookie

              May 22nd 2018 @ 11:42am
              Pedro The Fisherman said | May 22nd 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

              Without a salary cap Carlton would never have needed any Brown Paper Bags!

            • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:57pm
              Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

              The AFL has a lot rules in place that ensure a slow climb from the bottom.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:49am
          Andrew said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          How was he not shafted? The year he was sacked was one of the worst injury riddled years I have ever seen at a club and through purely the name ‘Malthouse’ being available, Ratten was shown the door. Had Malthouse not been available at that exact moment, I have little doubt that Ratten would have continued coaching.

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2018 @ 10:50am
            Paul Dawson said | May 22nd 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            Agreed. Carlton wanted an experienced name to add polish and take their list to the pinnacle.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:52pm
            Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

            Ratten wasn’t shafted. In his time at Carlton he proved himself to be a good coach, but not a great one. His record against top teams was poor. Carlton wanted a great coach and made the decision that Ratten wasn’t that coach. He lost his job, it happens a lot in football. Of course it didn’t help Rattens cause that there was a hall of fame coach available at the time.

            And as for all the talk of injuries both now with Bolton and then with Ratten, other clubs get injuries too. Carlton handles injuries poorly, because of their overall lack of depth on the list and their over reliance on a few stars to carry the load.

            The lack of player development from the draft during the Ratten era was exposed in his last season when we didn’t have the young players on the list coming through to replace or cover the best 22 injured players. It contributed to him losing his job.

            • May 23rd 2018 @ 4:32am
              Andrew said | May 23rd 2018 @ 4:32am | ! Report

              If you don’t believe Carlton’s injuries were partially to blame for Rattens’ sacking then go look at his 2012 injury list for yourself. It was just Malthouses name/availability at that time when Ratten didn’t have a team to put on the park that cost him his place.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 8:01am
                Steve009 said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

                I do believe that injuries played a part in Rattens sacking, but the major reason was that during his tenure at Carlton Ratten had failed to convince the Carlton board that he was a coach that had the ability to take Carlton to a premiership. As I said, his record against top teams was poor and I know I’m not alone in thinking he was a below average day game coach, and was regularly out coached by the better coaches at that time.
                Of course having a proven premiership coach waiting in the wings, when his own abilities as a coach were being questioned didn’t help his cause either.
                Anyway it wasn’t the sacking of Ratten that brought the blues to their current lows, it was their list management during Ratten and Malthouses time at the club.

              • Roar Guru

                May 24th 2018 @ 9:02am
                Paul Dawson said | May 24th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

                Ratten was sacked when they had to beat the Suns to have a chance of making finals and didn’t. 2012 wasn’t it? Given you’d welcomed the suns to the comp with a 170-40ish sorta slogging 18 months prior it perhaps wasn’t an unreasonable scapegoating

                Honestly if they didn’t sign Malthouse and go nowhere we wouldn’t even still be talking about Ratts

        • May 24th 2018 @ 12:52pm
          Gecko said | May 24th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          Steve009 that’s a good assessment of the core of Carlton’s problems: poor recruiting and inflated expectations (the 3rd problem was a poor culture amongst the playing group).

          And your assessment is a more convincing defence of Bolton than Thompson’s article, which blames Carlton’s 2018 position on having a bunch of mostly B-C grade players on the injury list (half the clubs have worse injury lists than Carlton).

        • May 24th 2018 @ 12:55pm
          Gecko said | May 24th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Steve009 that’s a good assessment of the core of Carlton’s problems: poor recruiting and inflated expectations (the 3rd problem was a poor culture amongst the playing group).

          And your assessment is a more convincing defence of Bolton than Thompson’s article, which names a bunch of mostly B-C grade players on the injury list (half the AFL clubs have a worse injury list than Carlton).

          • May 24th 2018 @ 1:36pm
            The Original Buzz said | May 24th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

            I think you will find maybe Collingwood has a similar injury list to Carlton, every other team actually has less injuries.

            • May 24th 2018 @ 1:45pm
              Macca said | May 24th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

              An the blues tolerance level for injuries (especially to the likes of Kreuzer, Docherty, Marchbank & Murphy) would be lower than most other teams

    • May 22nd 2018 @ 6:52am
      Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      How long before matty, the ghost or one of his aliases runs the old sad and tragic line?

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 11:24am
        Mattyb said | May 22nd 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        Sorry I want to see this tragic club improve instead of running the excuse line or tearing up at any given opertunity.
        Carlton are about to win yet another wooden spoon,can’t score and are being constantly thrashed at both VFL and AFL level, yet the supporters are claiming their hard done by and now running conspiracy theories to make themselves feel better and deflect from simple facts.
        Carlton are worse than Fitzroy,and even the evidence supports this,and still they’re going backwards.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 11:38am
          Macca said | May 22nd 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Matthew – if you decide on the result and then chose a data set to find that result it isn’t evidence.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 12:07pm
            Mattyb said | May 22nd 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            Data beats excuses though.
            Carlton are a more appalling club than Fitzroy,the evidence and data was provided to make it a fact.
            Where’s the evidence,besides delusion,that Carltons list is better than anyone else’s despite crystal balling or quoting David King?

            • May 22nd 2018 @ 2:19pm
              Macca said | May 22nd 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

              Data doesn’t beat anything – data needs to be polished, interpreted and then held up to scrutiny – your data is wanting on every level.

              If you are wanting me to provide evidence of what the future holds then you are setting a task that can not be achieved.

              What I will say is that the blues have embarked on a strategy that has seen them amass 7 first round picks in the last 3 years (5 in the top 10) through the draft and recruit former first rounders in Plowman, Marchbank, Pickett, Kennedy, Lang & Garlett – those acquisitions (plus getting someone like Wiliamson late), the confidence you gain from having SOS as the list manager and the exposed form of those early draft picks is enough to demonstrate we are on the right path.

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 12:03am
                DingoGray said | May 23rd 2018 @ 12:03am | ! Report

                Not everyone shares such confidence in SOS

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 12:21pm
          Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Who says they’re hard done by and show me evidence of this conspiracy theory.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 5:32pm
            Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            Where’s the evidence to your own comments mattyb? Don’t worry I don’t expect an answer as you never answer when you can’t back up your own statements.

      • May 24th 2018 @ 1:37pm
        The Original Buzz said | May 24th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

        4 Hours, 32 minutes.

    • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:01am
      Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      I agree with the last line about Bolton putting the pieces together of the jigsaw together which is why I say let him finish his 5 years to see out his plan. I don’t agree with the “list is in better shape than those other 3 clubs put together though”. There’s no doubt we have some promising young big blokes in Curnow and McKay and young midfielders. We need to go hard at this next trade period and get a Shiel and a Gaff to compliment Cripps’s work and not get fringe players to fill holes. We have the young blokes, we just don’t have the 23-28 year olds in their prime to help them develop

      • Roar Guru

        May 22nd 2018 @ 9:17am
        JamesH said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Yeah, I agreed with the article until I saw that line. Carlton probably have the most promising group of kids out of the four clubs mentioned (not vs the other three combined though, lol), but their list can’t really be judged until we see which of those kids make good on that promise.

        Sam McClure summed it up pretty well last night when he said he expects Carlton to still be poor in 2019, while 2020 is the year the Blues should be aiming to make significant strides up the ladder.

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 5:33pm
        Nigel said | May 22nd 2018 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

        Why would Gaff leave? He is in a side that is playing well and to go to a side that is a rabble and going no where

    • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:34am
      PeteB said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      I find it hard to stay positive. Our failure to attract players like Devon Smith and Rockliff last year after the loss of Gibbs was damning. These are the type of players we needed to stay competitive while the younger talent matured. Yes, we have some good young players but there are still plenty of holes and a lack of depth. Totally agree with the previous comment of stop filling holes with fringe players like OShea and Mullett. But will there be any players of better quality willing to come to us ?

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 8:45am
        Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        This is where this years trade is the most important trade period we’ve ever had. If we picked up 2 of Shiel, Gaff and Sloane it would make an enormous difference. 2 of them would be probably worth 5-7 rungs on the ladder in the first year. And if we have to pay overs for them then so be it. Need to sign up Cripps and Curnow to long year deals before the trade period which I believe will help to attract these players.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am
          Birdman said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          Fair points but I wonder if clubs like North and (to a lesser degree) the Saints might appeal more to out of contract or FA players?

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:38am
            Kane said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

            That’s pretty much the reason why I said we might have to pay overs and why we need to sign Cripps and Curnow on 5 year deals, everyone knows what we’re going to get out of these 2 so it’s not a massive risk. Curnow could be anything if he got half decent supply.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 10:35am
          Richo said | May 22nd 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Not sure about the other two but I know Gaff has said team success will be a factor in his decision. If he leaves I’d expect him to go to Melbourne or north over Carlton.

      • Roar Guru

        May 22nd 2018 @ 9:39am
        JamesH said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        You weren’t ready to attract those kinds of players, though. Rockliff was never going to go to another struggling side after so many tough years with the Lions, while Essendon went hard at Smith. When you’re at a low ebb the only kinds of players you’ll attract are youngsters who are prepared to go through a few years of pain (e.g. Kennedy), and fringe players looking to get more game time or prolong their careers (e.g. Mullett).

        Kane, I disagree that this year is an important one for Carlton trade-wise. I think 2019’s trade and free agency period is the one Carlton should go hard at. 2019 will still be a challenging season but if the Blues show enough to suggest 2020 will be better, that’s where you’ll get these quality 25-27yo players willing to take a punt on an emerging group.

        There is no way in hell you will get Gaff or Sloane. If you’re hanging your hat on them, you’ll be seriously disappointed. Why would either of them leave strong sides at this stage of their careers to play in a team that is probably no chance of success until 2021 at the absolute earliest? And Shiel is not a free agent so you would need to stump up two first rounders for him, which would be a steep price at this point in time.

        In 2018, you’re better off targeting a solid unrestricted free agent like Puopolo, Mackay or even Mundy. Someone who won’t necessarily be a matchwinner for you but will cost nothing and offer valuable leadership for a year or two (and, in Mundy’s case, perhaps transition to a coaching role). Giving up key draft picks or throwing millions at a gun is just not where the Blues are at.

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 9:47am
          Tom M said | May 22nd 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          Spot on. Their is no chance Sloane or Gaff come to the blues. These are players looking to win a flag now and Carlton are years off even playing finals

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 12:02pm
            sammy said | May 22nd 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            not sure about Sloany..His wife has been offered a very lucrative tv deal in melbourne apparently and he may like to but not be so concerned about getting to a premiership window club (he is already with one now). If he goes, I have a feeling that he will be happy to go to any melbourne based club as long as the deal works for him and the crows.

            • Roar Rookie

              May 22nd 2018 @ 12:16pm
              Pedro The Fisherman said | May 22nd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              Sorry – duplicate post – fat fingers!

            • Roar Rookie

              May 22nd 2018 @ 12:16pm
              Pedro The Fisherman said | May 22nd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              Sloane’s wife already works in Melbourne fairly regularly (FIFO) but I agree that he will either stay at Adelaide for the Premiership window or go for the big $ at a club where the window hasn’t opened yet but might (Melbourne, Hawthorn and North Melbourne may be most likely).

            • May 22nd 2018 @ 2:02pm
              No Bolts said | May 22nd 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

              Sloane could choose any number of successful strong Melbourne clubs OR play for spoons with the Blues? Hmmm tough choice.

            • May 22nd 2018 @ 8:05pm
              Birdman said | May 22nd 2018 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

              like Dangerfield and Judd but unlike Buddy

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 5:37pm
          Nigel said | May 22nd 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

          No chance for Gaff or Sloane they are both vice captains/leaders of two good footy sides and why will they go to a side that is years away from success

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 8:40pm
        Steve009 said | May 22nd 2018 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

        SOS has done a great job of acquiring young talent (I think), but has failed in convincing established players of worth to come to the club or identify mature aged players (other than Matthew Wright) that can help us now through free agency or that are undervalued on other teams lists.

        Courting Rockliff wasn’t helped by the AFLs compensation rule that meant if we tried to out bid port we ran the risk of the Brisbane’s compensation pick dropping us further back in the first round of the draft

    • Roar Guru

      May 22nd 2018 @ 7:41am
      Peter the Scribe said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      Their list is better than Essendon, St. Kilda and Collingwoods put together? Sorry but that is just a ridiculous comment. One look at the results this year would have stopped you writing that.

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 1:24pm
        Macca said | May 22nd 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        I wouldn’t even suggest putting Collingwood and St Kilda’s list together after what happened at Etihad on the weekend!!

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2018 @ 2:17pm
          Peter the Scribe said | May 22nd 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

          Not sure what you mean Macca? Scrappy affair except for the third quarter but we kicked 15 goals to be over 100 points and won fairly comfortably?

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm
            Macca said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

            Didn’t you catch the news last night – there was a bit of a brawl in a bar at Etihad.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2018 @ 4:53pm
              Peter the Scribe said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

              Haha, oh yes got you now. Saw a bit of that in the 2010 GF series too! On another note, Macca there is a Carlton article at least once a week atm in here, have you hit a point where you are sick of the scrutiny or is it better than say the St Kilda articles where nobody comments?

              • May 22nd 2018 @ 4:57pm
                Macca said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                Peter – you may have noticed I enjoy talking about the blues but the standard of so call “an @lysis” leaves me bewildered. I mean who would have thought that a team everyone picked to finish bottom 4 (if not bottom 2) loses to a top 8 (if not top 4) side by a large margin after having somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of it s best 22 removed.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2018 @ 5:51pm
                Col from Brissie said | May 22nd 2018 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

                Peter, you can always bet on some weird characters appearing on Carlton articles. At 2.32pm we have a new character Casper the Ghost and at 3.56pm we have Ghost of Carlton past. Amazingly their post is word for word the same. Obviously someone slipped up.

                They compare us to Fitzroy which coincidencely a well known Carlton detractor has recently been doing.

            • Roar Guru

              May 23rd 2018 @ 8:01am
              Peter the Scribe said | May 23rd 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

              Well Macca and Col, this article by the end of today will probably have over 200 comments while a similar Saints article might get 15. One might infer the sleeping giant, much like the Tigers were, is merely dormant rather than dead.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 9:22am
                Macca said | May 23rd 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

                Or that people to a lot of pleasure in potting the blues!! 😉

              • Roar Guru

                May 23rd 2018 @ 10:32am
                Col from Brissie said | May 23rd 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

                There’s a lot of new names I haven’t seen before and mostly saying the same thing. Funnily enough the post of Ghost of Carlton past which I mentioned above has now disappeared. Someone must have realized their mistake.

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 5:01pm
        Michael Thompson said | May 22nd 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        St Kilda have the WORST list in my opinion in the competition right now, nobody would want to go to a club that promises things to their fans and fail to deliver. Essendon doesn’t phase me either, they need to show me more and Collingwood have a decent list, but I wouldn’t say it is as goods as Carlton in the future but better than both Essendon and St Kilda.

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