Carlton are worse than ever, but how did they get there?

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    Carlton are coming off what was probably their most embarrassing performance under Brendon Bolton – goalless and 70 points in arrears to half-time against a travelling Fremantle.

    Make no mistake, the Dockers are themselves a bottom six side, with an average losing margin of almost ten goals outside of Perth this year.

    After 13 rounds, the Blues sit 18th on the ladder with one win and a percentage of 61.9.

    In 2015, when Mick Malthouse was unceremoniously dumped by Carlton, at the same point of the season they were 16th with three wins and a percentage of 73.2.

    Brendon Bolton was appointed Carlton senior coach in August of 2015. This is his third season.

    In 2016 at Round 13, they had six wins and a percentage of 84.7. In 2017, it was five wins and a percentage of 82.7.

    Whichever way you cut it, the Blues are having their worst year in the last four, and by a space. Things are looking grim.

    Carlton have turned over their list dramatically under Bolton. Including rookies from 2015, there are only 12 players remaining at the club from the 46 that were on the list when Bolton took over.

    Brendon Bolton

    Coach of the Blues Brendon Bolton. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Since 2015, Sam Docherty has become an All-Australian and one of the premier half-backs in the competition. Patrick Cripps looked like becoming a superstar and has lived up to it. Matthew Kruezer has got some continuity into his football under Bolton, and has become the ruckman fans have long been hoping for.

    These three important players have become measurably better. Docherty has clearly been missed thanks to an ACL, and Kruezer is only now working into his season after some injury hiccups earlier in the year.

    The evergreen Kade Simpson is still a beacon of consistency. Marc Murphy is still a high quality midfielder, but has only played four matches this year, something the struggling Blues can ill afford. Liam Jones has re-emerged to become better as a key defender than he ever was as a forward.

    Dale Thomas was brought over to the Blues by Malthouse, and is having by far his best season since his premiership coach was let go. Ed Curnow is having a career year, winning more of the ball than ever before but also continuing a high standard with his defensive actions.

    That’s eight players that are still on the list from 2015 that are better than they were, or still of reasonable quality. Three of the best five have been injured – we’ve seen what has happened to an outfit like Adelaide this year, and Carlton are coming from a far lower base.

    Sam Rowe is much the same player as he was, but it wouldn’t have been in the plans to still have him as part of the side in 2018, and he wouldn’t be getting a game anywhere else. Levi Casboult is Levi Casboult. Nick Graham is a list-clogger. Ciaran Byrne was on the rookie list in 2015, and is on the main list now but has had a long history of injuries.

    Of Carlton’s 2015 list, eight players ended up at other clubs.

    Chris Yarran and Troy Menzel were clear busts for Richmond and Adelaide respectively. Tom Bell hasn’t fared much better at Brisbane. It’s hard to think Dylan Buckley will amount to much at GWS.

    Lachie Henderson, Zach Tuohy and Bryce Gibbs were senior players, and all requested trades to more successful clubs. This fit in with Carlton’s strategic list build of hitting the draft, with the only flop bringing in Billie Smedts as part of the Tuohy deal, who lasted 12 months.

    Bryce Gibbs Carlton Blues AFL 2017

    Bryce Gibbs before his trade to Adelaide. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Billy Gowers was on the Blues rookie list in 2015, and has been a bright spot at the Western Bulldogs this year, starting in the same place.

    It’s not as if the delisted or traded players from Carlton have been a glittering array of stars, or gone onto great things.

    Bringing in the likes of Aaron Mullett, Sam Kerridge, Jed Lamb, Cam O’Shea, Andrew Phillips and Matthew Lobbe makes for easy pickings, adding a lot of dead wood to the pile of smouldering rubble that is the Carlton list. Maybe Darcy Lang, Jarrod Pickett and Jarrod Garlett will be the same. That’s 20 per cent of the list.

    But Matthew Wright has made them better. Caleb Marchbank and Lachie Plowman have too. Matthew Kennedy should.

    From recent drafts, Charlie Curnow has the football world salivating. Sam Petrevski-Seton, Zac Fisher and Paddy Dow, all in their first or second year, have shown moments of class that assure us they will become very good players, and incidentally, all three are in the top five for tackles at the Blues this year.

    One of the problems with stripping a list right back in such a short period of time is that it’s impossible to get all decisions right, both in strategy and in selections, whether draft or targeting from other clubs. Getting it wrong in the case of experienced players is easier to tell, as in the case of Smedts. With draft picks, it can be three, four, five years. Sometimes more.

    One draft pick in a round of 18 isn’t a lot. And really, are the chances of finding a prospective All-Australian or best-and-fairest winner that much better in the 20s as opposed to later on. And how are we to know whether it is the player himself of the development coaches that extract the most from their talent.

    The drastic list turnover also means no continuity within the club – players take time to learn how to play with each other, and re-learning it with so many new faces each must take a toll. Friendships are made and broken. The players that survive one year play with the guillotine hanging over them the next.

    Coaches must also put in a lot of time each year, forming new relationships, learning about their new players. Does this detract from the development of others? There are only so many hours in the day, only so much energy people have.

    Patrick Cripps Carlton Blues AFL 2017

    Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates kicking a goal. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Confidence goes up a little with each win that comes along, but down a lot when the losses start piling up, as they inevitably do. Players are fragile, lose hope along the way, and need to be built up again.

    It’s possible that Brendon Bolton is too structured, leaving young players caught in two minds – follow the coaches instructions, or play the way that got them drafted in the first place. It’s not easy to quell your own instinct in the service of some grander plan.

    There was no joy in Carlton’s play on Saturday against Fremantle. No sense that it was just a game, and a fun one to play at that. There was no connectivity.

    Success has many fathers, so the saying goes, and failure is an orphan. That doesn’t seem to be the case at the Blues. Their failures are myriad.

    The road was long at the start of Bolton’s reign. It might well be longer now. That doesn’t mean the path they’re on won’t ultimately lead them into the light.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (154)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:14am
      Brad said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      I believe that Carlton are on the right track.

      Does it really matter now anyway? They’ve started now. Not like they can turn the clock back and undo what they have already done. They’re committed to doing this whether anyone likes it or not.

      What still remains to be seen is if they can hold onto players.
      The longer this rebuild takes, the more losses, the more boos by their own supporters, the less likely these kids will want to stay around.
      Cripps, Fisher and Petrevski-Seton are all WA kids and are important going forward for Carlton.
      There is no doubt that the two WA clubs are constantly asking the question, so will these kids stick it out or will they jump ship.
      To be honest who could blame them.

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Cameron Rose said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        It’s another part of the problem when results don’t come, for sure. Getting all the best talent to commit to the vision.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 6:15pm
        Mr X said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

        I’m surprised how loyal Cripps.
        Eagles on top
        Carlton on bottom.
        Northampton boy same a Josh Kennedy.
        Or if he wants to stay in Melbourne what about like Geelong or something.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:26am
      DAN said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      to many teams in the afl. When i used to go to our optus oval games we were terrible but we had good players like mckay,fevola and kouta. Now days we only have a few young guns that are good but will probably end up leaving anyways

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 7:56am
      Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      The young guys must go out each week simply hoping they don’t lose by too much. I was hoping for a retraction article from Tim Lane who called it so wrong last year. As we lead up to Pies v Blues one should pause to reflect on this Nostradamus piece.
      Tim Lane wrote an article in July last year about Collingwood and Carlton going in different directions.

      Some quotes from Tim Lane’s piece. “By 5pm Saturday, Nathan Buckley was the name on every talkback caller’s lips. Clearly, he’s in deep trouble. Brendon Bolton, meanwhile, is rightly regarded as doing a brilliant job of turning Carlton into a team that can no longer be taken for granted by opponents.”

      How did Tim get it so wrong? How did others get it so wrong? This isn’t about bashing the Blues while they are down but can even Macca wait until 2021? Can the competition?

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:47am
        Lroy said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        That was a funny article wasn’t it. I saw a few of the the Collingwood games on the telly, they were ok actually.

        The Eagles game really turned it around for them, they played well, got the win and got a few more wins in the back-end of the season and have carried that momentum through this year.

        As for the Blues, plenty of pundits in the west dont think they would beat Subiaco who are undefeated in the WAFL, big call, but maybe not far from the truth.

        Salary cap and the requirement to pay 98% of the salary cap mean there are a number of guys at the Blues getting big bucks for not being very good.

        Irony being Carlton are one of the clubs who probably could afford to throw big $$ at players to bring them in if the salary cap was abolished.

        but the AFL’s mantra has always been ”equality through mediocrity”so dont expect any changes soon.

        I actually think they are killing the product, I dont watch half as many games as I used ten years ago. Plenty of non footy reasons for that, but the sub standard of a number of teams is certainly a contributing factor.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 6:17pm
          Mr X said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

          Carlton v Subi
          I want to see that!
          Simon White ex cfc player Subi.
          Go The mighty lions

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:55am
        JamesH said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Was it ‘so wrong’ at the time? Lane was basically stating what the vast majority of pundits then thought about Buckley’s Pies and Bolton’s Blues, based on what they had seen over the previous 18 months.

        I’m sure Lane wasn’t anticipating that Gibbs would be gone and Docherty, Murphy and Kruzer would have significant injury problems in 2018. Likewise, who really thought Lynden Dunn or Mason Cox would step up the way that they have? Or that Weitering would stumble in his third year while Tom Phillips (pick 58 in the same draft) would be in all-Australian contention?

        It’s easy to point out mistakes after the fact.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 9:05am
          Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

          Who thought positively about all of that at the Pies? I did for one.

          Yes it is easy to point out mistakes but Tim would be embarrassed at how wrong he was and as a respected journalist and Roar expert why is it wrong to call him out on it? These articles don’t just get written and forgotten and it was only July last year, if you are prepared to put your opinion out then be prepared to admit you got it wrong. I for one, got the Eagles totally wrong this year and thought the Cats and Swans may be fighting for around 8-10th place. Seems I was totally wrong with those three sides.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:23am
            Paul Dawson said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

            If journos were accountable for their articles and predictions David Lord would have been sacked years ago

            Tim is probably paid to write x number of articles each year and I daresay doesn’t give a stuff about what happens 12 months later, nor should he. It’s just punditry for the sake of filling space Peter, what you’re doing right now is standing next to a highway complaining about how noisy it is

            Some of Tim’s work is great stuff, you should read the recent piece he wrote on Tom Lynch. Cut the man some slack, everyone gets things wrong in football all the time – as Cam says, I’ve never met someone who tips 9 from 9 every week

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:25am
              Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

              And in two years he may yet be proved correct.

              • Columnist

                June 19th 2018 @ 10:41am
                Cameron Rose said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                Nice quote Paul! I haven’t used that one for a while!

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:54am
            JamesH said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            Maybe you did, but you were in a small minority. Most Pies fans were lamenting the likes of Dunn and Cox being in the 22.

            Yes he got it wrong but I highly doubt Tim would be embarrassed. It wasn’t a terrible call at the time and it won’t be the last occasion that he winds up being wrong with the benefit of hindsight. Everyone makes mistakes and I don’t think this one was anywhere near as bad as you’re making out.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 9:03pm
            Dan in Devon said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

            Bolton should take a leaf out of Buckley’s game plan this year. Carlton’s foot skills are appalling and their delivery into the forward line hopeless. They should focus more on handballing and support running like the Carlton teams of the early 90s. Thomas should play further up the ground where his kicking would improve the delivery into the forward 50.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 10:31am
          Kris said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          When one team, Collingwood, has only had 4 seasons in 18 years were they dipped below 10 games; and the other, Carlton, has had 10 – it is pretty safe to assume that Collingwood was having a blip and Carlton a spike.

          It is probably fairly predictable that Kreuzer would get hurt, Gibbs would leave and yes that Collingwood would find a good player with a late pick.

          Since Carlton finished 2nd and Collingwood 15th in 2000; Carlton have made the finals 5 times and gone 137-245.

          Collingwood have gone 220-164, made the finals 10 times and won a premiership.

          Someone like Lane who is a full time ‘expert’ on AFL should have been making much better calls, instead he is just like any other fan wishing his team got better and converting his wish-thinking into ‘analysis’.

          • Columnist

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:42am
            Cameron Rose said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

            I think last year was one too many for many people that had been patient with their outlook for the PIes. I think I’ve predicted them around 10th the last couple of years, and that was seen as well on the optimistic side by most! They are playing a completely different brand of football this year, and it is serving them well. Very tough to play against now, and very tough to beat.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 11:08am
            JamesH said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Collingwood had been heading downwards for several seasons at that point, while Carlton looked to be improving after the Malthouse disaster. Virtually every AFL expert was thinking along similar lines to Tim because in the circumstances it was a perfectly reasonable call. I’m not sure what you’re hoping to prove by going back 18 years. The preceding 18 months was a lot more relevant to the fortunes of Buckley and Bolton.

            Kreuzer looked to have put his injury concerns behind him (only 2 games missed in 2.5 seasons before 2018), the Crows looked to have moved on from Gibbs and Collingwood’s drafting leading up that point had been woeful. Claiming it was ‘predictable’ that Collingwood would find a player of Phillips’ calibre with pick 58 is just nonsense. Get off the hindsight train and judge the article based on the circumstances at the time.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 11:24am
              Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              James, it is simply stating he got it wrong and as Kris states above Tim wrote the piece as a Blues fan rather than a journalist. It doesn’t mean he is rubbish or Paul that any of his other articles are rubbish. My point is if you’re going to write stuff, don’t think it will be swept under the carpet when you are clearly very wrong, it is fair enough to call it out as such. Nothing wrong with calling out Journos for being wrong. Blimey, Mark Robinson is nearly always wrong and he still has a career!

              • June 19th 2018 @ 3:51pm
                Ian said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                I’m more interested in getting an apology/retraction from the Roar expert who predicted that Melbourne would smash Collingwood on the Queen’s Birthday!

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                Cat said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                You don’t get apologies for predictions. They are predictions not factual statements.

                Prediction: a statement about what you think will happen in the future

            • June 19th 2018 @ 2:10pm
              Kris said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

              And an expert of Lane’s longevity should know better about getting excited about being 4-3 at round 7 of a season on the back of not having a winning season since 2011. One swallow does not a summer make.

              He should also have understood that Collingwood were playing dead in that game because of the midweek Anzac fixture which meant that the Carlton game was their 3rd in 12 games. They were an easy kill.

              Lane would also perhaps have noted that Collingwood might not have been getting wins, but on the other hand had only one +4 goal loss in their previous 15 games. So were perhaps not as destined for the scrap heap as he predicted.

              And the previous 18 months included a 1-10 end to the 2016 season. He was basing his call on a 15 point win over Essendon, a 19 point win over Sydney and a 23 point win over Collingwood. That is hardly a great body of work to justify any of his predictions.

      • June 20th 2018 @ 4:12pm
        Fat Toad said | June 20th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

        The reason people get described as experts is that they are supposed to have greater insight that the everyday fan. The problem with Tim Lane’s comment was that it seemed to be focussed on the scores rather than the potential for improvement.

        From my watching of Carlton, I could not see where their improvement was going to originate. Years of list mismanagement can not be overcome so easily or quickly. In contrast, Collingwood showed potential for improvement; balls needed to be delivered into the forward line in a way that gave their forwards a chance and they needed a player in the half back line capable of breaking the lines that is someone fast and prepared to run.

        I suppose that in support of Tim Lane, you might argue that the problem was Buckley and the solution was Bolton, but after his time in the media, most experts who had worked with Buckley agreed that Buckley’s insights into the game and his analysis were excellent. Bolton never seems to have had the same level of analysis and now his initial improvement after Malthouse looks more like a dead cat bounce than an upward trend.

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 7:58am
      Paul Dawson said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      I must say Cam, you of all people writing on Carlton should have all the sincerity of a vulture explaining how the dying body in front of them came to be there, but it’s a balanced and almost sympathetic piece, and I really, really like your conclusions, based on economic and human factors. Compelling, and given we’re always looking on the outside, it seems as accurate an explanation for the real thing as we’re likely to get on what went wrong.

      Anyone remember Bolton’s first baptism of fire in the AFL, when Clarko had Guilleame-Barr syndrome and was off 5 weeks? He went 5-0 with the Hawks – but I well remember the headline “Bolton almost crashes Clarko’s rolls-royce” when the Hawks very very nearly lost to 2014 GWS in his first game out. Maybe he’s not that good. He does seem to have a bit of the Leppitsch to him in that the process seems more important than the results, which ultimately I don’t think is a great attitude for a coach to be instilling in his players – not at professional level at least.

      I put it to you Carlton are in their position because of greed. Greed for a premiership. They tried to fast-track it by going downwards to go up faster in the future, but instead have smashed things up to the point where it’s almost impossible to build anything from the rubble

      Meanwhile their rivals at Richmond and Collingwood played the long game and stuck fast with lists of good, not outstanding players, but relied on continuity of effort and long-term growth. It does seem as though this season in particular has killed off rebuilding as a footballing principle for a very long time

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:29am
        Liam said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        Bear in mind though, Paul, that Carlton’s list at the end of 2015 was considered by Champion Data – and, thus, most of punditry – to be the worst ever compiled at AFL level. We couldn’t have done what Richmond and Collingwood have done, because not only was our list one of the oldest, but it was also bereft of talent at the middle and bottom end of the bracket.

        Some of this was due to Malthouse trading away an entire first 22 forward line of players, but certainly Malthouse wouldn’t have been there without greed, so I suppose your criticism is fair enough there.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 9:05am
          Paul Dawson said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

          I don’t really blame Carlton, the rebuild was supposed to be best practice, we’d just seen Roos at Melbourne reassembling what was, at the time, the worst squad since Fitzroy, but the problem is they’ve backed a bit of a loser, subsequent experience has discredited the theory somewhat – or maybe the theory is right, it’s just Carlton didn’t quite have the right ingredients to make it work.

          There is somewhat of a malaise over the club, I know it because I’ve seen it at the Lions and Suns for years. An acceptance of losing, a sort of mental admission that the other sides are just better. It can be rooted out, but you gotta take some drastic action – most importantly, you have got to give players hope, genuine hope and belief that things are getting better.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:01am
            Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            That’s why Paul the club needs to act on Bolton IMO. The players themselves need to approach the new season with a new voice, a new coach, a swag of new free agents to support the quality young players the Blues do have. Bolton is now associated with losses, his words must be going straight through the young players blank stares. The temptation might be to do a Michael Voss and bring in a swag of moneyball type players struggling for a place in their own sides but we all know how that went for Voss. For example, at the Pies the players struggling for a senior place who could well be playing seniors at the Blues this year include Jarryd Blair, Fasolo, Sier, (yet to debut), Wills, Oxley. Are they going to make a long term difference? Probably not. IMO the Blues get Docherty back next year, keep their good young players and land some real quality free agents then they can start to rise and maybe compete by 2020 even. The question is though what really good free agents will want to come to the Blues and endure another couple of years of pain?

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 11:19am
              JamesH said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

              “The players themselves need to approach the new season with a new voice, a new coach, a swag of new free agents to support the quality young players the Blues do have. Bolton is now associated with losses, his words must be going straight through the young players blank stares. The temptation might be to do a Michael Voss and bring in a swag of moneyball type players struggling for a place in their own sides but we all know how that went for Voss.”

              12 months ago you could have replaced ‘Blues’ and ‘Bolton’ with ‘Pies’ and ‘Buckley’ and that statement would have rung true. The Pies were heading down the ladder and they had made some apparently poor recruiting decisions with the likes of Greenwood, Dunn, Aish, Mayne and the ever-injured Wells.

              My point is not to bag Collingwood or Buckley – the turnaround in 2018 is a(nother) clear lesson to everyone that coaches need time to be able to build their side and develop a quality gameplan. But by the same logic you need to give Bolton some breathing space. Carlton were starting from the lowest base imaginable and there was never going to be a quick fix.

              Bucks had 6 years of progressively worse results with a deeper and more experienced list (that had just played back-to-back GFs) before he was able to turn things around. Surely Bolton deserves more time too, given the mess he inherited?

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 11:46am
                Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                JamesH, the big difference is “Greenwood, Dunn, Aish, Mayne and the ever-injured Wells.” were recruited around Sidebottom, Treloar, Pendlebury, Goldsack, Adams, Grundy. They were largely “worth a shot” players. Was thre Mayne deal being four years outrageous? Yes, it should have been 2-3 but Mayne is now in a good side and doing very well. Wells has been a fail but it was worth a shot, he was largely recruited because the club expected to play finals last year. The other main difference you omit is that Buckley’s side generally contended every year. He made Prelim in 2012, finals in 2013, had us in the top 5 halfway through other years too. Even last year we were in contention deep into the year. When players are in contention they have hope and at least Bucks had hope for the players. It is completely different to the situation the Blues were in now and last year and that is why I draw attention to how wrong Lane was.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 12:42pm
                Jon Boy said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                JamesH- i agree with all your points especially given the mess he inherited he needs to see out 2018-19 seasons.Take Ross Lyon apart from some old duds (still got some) he inherited a good (not great) list been slow to get it done but it is not far off. Give Bolton time ! Sacking will not help one iota,

              • June 19th 2018 @ 11:55pm
                Don Freo said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:55pm | ! Report

                Who did he ‘inherit’? Sandi, Ballas and Hill. Good to see you admit Ballas, Johnno and Pearce are good (even though 2 of them are just depth players now). So, that’s 3 he has ‘inherited’. The rest were developed by Ross and his team.

                Walters and Fyfe were taught by Lyon. Harvey didn’t want Fyfe.

                Everyone else have only played under Lyon.

          • Columnist

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:49am
            Cameron Rose said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            Great opening line in your initial post Paul, very funny.

            Carlton probably didn’t have a choice to embark on the path they have, but they’ve probably brought in more list-cloggers than diamonds in the rough when picking the scraps off other clubs.

            Richmond did well with Houli, Grigg, Maric when they were going through a similar phase, but there was also Miller, Farmer, Hislop, Addam Maric, Thomson, Petterd, and probably others. It takes a number of misses to find the hits.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 10:27am
        Aransan said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        You should write more of your own articles Paul.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 8:33am
      Ditto said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      I think Carlton will have a big dip in this years trade period. There’s talk that Mitch McGovern could be moved from Adelaide, ( I want him to stay) if they could get him and Jeremy they would have a solid core of WA talent and perhaps reduce the flight risks. If they were prepared to put pick 1 on the table Adelaide may be prepared to give them their future first round pick, such that they would have something in stock if they thought they could get Josh Kelly in 2019. They’d obviously need a decent amount of cap space.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:55am
        Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        The question is Ditto, will the right players want to come to the Blues? The Blues conservatively must be at least 2 -3 years away from being a finals contender. Will good players such as Gaff and McGovern be prepared to play at the bottom of the ladder for a couple of years minimum? I think the Blues could improve quickly but not sure the players they need will want to come. Look at De Goey for example, would he want to come for the long term vision at the Blues and face the pain of the first couple of years?

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:48am
          Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          The blues got Judd at the end of 2007 with a worse list – there is hope.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:14am
            Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            You don’t have josh Kennedy and pick three this time macca, you have Cripps and not much else to get it done

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 10:20am
              AdelaideDocker said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

              By the end of this year they’ll probably have Cripps and pick 1 😉

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:21am
              Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              That’s right Mattician, we have free agency this time around!!

              Imagine if the blues had picked Judd up as a free agent?

              If it comes to a trade though we also have future picks that we didn’t have last time around and will probably have pick 1 instead of 3. I would give up our next 2 first round picks for Wines.

              The other thing that is different is that going in to the 2007 trade period we had Russell, Murphy, Gibbs and Kennedy as first round picks – this year we have Weitering, McKay, Curnow, Cuningham, SPS, Dow and O’brien

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 10:58am
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                You have restricted free agency macca, totally different, Sloane, gaff, gov etc will end up trades mark my words. Same as Scott lycett, teams only let the RFA they are glad to see gone ie motlop go to compensation pick.
                Nice McKay came out with the fluffy all is well we are going to chase experience but all Australian players aren’t going to be anything but trades with way rules are. Re future picks also won’t happen, teams like wce and Adelaide will want instant return.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 11:12am
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Pick 1 for an Adelaide team would be an instant and long lasting return if Lukosious is as good as they say.

                As for the RFA’s requiring a trade, we will see. Can you force Gaff to re-sign if he chooses the blues? Could he just go to the pre-season draft where the blues will more than likely have pick 1?

              • June 19th 2018 @ 11:19am
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

                If Lukosious is as good as they say pick 1 this year plus a first round pick next year would be pretty attractive to an Adelaide side.

                As for the trades for RFA’s, can you compel Gaff to sign? Can he nominate for the pre-season draft where the blues have first pick? Do you think there might be a Frawley type Compo deal for the Eagles from the AFL to help get the deal done?

                Time will tell.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 11:52am
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

                No you can’t compel him but from what he’s said already said Carlton are so far from what he desires as a player they are lonely.
                What you need to ask yourself is do any of these RFA want to take on the saviour role which they most certainly will have to if they go to the blues.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 12:04pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                It depends on how much work they think they need to do as the “saviour”, how much Gaff rates Dow & Fisher for example, can he see them plus Murphy, E Curnow Cripps & Kreuzer giving him enough support around the ball to make the job doable.

                Also the questions might be – would you be a saviour for $1m? Would you be a saviour for $2m?

                And I am not saying it is a certainty, just an easier sell than they had with Judd and easier pathways to get one.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 12:43pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                Unfortunately any player whether its gaff or in the future shiel go to the blues they will be considered a saviour or missing piece player and the expectations will by ten fold higher than if they went to say collingwood as they’d be just another good player there

              • June 19th 2018 @ 1:04pm
                Jon Boy said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                Unfortunately that is very true Matti, they need to get Two players plus Murphy and Docherty on the park and a bit of luck ,this time next year they could be in a far better place.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 1:06pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                That why they get the big money though!

                I think it would eb appealing to some to come in to be the “saviour” knowing they had Docherty to come back in, Cripps to help them out and Charlie Curnow looking like he could be one of the best players in the comp in a couple of years – and that’s before you get to Murphy or any of the other talented kids.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 1:22pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

                Unlike judd at this point the players possibly available haven’t won a premiership, money does not equal the ultimate and opportunities afforded.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                True, but imagine the opportunities if you got the blues their first premiership in 25 years?

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                Huge what if, more likely they’d concentrate on the what ifs at Carlton already. What if curnow is only avg, what if silvagni has reached potential, what if Cripps leaves, what if kreuzer goes down injured. Carlton are a long way off and have a another few years of turning a list over before finals are even likely, 26 -28 yr olds aren’t going to the blues no matter the cash, north are a way better chance and we all know they haven’t attracted anyone

              • June 19th 2018 @ 2:10pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                They are all huge what if’s, there are no guarantee’s, it is all risk V reward.

                Carlton will pay big money and the reward for winning that long awaited premiership will be massive – that my just be worth the risk to someone if they judge that the risk is minimised by the amount and quality of young talent on the list.

                As for you what if’s –

                What if Curnow is only average – then you have McKay and TDK (impressed in the 2’s on the weekend) and maybe even Kerr on the list, the odds are that one of them will be good enough so I would say low risk.

                What if Silvagni has reached his potential – I don’t think he is as important a player in the considerations as Fisher, DOw, SPS, O’Brien or Weitering so again low risk.

                What if Cripps leaves – it sounds like he will sign until the end of 2021 which gives the blues 3 years to improve enough to keep him – low to medium risk given his importance.

                What if Kreuzer goes down the highest risk of all the questions but the blues do have Phillips and Lobbe who can at least compete in the ruck contests (plus McKay, Casboult and TDK around the 200cm mark who can ruck) and if the trend away from ruckmen continues it may be a lower risk than we think.

                Oh and North aren’t backed by a couple of the richest blokes in the country and will never play in front of 80k plus on the MCG for a home and away match.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 2:25pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Sounds like Carlton have yet to learn a thing then. Money is not the reward players look for and all players up for discussion will make even more at their clubs they are at with the corporate backing each respective club has, I would say both wce and freo could make a very good deal for cripps with mining share opportunity aswell as property development (why Judd came to the blues filthy rich )

              • June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                You do realise I am not Carlton?

                And if the blues truly hadn’t learned anything they would have chased a free agent or big name 2 years ago.

                They have built a solid base of young talent, now they are looking for the cream. They just need a player who can recognise the opportunity.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Your last comment re north is indicative of Carlton, or at least its supporters not realising that they are a non entity and will struggle to attract anyone, Carlton have as much hope as north, saints or wb in attracting rfa, wealthy coteries means zilch as Melbourne have proved.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 3:19pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                When North, the Saints or the Bulldogs play a home and away game in front of 60k you can say they are the same.

                Right now the blues have a massive fans base, get much more media attention than the other clubs you mention, have some exciting young talent (who is St Kilda’s most exciting player under 23), has a training base near where people actually want to live, millions of dollars in the salary cap AND a wealthy coterie.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 3:30pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                And all of that is of zero use when you’re permanent fixture in the bottom four. If you want to play finals then sorry macca the other 3 are a much surer bet for a player.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 3:34pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                And yet we got Judd with a worst list with much less young talent, having won just 28 games in the 6 years before he arrived and finished last 4 of those 6 and 2nd last the other one.

                And really I can’t see St Kilda getting to finals before the blues right now.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 3:41pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

                By then Judd had achieved everything in his playing career and chased financial reward, getting r#oted by wce at the trade table is still the weirdest thing blues fans hang the hat on.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:35am
              Kris said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              Only so many Richard Pratt enviro-ambassador deals in a generation.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 2:13pm
              Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              Judd came to a club under Ratten who had contested semi finals 12 months earlier, had the exciting signings of Gibbs, Murphy, Kreuzer was ready to blossom and new top 20 picks promised so much, Jordan Russell, Shaun Grigg and Shaun Hampson etc This year will be the 5th in a row the Blues have finished 13th or worse and most likely getting their second spoon in four years. The “sell” is a lot harder this time for an Ollie Wines, a Gaff, a De Goey, a McGovern or a Sloane.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 2:16pm
                Stirling Coates said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Carlton finished in the bottom four the year before Judd joined.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 2:36pm
                Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                And as I stated Stirling played semi finals 12 months earlier

              • June 19th 2018 @ 3:00pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                Peter – in 2002 the blues finished last with 3 wins, 2003 it was second last with 4, 2004 we got to 11th with 10 wins, 2005 it was last with 4 wins, 2006 was last with 3 wins and 2007 was last with 4 wins – that is 28 wins in 6 years with 10 coming in 2004.

                Where was this semi-final appearance?

              • June 19th 2018 @ 2:21pm
                Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                Peter – in the 3 seasons before Judd arrived at the blues Carlton had won 11 games. In the 2 1/2 seasons Bolton has been in charge the blues have already won 14.

                After those 3 terrible seasons the blues had Russell, Murphy & Gibbs as first round picks with Kreuzer to come, in the last 3 drafts the blues have taken Weitering, McKay, Curnow, Cuningham, SPS, Dow & O’Brien (plus getting a bargain with Fisher at 27 and Williams at 60 something) and have picked up Marchbank, Pickett, Plowman & Kennedy (plus Lang) as first round picks for other clubs.

                The sell is easier now.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 2:58pm
                Stirling Coates said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                The last time Carlton contested semi-finals before Judd joined was 2001 – I don’t know where you’re getting your stats from but they hadn’t played finals in forever when Judd made the move.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 4:13pm
                Peter the Scribe said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                Apologies Macca and Stirling, my point was meant to be that Ratten was sacked 12 months after steering the Blues to a semi final during Judds Blues career. Don’t get me started on whether Judd had chosen the Pies as he was so good he probably would have got us over the Cats in the 2011 GF.

              • June 20th 2018 @ 4:26pm
                Fat Toad said | June 20th 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                People seem to forget that the Judd did not come to Carlton, but to Victoria. His only desire was to be near his father who had a terminal illness. His arrival at Carlton was determined by the Eagles who would only clear him to a club that was not a finals threat. So effectively, Carlton got Judd not because of their potential or clever recruiting, they got him because the Eagles thought Carlton incompetent. Conversely, the Eagles made it clear that despite Collingwood’s interest because of the quality of their list at the time he would never be cleared to Collingwood.

              • June 20th 2018 @ 4:30pm
                Macca said | June 20th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                Judd is o record saying he chose the blues over Collingwood because the blues were able to articulate their trade plans (ie what they were going to give up), Collingwood told him not to worry about that.

                Given the eagles had no real choice in the matter and risked losing Judd to the blues for nothing I have serious doubts over the validity of your story.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 11:11am
            Dalgety Carrington said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

            How many highly paid jobs are there at that box factory (those that have them come within somewhere of a 40km radius occasionally)?

            • June 19th 2018 @ 11:15am
              Macca said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              I am sure Bruce Mathieson could find him a job doing the vacuuming at a pokies venue!!

      • June 19th 2018 @ 9:17am
        Rippa86 said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        I don’t see us going after either of the McGoverns. Carlton need midfielders and a lot of outside run!

    • June 19th 2018 @ 9:13am
      Leighton said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Pretty kind article there!

      The obvious problems have been done to death and don’t need revisiting. I would like to posit another left of centre theory, more pertaining to why some clubs are in some big holes, with Carlton at the bottom.

      It is that there is not enough high quality league level footballers around. The expansion of the number of AFL teams has occurred at the same time as arguably a decline in the depth of quality at the VFL, SANFL and WAFL. These longer term trends, combined with the explosion in money in the game, have left an impact that presents itself as a few clubs battling. The means by which clubs in the AFL can turn over lists, pay incentives etc are so controlled and standardised (draft and salary cap) that holes are very hard to get out of. Free agency only really serves the interests of the wealthy players and the best performing clubs.

      These AFL dynamics, combined with the Australian rules landscape of the past 20 years has been a contributing factor. Sitting in the stands watching us get flogged by Fremantle on Saturday was depressing, but the reality is, that half our team playing would not get a game at a top 8 side nor should they. When playing lists are only 44 and the talent pool is already a bit shallow, too many players are getting games and don’t deserve it. Yet Carlton have to pay a minimum salary! Its demeaning.

      I don’t have any solutions, but it is a worrying trend, at least for a Carlton member that while supportive of the approach the club is taking, isn’t certain if they can be bothered to turn up each week to see the experiment in action, when more entertaining options such as gardening and cleaning the oven present themselves. Keeping a 7 year old interested is proving tough job as well.

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