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Carlton say they don’t want a priority draft pick, but so dire is their predicament, the AFL should go ahead and give them one anyway.
So says Denis Pagan, at least.
Pagan knows all too well the sort of pain the last-placed Blues are in having been the coach when the league imposed huge salary cap breach penalties that the club still hasn’t recovered from in his opinion.
Stripped of early draft picks and fined nearly $1 million, Carlton didn’t finish higher than 11th from 2003 to 2007, when Pagan was sacked after round 16.
The Blues have made finals appearances since, but are anchored at the bottom of the ladder approaching the end of the third season of Brendon Bolton’s extensive list rebuild.
Pagan thinks Carlton are five or six years away from climbing out of the mire and should take any help they can get.
“I can understand Carlton not asking (for a pick) – you don’t want to be seen as a sook or whingers – but the AFL have got to intervene,” Pagan told SEN.
“They intervene when they need to or want to and they should intervene there and say, ‘We’re going to give you a pick’. I don’t think anyone else would begrudge it.
“I just think Carlton’s penalties have had a far greater effect than anyone would have perceived.
“… those penalties were really draconian.”
The Blues and Bolton came in for stinging criticism after the weekend’s heavy loss to fellow strugglers Brisbane, consigned them to a 1-14 record – the worst in the club’s history.
The 65-point drubbing at the Gabba has left the club two games adrift at the bottom of ladder and headed for the wooden spoon.
Despite the apparent lack of progress, Pagan said it is imperative the club stays unified behind Bolton.
“I feel sorry for Brendon Bolton – it’s a battle he can’t win at the moment,” he said.
“I see him in press conferences and I think ‘Poor bloke, having to come up and face that when the reality is he’s losing players left, right and centre’.
“… I’ve seen coaches at Carlton get blamed for what’s happening and it’s a much bigger picture than that. Everyone involved at the club has got to take some responsibility.
“I’ve never seen any coach make strawberry jam out of cow manure.”