Carlton are looking for the reasons they’re not running out games and are being steamrolled by opposition teams after losing yet another winnable game, this time to the bottom-placed Crows.
On Monday morning Carlton fans found out with the entire footy world that Sydney’s Tom Papley, who requested a trade to Ikon Park during October’s trade period last year, is content in the Harbour City and will not be seeking a trade home to Victoria again.
This is a blow to the Blues, who were aiming to secure a small forward. Papley would have been a good fit to complement Michael Gibbons and Jack Martin along with the tall timber of Mitch McGovern and Harry McKay in 2021.
Problems in the midfield continue for the Blues, with captain Patrick Cripps not getting the support through the middle he would like. It’s taking an insurmountable toll on his body, and he’d be looking forward to a long break at the conclusion of the game against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.
Carlton may have only slightly improved on last year by playing a bit more of an exciting brand of football in only a handful of games this season, but the gaping holes in the side continue to prove fatal as they search for their first finals berth since 2013.
Carlton will now look at a big-bodied midfielder who can give Cripps a chop-out – someone who is ruthless and can get the best out of a side when the chips are down. The Giants will most likely be the place the Blues look for it, as GWS have suffered a drop in form after making the grand final last year – they’ve been way off the mark this season and will most likely miss finals.
Expect them to look at restricted free agent Zac Williams as their first target. It depends on how much the Giants would like to pay him to remain at the club – Carlton have plenty of room in the salary cap to play with.
The Blues should also ask the question of Josh Kelly, who is out of favour at the Giants, and a smoky is Stephen Coniglio, who despite signing a lucrative seven-year deal was dropped in a crucial game against the Demons on Saturday night.
Richmond premiership star Jack Graham is also being touted as a required player at the Blues, with reports suggesting he’ll be offered a four-year deal to head to Royal Parade in 2021. Former Hawthorn premiership hero Jordan Lewis said on radio and TV over the last few days former teammate Isaac Smith could be a great fit for the team, with the three-time premiership player likely to be told by Hawthorn he isn’t required beyond this season.
It’d be a good idea to pick up Smith in the mould of Luke Hodge, who found success at the Lions, bringing them up from whipping-boys status to premiership contenders in the last two seasons. Smith could similarly be an amazing mentor for the young kids at the club and also bring a winning culture with him, which the Blues definitely need.
Expectations are finals or bust next year for David Teague’s men, and they need to get this trade period almost perfect after a few hiccups over the last few years under former list boss Stephen Silvagni.
It’s up to Mick Agresta and the list management team to get it to as close to perfect as possible so that the Blues can finally play finals and get out of the dark place they’ve been dwelling in for the last two decades.