Who are the Blues players that should play to their optimum level in season 2021?
To be eligible for selection, a player must have played at least five games in season 2020, so there can be a reference point as far as those players who apply their talent the best at AFL level.
Here are the ten players (plus an honourable mention) who will stand out from the pack in season 2021 in terms of performing to their optimum level.
Sam Petrevski-Seton has so much potential and would be more suited to playing on a wing than on a halfback flank. His form in season 2020 was patchy, despite only missing one game.
He should get the opportunity to spend time on a wing, but he needs to show more endeavour; he averaged the tenth most disposals of any Carlton Blues players in season 2020 – that’s not adequate for a player of his ability.
Despite that, he had the third highest average disposal efficiency of any Carlton Blues player in season 2020 with 74.19 per cent.
10. Ed Curnow
Curnow is coming towards the twilight of his career, despite the fact that he averaged the third most disposals of any Blues players in season 2020. That’s impressive for a player who’s suited to play a negating role.
It didn’t mean much though, as he averaged the 22nd highest disposal efficiency with 58.13 per cent. He needs to improve on that, because he is on the periphery of the Blues best 22.
9. Levi Casboult
Casboult kicked 16 goals in 17 games in season 2020. He will want to improve on that to warrant being selected ahead of the likes of Mitch McGovern and with Charlie Curnow a chance to return from injury.
Despite that, Casboult never shirks a contest and will continue to play his role for the team.
8. Marc Murphy
Marc Murphy is a player that is past the prime of his career, but warrants selection in the Blues best 22.
He played in all 17 matches in season 2020 and averaged the fifth most disposals. Expect him to play on the wing; the role should suit his style of play and temperament and take the pressure off him.
7. Patrick Cripps
Cripps is a player that has too much hype surrounding him. There’s no doubt that he has potential, but can he live up to it?
He failed to get into the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in season 2020, which given how highly he’s regarded by the experts, would have been a shock.
Despite averaging the second most disposals of any Blues player in season 2020, his disposal efficiency was 13th at 67.38 per cent. He needs to be better than that in season 2021.
He does endure a lot of opposition attention, so he is an asset to the team, but he needs to improve to reach his potential in season 2021.
6. Jacob Weitering
Weitering was the only Blues player that was selected in the All Australian squad in season 2020. There’s no doubt that he has the talent to be renowned as Carlton’s best player given his consistency in season 2020.
The question is: can he keep it up?
What would be pleasing is that he had the fourth highest disposal efficiency of any Blues player in season 2020 with 72.88 per cent. The only concern is perhaps he has too much to do, as he doesn’t have a capable key defender to help him out.
He is a player that should be pushing for All Australian selection in season 2021, but he needs assistance to play at his optimum level.
5. Sam Docherty
Docherty is co-captain of the Blues for a reason; he leads by example.
He averaged the second highest disposal efficiency of any player in the team in season 2020 with 76.21 per cent. My only concern is whether his body holds up, in terms of getting injured. It’s obvious he is another Blues player past his best, but try telling him that!
He won’t listen and will need to be at his best if the Blues are to feature in the finals in season 2021.
4. Harry McKay
McKay kicked the most goals of any Blues player in season 2020 with 21 in 13 games. He will benefit from Charlie Curnow possibly coming back into the team.
It’s not only McKay’s goals that were impressive in season 2020, but he also proved to be an important part of their structure.
He’s a player that should be in the prime of his career in season 2021 and will need to perform at an optimum level for the Blues to taste any success!
3. Zac Williams
Williams averaged the seventh most disposals of any Greater Western Sydney Giant in season 2020, with an average of 16.91 disposals in 11 games. He did that playing in defence.
Expect him to benefit from being traded to the Blues, as he will be given plenty of midfield time and prove why he is capable of being renowned as a quality player if he can perform to his optimum level.
2. Sam Walsh
Sam Walsh averaged the most disposals of any Blues player in season 2020. He even had more disposals than Patrick Cripps!
On top of that, Walsh won the mark of the year in 2020, with a brave mark that epitomises the manner in which he plays and the endeavour that he has. He never shirks a contest and should be pushing for All Australian selection in season 2021 if he can perform to the level he is capable of.
1. Adam Saad
Saad may prove to be a good recruit for the Blues.
He is a player that they had to bring to the club, given the retirement of Kade Simpson. The fact that Saad finished third in the Bombers best and fairest in season 2020, shows what he is capable of achieving at the Blues in season 2021.
He averaged the fifth most disposals at the Bombers in 2020, despite playing in defence. He never shirks a contest and always endeavours to perform at his best.
Expect season 2021 to substantiate that.