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Opinion

Carlton’s decade of draft disaster

jurkovskypa new author
Roar Rookie
1st May, 2021
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jurkovskypa new author
Roar Rookie
1st May, 2021
35
1130 Reads

It’s a tough gig being a Carlton supporter.

Another off-season teasing hope and aspirations that a corner will be turned, and another 0-2 start to the year.

With the development of young stars and the inclusion of multiple key signings over the trade and free agent period, Carlton fans had every right to be optimistic leading into the 2021 season. However, from what we have seen in the opening two rounds, it looks like the same old Carlton.

It’s perplexing how a team loaded with first-round draft picks and an abundance of top-end talent can continue to perform well below expectations. But perhaps the problem lies much deeper.

Looking at Carlton’s draft period from 2009 to 2014, it is clear why the club has suffered throughout the past decade.

From the 2009 to 2014 drafts, Patrick Cripps is the only player who remains on the Carlton list. That is six drafts with only one player to show for it. That is inexcusable from a list development perspective.

Patrick Cripps of the Blues avoids a tackle by Brayden Maynard of the Magpies

Patrick Cripps is the sole survivor from Carlton’s 2009 to 2014 drafts. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Players selected during these drafts should be making up the middle bracket of Carlton’s current list. The Blues have generational young talent and a good mix of veterans.

However the club has been severely lacking consistent players within the 24-28 age group. For a team to succeed, you need talent across all age brackets.

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Carlton’s incompetence to find talent through the draft has caught up to them. Players selected during those periods should be bridging the gap between their youngsters and their veterans, yet a gaping hole has been left with Cripps the sole survivor.

Here is a breakdown of Carlton’s draft selections from 2009 to 2014.

Blues fans, look away now.

2009 draft 
Pick 12: Kane Lucas – 42 games (delisted in 2014)
Pick 43: Marcus Davies – 17 games (delisted in 2013)
Pick 59: Rohan Kerr – 0 games (delisted 2012)

2010 draft 
Pick 18: Matthew Watson – 23 games (delisted in 2015)
Pick 34: Patrick McCarthy – one game (delisted in 2013)
Pick 43: Luke Mitchell – one game (delisted in 2013)
Pick 67: Andrew McInnes – 17 games (delisted in 2014)
Pick 70: Nick Duigan – 43 games (retired in 2013)

2011 draft 
Pick 22: Josh Bootsma – 14 games (contract terminated in 2014)
Pick 44: Sam Rowe – 99 games (delisted in 2018)
Pick 62: Dylan Buckley – 39 games (delisted in 2017)

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2012 draft 
Pick 11: Troy Menzel – 40 games (delisted in 2015)
Pick 35: Tom Temay – 0 games (delisted in 2014)
Pick 54: Nick Graham – 48 games (delisted in 2018)

2013 draft 
Pick 13: Patrick Cripps – 120 games (still active)
Pick 39: Cameron Giles – no games (delisted in 2015)
Pick 51: Nick Holman – nine games (delisted in 2015)

2014 draft 
Pick 19: Blaine Boekhorst – 25 games (delisted in 2017)
Pick 28: Dillon Viojo-Rainbow – no games (delisted in 2016)
Pick 60: Clem Smith – seven games (delisted in 2016)
Pick 63: Jayden Foster – no games (delisted in 2016)

Excluding Patrick Cripps, Carlton’s 17 other national draft selections have played a combined total of 425 games. Brent Harvey played seven more games than 17 of their 18 draft selections combined between 2009 and 2014.

The average total of games played by those 17 players is 25.

This is where the current problem lies. There is no middle-range talent within their list that the club directly drafted themselves.

Players selected in the above drafts should be pushing towards 150 games and becoming the club’s next batch of solid veterans. Instead, only two players made it past 50 games: Sam Rowe and Patrick Cripps.

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For comparison, if you look at Richmond’s draft selections during the same period, the Tigers have eight players still remaining on their current list. All have played in a premiership side for Richmond.

The Tigers celebrate with the premiership cup after winning the 2020 AFL Grand Final

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Those players are Dustin Martin (245 games), Nick Vlastuin (161), David Astbury (138), Kane Lambert (115), Kamdyn McIntosh (108), Jason Castagna (97), Jayden Short (92) and Ivan Soldo (34).

In total, 990 games.

That is 990 games compared to Carlton’s 120.

Whether it was a lack of talent, scouting oversight or poor development, this cataclysmic period of drafting may have set the club back five years.

Until the current rookies and youth develop past 100 games, Carlton could still be a few years off pushing for a finals berth.