David Teague remains adamant he’s the man to lead Carlton forward but has effectively drawn a line through their AFL finals hopes after they slumped to a 19-point loss to Gold Coast.
The Suns were seeking a response to their thumping loss to Melbourne and, after poor goal kicking plagued their first half, shifted into gear to prevail 11.10 (76) to 8.9 (57) at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
The result piles more pressure on Teague, who was left to lament a failure to “execute” and a lack of energy in what had been a must-win game – especially amid the club’s external review into their football department.
“They (the Suns) didn’t come with anything we weren’t expecting – we just didn’t execute at the level that we need to execute at and it’s frustrating,” Teague told reporters.
“Last week we did it, this week we didn’t and that’s where we’re at.
“That’s why we’re not going to be in the finals because we’re not consistent enough with those habits.”
Despite building pressure on his own role amid Carlton’s external review into their football department, Teague, contracted until the end of 2022, backed himself in.
“Absolutely. I’m really confident in myself, in the team we’ve got here and the direction we’re going,” he said.
Teague was adamant he still had faith in Carlton’s playing group.
But he hinted last week’s win over St Kilda had potentially caused his charges to focus on the possibility of playing finals and conceded Carlton had struggled to “execute” when playing as favourites.
“Probably a week ago the players may have thought the finals was out of contention and now it was on their mind, maybe they’ve been thinking about it too much,” he said.
“So, if that was the case each individual would have to look at that closely.
“But as a group we went in with a clear plan and a focus on how to play the game and we weren’t able to execute that.”
The Blues are six points outside the top eight with a poor percentage and two rounds left.
Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay was forced from the field with a right shoulder issue in the final term – but played out the game – while Sam Walsh limped off late.
The Suns dominated early but their poor goal-kicking allowed Carlton to lead at both quarter-time and halftime.
But from there Gold Coast took control, snatching the lead just before three-quarter time then stringing together three consecutive goals in the final term to seal the result.
“It’s just reward for hard work, and having some character,” coach Stuart Dew said.
“I don’t feel a lot of relief (personally) – actually just just proud of the players.”
Dew expected Brandon Ellis’ season to be over after the winger hurt his hamstring in just the second quarter of his comeback from a previous injury.