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The five players your team can least afford to lose: Carlton Blues

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Roar Guru
15th September, 2021
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The Carlton Blues finished 13th on the ladder in 2021. They had eight wins and 14 losses.

The Blues lost the last three games of season 2021, as they had plenty of injuries throughout the year; only four players played all 22 games. They were Sam Walsh, Ed Curnow, Adam Saad and Jacob Weitering.

It was a tough season for the Blues on and off the field. They conceded 100 points or more on nine occasions, despite the fact they had three players in the AFL All Australian squad. Those players were Jacob Weitering, Sam Walsh and Harry McKay, with Weitering the only one missing out on the final 22 chosen in the team.

To be eligible for selection, it’s essential that each player selected featured in at least five games in 2021. Here are the five players and an honourable mention selected, which the Blues could least afford to lose based on their performances.

Honourable mention: Matthew Kennedy
Kennedy was a revelation for the Blues in season 2021. He may have only featured in 12 games, but he averaged the third most contested possessions of any Blues player with an average of 7.67 per game.

Remarkably, he averaged the fourth most uncontested possessions per game of any Blues player with an average of 12.08 per game. He averaged the second most tackles of any Blues player, with 4.50 tackles per game, which shows he worked hard defensively.

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5. Liam Jones
Jones averaged the most intercepts of any Blues player on average and the fifth most intercepts on average of any player on the competition with an average 8.42 intercepts per game. He featured in 19 of 22 games.

He had the second most contested marks on average of any Blues player with an average of 1.68 per game. Jones featured in all of the Blues’ eight wins in season 2021. Those three games he missed were in Round 17, Round 22 and Round 23 against the Cats, Power and the Giants. They lost those three games by an average of 45 points without him in the team.

4. Patrick Cripps
Cripps featured in 20 of 22 games in season 2021 for the Blues. He averaged the most contested possessions of any Blues player with an average of 12.3. He also averaged the most clearances of any Blues player with an average of 5.3 per game.

Even though he didn’t play to the level he’s capable of, which was partly due to injury, he had an impact as other teams endeavoured to negate his influence on the game.

(L-R) Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow of the Blues celebrate

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

3. Jacob Weitering
Weitering was a member of the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in 2021. He averaged the second most intercepts of any Blues player and the sixth most of any player in the competition with an average of 8.32 intercepts per game. His disposal efficiency was a respectable 79.52 per cent. He has been touted by some as the Blues next captain.

2. Sam Walsh
Walsh was named on the wing in the AFL All Australian team in 2021. He averaged the most disposals of any Blues player with an average of 29.82 per game, which also happened to be the ninth highest in the AFL. He had the second most contested possessions of any Blues player on average, with 11.45 per game.

He also worked hard defensively, averaging the most tackles of any Carlton player with 4.55 tackles per game. It says it all, as he worked hard and kept his feet on the ground and last but not least, he was durable, as he played every game in season 2021.

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1. Harry McKay
McKay played 19 games, but still won the Coleman Medal in season 2021 and was named at full forward in the AFL All Australian team. They lost the three games that he didn’t feature in by an average margin of 49.33 points per game, which indicated that he was a bit of a barometer for the team.

In Round 12, he suffered concussion and had just one possession, where he was subbed off and the Blues lost to the Eagles by 22 points. He kicked 58 goals in 19 games, which was four more than any other player in the competition.

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