Collingwood forward Dan McStay is set to miss the entire 2024 season with the club confirming he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)…
Not a month ago Carlton was in the disaster zone, heading for the bottom four yet again after going without a loss in the first four games of the year.
People were calling for coach Michael Voss’s head, and the president’s departure as well, as the club was in a dire position and looked well out of contention.
The Carlton of old would have just stagnated in the bottom four and not put in any effort for the rest of the year, aiming to finish as close to the bottom as possible. Aiming to get the best draft picks, settle for a bottom four finish and sacked another coach and started another rebuild.
But as habit has shown, that method has barely worked. The club had a culture of accepting second best and as a result it stayed on the bottom for years on end.
But the way to improve is to actually see how many games you can win and finish as high as you can on the ladder and show how many years you can be in finals contention. After winning three games in a row, coming back from Perth with a 53-point win, it is clear that Carlton are beginning to believe again.
The Blues’ third win in a row breathes new hope into the club. A month ago they were coming off eight losses from nine games and sitting in the bottom four. Now, with three wins in a row they sit 11th, only a game out of the eight.
They have played like a true team the last three weeks, putting sides away comfortably by playing an attacking brand of footy. They have stuck thick with Michael Voss when many called for his head. Now the club is certainly looking towards a brighter future and a strong finish to the season, where remarkably, they have risen from the grave to still be in finals contention.
Everyone was worried when Club President Luke Sayers came out and said two months ago he was not happy with where the club was at, but wasn’t thinking of sacking Michael Voss. But the last three weeks have shown that this risk might well pay off and that is why you need to stick united through hard times.
Over the last three weeks, they have shown much more promise. They’ve risked losing in order to win. They have realised that a defensive, chipping back game style isn’t going to win you games of football. Charlie Curnow has been one of the most valuable forwards in the competition and Harry McKay is improving his kicking in front of goals.
With Port Adelaide to come it will be a real test for the Blues to see if they can maintain this positive form. If they can somehow end Port’s winning run, the hardest teams they face are Collingwood and Melbourne. There’s no reason why they can’t compete with all these teams and cause an upset or two. By also defeating the likes of West Coast, St Kilda, Gold Coast and GWS, Carlton might have a push for a finals finish after all.
One thing is for sure – even if the Blues still do not make finals, they need to now finish the season strongly, to strive for 10 wins as minimum and carry plenty of momentum into next year in order to push for a finals contention again.
There is no doubt the last three weeks has revitalised the club massively. They can no doubt finish the season on a high and become a big destination club.
With wins over bottom sides, it has allowed the club to gain confidence back, develop a better game style that is working better and as they can beat these bottom sides so convincingly, it seems they are not far away from taking it up to top eight sides again.
The future is bright at Ikon Park, as long as Voss can keep up this positive game style and develop Carlton into winning habits. The best thing they can do is see how high they can finish this year and take it up to as many teams as they can, including the top eight sides they face in the last six weeks. Keep getting games into young kids, plus keep some key players at the club including Jack Silvagni who tries his heart out every week.
It is no doubt a rejuvenated club at Carlton, they must stick together now and see the plan through. No doubt they are about to turn a corner in the next few years and the best part of the last three weeks has been their showing they are not willing to lie down and accept a bottom four finish.
They’ve developed a game style that will no doubt see them win plenty more games and gain a winning culture as the club begins to spread its wings and fly again. They must strive to improve as much as they can in the next few years, keep contending for the finals and be confident in themselves to become a force again. One thing is for sure, the reading about this club now compared to a month ago is 10 times more positive and promising.