This weekend has been a catalyst moment not only for Carlton but for the AFL as well. The issue of the stadiums monitoring fan behavior took front and center of the AFL world with the proliferation of not only fan discontent but with commentators and the media pulling up the AFL and stadiums about this.
On Sunday on SEN the General Manager of Marvel Stadium came out and stated that maybe they had gone too far with regards to the policing of fans. Gerard Whateley on SEN on Monday came out and stated that the fans were right, the stadiums have gone too far and that even though there was no official directive from the AFL, fans are not so sure. There are not many times when I agree with Whateley but when he stated that the AFL is probably not being open with the fans and have lost their connection with the fans, I agree completely with this. The AFL as an organization has lost touch with the fans and what they want. As stated in a previous article, we are the major stakeholders of the game, not the corporates, the TV rights, the commercialization of the game – WE ARE! Without us, there is no game, no AFL, nothing. The AFL stating that they have their finger on the pulse of what fans want is rubbish. They don’t. Maybe this weekend will show the AFL power-brokers that it is time to listen to these major stakeholders more than they say they do.
With regards to the game against the Bulldogs, it was a fantastic game even though we didn’t get the result we wanted. In the end, it was the fact that for most of the game, we just weren’t competitive enough. Hitting social media, it is incredulous that there are some who come out and state which players in their mind should go. That players such as SPS, McKay, Silvagni, Murph, Dow to name a few are not AFL standard and should go.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine who stated that the mistakes the boys made during the first half were because of a directive from the coaches. I told him; I don’t agree. The reason is that look at the age group and the experience of the players compared to other teams. Look at how players of a certain age group have not gained enough senior experience to make logical and practical decisions with regards to what to do on the field. So, I did a little experiment.
I did a player stats spreadsheet comparing our team to a team that is already peaking – Geelong. I didn’t want to compare Carlton to say GWS or Richmond or even WCE, but to a team that is on top of the ladder and is Premiership favorite as that is where we want to be.
For the first statistic, the average number of senior games that Carlton’s list has played, including Rookies, is 61.21, for Geelong, it is 77. That means, on the whole, Geelong’s list has 15.71 more senior games under their belt compared to Carlton. If we break it down, even more, the number of players who have played more than 60 games at Carlton is 13 at Geelong it is 17. For more than 80 games it is 12 games at Carlton, compared to 15 at Geelong. For those players over 100 games, it is 15 at Geelong and 9 at Carlton. When you look at these figures, you can see that our lack of practical efficiency in our game is not because of lack of skills, it is because of inexperience. Geelong has 6 more players with more than 100 senior games under their belt – 6 more! This is a huge difference because this lack of experience is what is letting the team down. But not to the point of being dismal.
The issue for some ‘supporters’ is that Carlton is a laughing joke with having given away their number one draft pick. We don’t need nor require a player with no senior AFL experience, we need experience. We need players who have played at a senior level to boost not only our stocks with regards to depth but on the field. To give the younger player who has less than 100 games under their belt, a chance to develop and gain more experience. We need those extra 6 players with experience and to do that we have to allow those players who have less than 60 game experience, to develop, grow and make mistakes. We need to allow those players who have less than 50 games under their belt, which is 20 at Carlton compared to 18 at Geelong more time. Because at Geelong, they have 6 more players with over 100 game experience.
The game against the Bulldogs was an incredible game to watch and one that shows that given the right circumstances with regards to the coaches, star players become star players and determination from the less experienced players can get a team over the line. While we didn’t win this time, given our lack of senior experience and now that we have a game plan that allows players to play their game, in time we will become the Geelong of the game. Give the boys time. Allow them to make the mistakes they are making, because given the players’ stats compared to Geelong, we are not that far off and we don’t need the first draft pick, we need experience, senior game experience.
We have the young talented players in our team, give them time to develop. It does take time and we have the base, we just need to build on that.
Enjoy your week off Boys!