The AFL has come out and stated the Grand Final may not be in Melbourne. It has been suggested to actually hold it in the states that have so far, supported the game by allowing teams to be ensconced in their states in the form of “hubs”. In that respect, the states have been incredible.
The saddest thing so far, has been that we, as Carlton supporters have not been able to celebrate with the players their wins, especially the one last weekend; and support them when they lose. As we are now sitting in the top eight, supporters are getting just a tad excited about the rest of the season and where we could finish up, in a Grand Final. For me, I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to see Carlton in a Grand Final, just not this year. Here’s why.
I really believe that the team needs to experience the game’s pressures just a bit more. They need to foster the development of their younger players to give the team depth. No team can win the ultimate prize of the Premiership trophy if they do not have depth in their playing group. To be able to slot in a player if one player goes down, is imperative if a club is striving for success. No club must rely solely on those that are deemed the “stars” of the team.
For example, when Kreuzer went down, everyone held their breaths. We knew that Tom De Koning was just not ready yet and we needed another big man to take control of the ruck. We picked up Marc Pittonet, who is growing as a dynamic ruckman, gaining experience and footy smarts, with every game he is playing. He is a revelation in the ruck and has shown his abilities not only in that position, but around the ground. With De Koning, every training that he is involved in, given his age and his physique, he will only gain more strength and more ability as the days go by. What we have now is depth in our ruck.
To become a team of power, we need depth. We are slowly developing our playing group and the addition of news players, rookies, we are gaining more and more depth.
The fact that for the game against the Bulldogs, it was not our stars that led the way, but those that were not considered to be “stars” and who are now proving what patience and diligence can bring. There is: Depth.
If you look at our older players and more specifically, Kade Simpson and Levi Casboult. To suggest that Simmo will retire at the end of this season, is laughable. When you saw him flying through the air to save a goal kicked by the Bulldogs, you just had a sense that he is not going anywhere just yet. Then you have a player, who personally, I have always believed in, yet covered my eyes when he went to kick for a goal; re-emerge as a player that is pushing for All Australian selection – Levi Casboult.
Casboult has always had one of the best grabs in the AFL. His ability to mark the ball, anywhere around the ground is exceptional. His kicking has become honed, skilled and his knowledge of what to do and where to be, has placed him in the forefront for Carlton. I for one, am rapt that he is proving how good of a player he really is.
When you look at the team we have now, and those that are still to be played, we are growing our depth, but we still need to allow those players who have yet to play senior AFL, time to experience and grow in the game to give Carlton time to become great again.
This is one reason why I do not want to be in the Grand Final this year. It will not allow the team to become a great team. I do not want, as I have said before, to be the Bulldogs of the AFL, I want to be the Hawthorns, the Richmonds – the team that wins not just once, but multiple times. To do this we need time. Time to develop, grow and mature not only in the player’s development, but game experience and knowledge.
The second reason why I do not want to be in a Grand Final, is purely selfish. I will be gutted, distraught, devastated that if we make it to the Grand Final this year, I may not be able to attend.
If the GF was to be played outside of Victoria and we could not go, I will be heartbroken. We have waited so long for our club to be successful and there are those who have traveled around the country to attend the games, support the players and for us not to be a part of what we have all wished for, will be devastating. I want to be a part of the lead-up, the excitement of getting ready to attend a much-long waited GF!
I want to see Carlton on top. I want to see them win a Grand Final, just not this year, unless we can be there to celebrate.
But more importantly I want Carlton to become the club that everyone fears before each match, not just for one year, but for many years. To do that, we need to make sure that the team as a collective, gain more match-day experience together and become more and more hungrier to win, then we will see every game as we saw against the Bulldogs. Four quarters of sheer and utter brilliance and joy.
That is what I want!