As a precursor, let me be frank about this. This is my view, my opinion and my outlook. I don’t expect some to agree and that is their right. However, I do expect that my view and opinion is respected even if it does differ from some, as that is their right, as I would respect others right to have a differing view.
I refrained from writing about the game against North Melbourne as I felt that even though we won, it was not a great game and therefore warranted nothing much more to say than had already been said and written. For this game against Hawthorn, while angry during the game, I have mulled it over, thought about it and even though I am upset that we lost, I am at peace with this loss and I’ll tell you why.
I really did not expect to win this match. We were up against a team that for the most part in the past few years has been a dynamic force in the AFL landscape. They had lost their last four games in ways that were not really reminiscent of the club they once were and I knew that they would come out fighting.
In the first quarter, for the first half, I thought wow, Carlton are going to blitz them. Then after the break, I knew we were going to lose. We had no real structure and could not come to grips with the way Hawthorn were now playing. How defensive they had become and how quick they were around the ground. This left us dumb founded as to what to do. Here was I yelling at the TV to the players to tackle, mark, chase down – do something. But then I quickly realized, they really didn’t know what to do, and this is where I understood and made peace with the outcome.
We are a team that has not had stability and a culture of playing in a way that allows freedom of movement, playing by instinct and just taking the game on. We have seen the re-emergence of some players such as Casboult, Weiters, Mckay, and Docherty who, and understand this, has only played eight games now in the past two years. We admonish that players such as Setterfield, Plowman and Cunningham should be dropped when only a few matches ago we were praising them.
The mistakes and there were some doozies, made by Crippa, Murphy all point to one thing, we were spooked and spooked by a club and a coach that has impeccable ability in coaching and coaching for the same club for quite some time. Teague has only been in the job for eight games. I’m not including the times last year when he took over, because he was given that team and it was not one, he designed. So, in that respect he has only coached for eight games.
I never expected Carlton to be in contention for the top eight this year. I expected Carlton to be in the top half of the bottom eight. I believed and still do, that the team needs to garnish more time and experience playing under Teague and playing as a team that plays consistently for four quarters. To come out firing the way they did against Hawthorn and not expect to have them fire back, was for them a mistake. To play the way they did at the start, for four quarters in that intensity was a mistake.
Given the situation we are facing today, 2020 is a prime opportunity to allow clubs, such as Carlton to grow and nurture not only its playing group but its culture of and develop an in-grain need to win all the time. To be able to play with consistent intensity all four quarters knowing that there will be teams who will come back at us with the same intensity, we need to know how to deal with that physically and mentally. This takes time, and one which I am quite happy to accept in 2020.
In the season, in which ever way it transpires, of 2021, Carlton will be a better, stronger and mentally agile team. We will be in contention for the top eight for we would have experienced the might highs and the demoralizing lows of this season and as a collective, with no instability in our administration both and on and off the field, we will be better equipped at facing whatever is thrown at us.
We were all disappointed from the game against Hawthorn, but our expectations must not be ones that the team just cannot reach, yet.
As I said, this is my view, my opinion and you are free to think otherwise.