It has been a while since I have posted or written anything about the footy for some time because I was away travelling, spending time with one of my sons who lives in England. No amount of footy could ever equal the feeling I got after not seeing him since the pandemic, and it was so well worth it.
My first match back was the one against Fremantle, as jet lag took a big hold at the Richmond game. For the match against Freo, I was fortunate enough to watch the game at the President’s Lunch at Marvel and given the location of the seats, I could see the entire field as I usually sit on the lower level.
Before I go on about the game, I want to say that I have in the past, that I have spouted the need for a team, any team, no matter what type of sport it is, must have depth in their playing group. It must understand that the “stars” of a team should not and must not carry the said team. That if one or more go down, there will be others who may not be as outstanding as the “stars” are, but their heart and their ability and trust from the playing group and coaches will enable them to plug that hole that others have left because they are out injured. If you do not have that, you will never be a success. It may work for a while, but long term, it will only show the gaps in your squad and the reliance on a few to carry the many. The game on Saturday afternoon proved the point that I have made, even if they all gave us a scare in the first quarter.
I don’t like to name players specifically because this is a team sport, and it must be the team that garnishes the results. Sure, some stood out, and we all know who they are, but for me, those who have put their all into the game without the fanfare showing why they are an essential part of the depth this club now has.
Gerard Wheatley said on SEN about the game, “WOW. WOW. WOW.” That he wanted to be wherever Carlton was playing. The sheer domination from the team from midway through the second quarter never let up, and it wasn’t just the “stars” that ensured this pressure; every player never gave up any time from then on. The sheer speed in which the ball went from the superb midfielders and backline stopping a sure Freo goal to our forward line was electric to witness. The speed in which players from all positions came and assisted when required showed a level of not only skill but footy knowledge that we have not seen for a long time. The game showed a level of maturity of the game itself that, while was missing when we played Richmond, was demonstrated in spades in this game.
For me, it means we are sitting with ten wins and four losses so far, but with every failure we have had, it has become a learning experience for a group of players who show not only heart but a culture that it is not them that will make the difference, but the team. This mentality was forefront on Saturday, and after the final siren, I sang my heart out because exceptional game playing got us to the thirty-one-point win.
We played against a team where a very one-sided, biased and blinded man (Ross Lyon) stated how Fremantle would destroy Carlton and its depleted back line. It is where we played against a team that, for many commentators, were prime Premiership contenders, and while they may still be, no one countered on a club that, for the most part, no one gave any hope of beating this top-four team, shows that they know little about the game itself or about the damned tenacity of a team that is getting better and better with each game, win or lose.
There are not many games left in the season, and I have always believed that it is those teams that, with every game before the bye, gain experience, learn from mistakes and come out with a renewed sense of urgency and willingness to play as a team, will ultimately succeed, after the bye. It is that team that understands that the homestretch is not far and the possibilities are there for the taking; we just have to do that.
Gerard Wheatley said on SEN that if asked whether Carlton could win the Premiership, his reply was “Hell Yeah!” Given the way the team played on Saturday shows that we are slowly but surely making our way to that ultimate pinnacle. That with every game from now on, we have to play as we did from mid-way through the second quarter. We do that, and the rewards are endless. We have mountains to climb before we get there, but with any climb, it will be the team that will encourage, urge and support each other, and it will be the team, the depth of the team, that will allow us to get there.