Without a doubt, we are all disappointed that the team did not follow up on their gritty performance from last week. We all knew and should have known that Geelong, a top-four team, was always going to put us under pressure, and they did just that. They played the game their way by slowing it down and not allowing us to play the game faster, which they find challenging to do.
Our lack of experience to overcome this showed, plus our inability to score goals. Again, I am not going to single out players or even coaches, either good, bad or indifferent, as that is not the point of my blog. Again, others do that.
The point of this particular post is simply a case of the one thing that Ash Barty said when she was interviewed after her magnificent and just deserved win at Wimbledon. She said that she just kept “chipping away” to get to her eventual success. I read an article in the newspaper about Ash Barty’s success and how one of her coaches, her mindset coach, Ben Crowe, has played an immense part in how she sees herself in her sport and what she wants to achieve. It was inspirational and should and must be the same for the Carlton FC. Here’s why.
What is it that we want to achieve? We want to achieve success, the ultimate success of holding up another Premiership Cup that has alluded us for so long. We must verbalise this, state this and believe that it is possible. But we must also realise and understand, just as Ben Crowe has shown Ash Barty, that if it doesn’t happen in the way or the time frame you want for yourself, then this should not mean the want of success becomes unachievable.
It just means that you have to keep “chipping away” to attain that eventual goal – to win. It is a mindset, but it can also determine the very essence of the club’s culture.
Our culture in the past has been one of trying to achieve success in quick, knee-jerk reactions. Things don’t work out the way they want, so let’s just get rid of a coach or a player and let’s see if things can work out then, and if that doesn’t work, well, we will just do it again, and again, and again. How can any club or team develop a culture that will bring us success if there is no consistency in the club? I don’t mean just on the playing field.
We have to stop with the reactions that only undermine what we want to achieve and believe and state out loud to the world our intention. We want to win a Premiership, and we will keep “chipping away” until we do. We know that we may suffer setbacks, but we will take them in our stride and continue to forge a path to eventual success. We will do that by believing in not only ourselves but in who is going to guide us there. We are not going to react every time we fail with knee-jerk reactions.
I will say this again, I believe in David Teague, and I believe in the team (with a few tweaks). We achieve nothing with knee-jerk reactions, and our culture becomes one of teetering on a block of bricks that is tenuous and unstable. We must not want that for our club. If this is too “out there” for your liking, then so be it, but there is so much proof that this mindset works and works well. It has been shown in many instances in the history of sport, and the Carlton FC must step on that road of self-belief and a verbalization of their ultimate dream. Can we do it? I know we can.
P.S. On another note, some of the comments that David Teague should not have congratulated Tuohy or Henderson after the match is, to my view, very petty. Win or lose, treat others with dignity and respect.
After the siren, my mind was overloaded with what I wanted to say. I had not written anything regarding the game against Adelaide, as I wanted to wait and see the outcome of this game against Freo. From being a game that I would watch on TV as it was originally going to be in WA, this moved to a game that I could attend, and was a great bonus for us Victorian’s.
Where I sat gave me a great view of the field as a whole and, therefore, the game as a whole. The next day, as I had taped the game, I watched it again. Irrespective of what others may think, we have definitely taken a few steps forward in our gameplay from that pitiful one against WCE. I was asking myself during the game and after watching it, is what has been the change, the difference between the WCE game to now? After re-watching the game again, I concluded that it boiled down to one single factor, and it is one that I cannot see any other reason. Prove me wrong, but this is my view.
For me, it came down to allowing those players who we know have the talent and ability to be major players in the team more freedom to actually play their game, their way. I remember Teague saying when he took over the group to allow players to play their natural game. For some reason, and this is where I see the difference, is that these players, such as Paddy Dow, Matt Kennedy, Nic Newman, SPS, etc have not really taken that jump from being mediocre to more substantial. It was as if something hindered their growth. In the past two games, we have seen a big jump in their game.
Why? Well, look at the scenario that has been placed since the bye. John Barker resigned as an assistant coach and our stoppages coach. Luke Power took over. Now he took over, and his presence and impact on our players was not really on display against WCE. No matter what or who, it will take a little bit of time to impact a group. The way the team played against Adelaide was a step in the right direction. Sure it was against a team that is struggling, but so were we. Sure there were brain-fades during the game, and we did not play four quarters, but the intensity was there; not at every minute of the game, but it was there. And the team, even with their backs against the wall, did not give up. That is a step forward. Now, all we had to do was bring that same intensity to the game against Freo.
We came out fighting from the very first bounce, and while Freo’s goal shots were lacking, and at times our abilities to score under pressure was also lacking, we did not give up when our backs were again, against the wall. Sure again, there were brain-fades during the match but if you watch the last quarter, how we stood up and did not give in is a testament to taking more steps forward.
Why is it that the team’s mindset has changed? To my mind, it has to be the influence of Luke Power instead of John Barker. Now I have met John Barker a few times, and he is a really lovely guy with a great smile, but I never really thought he was senior-coach material. I actually think he would be a better administrator than a coach. Yes, he did ok when he took over from Bolts and put his hand up for contention at Carlton and other teams, yet no one selected him. Why? Well, for me, it is because while he knows the game and loves it, his expertise doesn’t really lie in that side of the game. For me, this is the only difference between the last two games. You may have a different view, and that is fine. Let me know.
On a side note, while I do not like singling out players, good or bad, as there are so many other voices out there that do that, I would like to mention Levi Casboult. Some people do not understand that even though he never really came good until the last quarter, he is vital to the team right now. The reason is we have a young, emerging ruck talent in Tom De Koning, but he is still very young and inexperienced; that is why we have Marc Pittonet and our newest mid-season recruit Alex Mirkov. With both these players out with injury, we cannot let the role of number one ruck be put on the shoulders of a player that still needs more development, hence, Levi Casboult. Irrespective of what you think of him, he is vital to our team right now. We cannot let Jack Silvagni nor Crippa take that role of backup ruckman. So ask yourselves this – who else other than Levi Casboult?
I will state this again, I firmly believe that David Teague is the coach for the Carlton FC. Otherwise, why would players such as Harry McKay and Patrick Cripps re-sign? But I believe, and this is where I have based my theory, it is in the assistant coaches that we need to ensure that we get only the very best. Luke Power seems to have instilled since he took over a more grittier and intense playing mindset since the bye. It took one game of, well, poor play for the team to then change their attitude and get that backup from the coaches. It has shown in the past two games; now we need to see that this weekend. We can do it. We may step backwards sometimes, but we are taking the proper steps forward. We can see this; the team has shown this.
P.S. On the “chatter” regarding Clarko. An email has been sent to Hawthorn members from their President and he has stated that unlike other clubs, they will not terminate a coach’s contract during the contract terms. He categorically stated that “we do not break contracts.” Hopefully this will put to rest this talk of getting rid of Teague after being in the role for only one and half years. His contract ends next year, let’s not keep going down the path of our past and stick with a person who I believe will be successful. Put it another way: neither Crippa nor Hazza would have re-signed if they did not believe in their coach. We have to do the same.
Before I start, let me say quite clearly. This piece, in fact, every piece, is my view, my opinion. I have no issues with anyone who disagrees with me at all. However, don’t come at with platitudes that are not based on reason or logic, or tell me I’m just wrong. It may make you feel or look better on social media, but it won’t in any way sway me. Given that, here goes.
Like everyone else, I, too, was bitterly disappointed in the team on the weekend. But while I scoured social media reading posts and comments, for the most part, what got me more angrier, was some of these very same comments and reactions. The very suggestion that we go down, once more, of sacking a coach because they have not in the timeline that supporters deem suitable to make the team a top team. Do you really think that by getting rid of a coach who has only been in the job for one and half years that we again, get rid of him only to go down another path of hopefully getting a coach that could possibly, maybe take us to success? Then what? If they too fail in the time frame, supporters demand that we once again get rid of them? Under what rationale does this premise make the club a successful one? Because you think getting a coach who is currently under contract at another club and who said many, many, many times that he will be a one-team coach; that he has all the answers?
Do you think getting another coach will make us step forwards? It doesn’t happen. It never does. Do you believe that firing another coach mid-season will ensure success? David Teague has been at the club as a senior coach for one and half years. I don’t care what the media say; I never have.
This was no more succinctly stated in Nathan Buckley’s press conference upon his resignation, answered a question by Tony Jones who asked if he resigned willingly or was tapped on the shoulder. Buckley’s reply is what every person who thinks that the media are unbiased and tell the truth, are well, delusional. His reply was basically: I can say what I know is the truth, put you in the media will state whatever you want to state that has no semblance of truth.
But my saying this, I know, will not sway some, so I’m going to take it from another way.
Adelaide: Matthew Nicks started his coaching career in 2020, the very same year that David Teague started. Their last Grand Final win was in 1998. The next time they went into the finals was in 2001. Yes, they have been in and out of finals contention and even making it to another Grand Final in 2017. Then they were hit by a tragedy that sent them backwards and also a year of hell for the club with their “camp”. Yes, they have won one more game than us, but are supporters and the media coming at the club saying his job is on the line?
Brisbane Lions: Chris Fagan began in 2017. The club got the wooden spoon in that year, and then the next finished 15th. Did supporters ask for his head in that year? In his third year, he took the club to fifth place, yet we are asking Teague to do that after being at the club for only one and half years! The last time they won a Premiership was in 2004.
Collingwood: Nathan Buckley started coaching in 2012. In that time, he made the final five times. He took over from a very belligerent coach, Malthouse, who we all know where he went. While he did take the team to a Grand Final, which they lost, he took them to the top eight only five times. Between 2013 and 2017, the team was not a part of the top eight. That is four years in-between, and we are expecting our coach to take the team into the top eight after only one and half years? The last time they won a Premiership was in 2010, eleven years ago.
Essendon: Ben Rutten took over at the start of this year. The last time Essendon made it to the top eight was in 2019. The previous Premiership was in 2000. Rutten, who only took over the club fully this year, and has still a way to go, but given the team he was given, and how he learnt, it is a testament to the club.
Fremantle: Justin Longmuir started at the beginning of 2020. Same as Teague. The team finished twelfth last year. Yes, they are higher up on the ladder, but they are not in the top eight. Yes, they were in a Grand Final in 2013 and lost, and have been in finals contention, but not since 2015. Are Fremantle supporters asking for Longmuir to be sacked? Geelong: Chris Scott took a team that was in Premiership contention in 2011. He has taken the club to be in the top eight since then, except for 2015. Since then, he has yet to seal that final accolade of winning a Grand Final and lost in the 2020 match against the in-form Richmond.
Gold Coast Suns: Stuart Dew took over in 2018. Since then, they have not made the top eight and given their form over the weekend – they won’t make it this year. Sure they are a new club, only ten years old, but are supporters asking that Dew get sacked since he has not taken the club higher than fourteenth?
GWS: Leon Cameron has been the coach since 2014. It took him two seasons, and then in the third one, he took the club to fourth place. They made it to the Grand Final but got absolutely slaughtered by Richmond in 2019. In 2020 they finished tenth. He has been at the club for now nearly seven years; if he doesn’t get the club to a final position this year, will the Board look to sack him? His contract ends next year.
Hawthorn: Alistair Clarkson is one of the most successful coaches in the AFL. He began in 2005, and in his first two years, the club finished out of the top eight. It was only in 2008 that the team won a Grand Final, and we all know what happened next. His next win was in 2013. It took him another five years to get the team to be in a position that became a team that won three in a row. As a side note, he has said numerous times that he will only be a one-team coach. This has not been in press conferences or interviews but in other avenues of which I have been a party to.
Melbourne: Simon Goodwin took over in 2017. The team has been out of the top eight since then four times. In 2019 the team finished 17th, and last year, ninth The last time they won a Grand Final was in 1964, and the last time they made it to a Grand Final was in 2000 where they lost to Essendon. Melbourne supporters have been frustrated, angry, and desperate to win a flag that they have not done for fifty-seven years! We are complaining because we have not won since 1995!
North Melbourne: David Noble became coach this year. He took over from Rhys Shaw, who resigned midway last year. In 1999 they won a Grand Final. Brad Scott was coach from 2010 until midway 2019. The last time they made it to the top eight was in 2016. Scott had the team for nine years and just could not take that next step to finals contention.
Port Adelaide: Ken Hinkley began in 2013. They have been a dynamic club without question, and yet they have never made it to a Grand Final, but they have not given up on their coach or club because they have seen that a culture of consistency in their coaches is paramount to on-field consistency. He is signed on until the end of 2023.
Richmond: Damien Hardwick began in 2010. It took him until 2017 to get the team to a Grand Final and win it. It took him to 2013 to be in the top eight, yet we are asking Teague to do that in one and half years!
St Kilda: Brett Ratten has been the coach since midway 2019. The last time they were in the top eight was in 2020. Before that was in 2011, and the last time they won a Grand Final was 1966. In 2007 the coach, Ross Lyon, was coach from 2007 and took them to a Grand Final in 2010, where they drew and eventually lost. He then left, and in 2012 Scott Watters took over for two years. After that, Alan Richardson took over and was a coach from 2014 to midway 2019. In that time, they never made it to the top eight. Yet we are asking our coach to be in the top eight after only one and half years!
Sydney Swans: John Longmuir has been the coach since 2011. Since that time, they won in 2012 because the coach before him, Paul Roos, established a culture that is still prevalent today. Roos was the coach of the team for eight years. Both coaches show what consistency and culture will do for a club.
West Coast Eagles: Adam Simpson has been the coach since 2014. He won a Premiership in 2018 and has been consistently either in the top eight or just out of it since he took over. John Worsfold was the coach from 2002 to 2013, where he won a Premiership in 2006. That means it took him four years to get there, and it took Simpson four years as well. Yet we are asking Teague to do the same in one and a half years!
Western Bulldogs: Luke Beveridge began in 2015. He took a club that finished eighth to a Premiership in 2016 after languishing without one since 1954. Before Beveridge, you had Brendan McCartney 2012 – 104; Paul Williams 2011; Rodney Eade 2015 -2011; Peter Rohde 2002 -2004. The Dogs have stuck with Beveridge even though the team faltered after its epic win in 2016.
Now, what has all this got to do with Carlton and Teague? Out of all the teams in the league, we have had more stops and starts than any other club. Yet when the team falters and is not in a position where we want them to be and where they want to be in as well, we call for the coach to be sacked once again! For any club, any team anywhere in the world, consistency in its culture which means consistency in its coaches, ensures a culture of consistency in its playing group and its game. To sack yet another coach and to bring in another in the hopes that this new coach will be better is mind-boggling! It does not! Yes, I agree we actually need better assistant coaches, but if Teague has supposedly lost the playing group, why did Harry McKay re-sign? Why did Crippa come out today in a press conference and state that he is not going anywhere!
We are not the arrogant club that we were when we last dominated the competition, and we have to get that out of our mindset. We have to stop with the continual knee-jerk expectations that supporters want that Carlton will always be the top club no matter what else is happening. It cannot happen and does not happen in the real world, especially when knee-jerk reactions are what the club has done in the past.
I do not and will not subscribe to those who believe that we should once more sack another coach who I firmly believe will get us to where we want to go. We cannot, and history has shown that knee-jerk reactions do not work. We need consistency in our coaches and culture. If we have that, the culture of winning becomes a natural entity, and that transpires on the field.
The bemoaning that we have not won a Premiership for so long is when you look at other teams, not long at all. If you feel that you and yours cannot wait until the day that we make it to the top eight and finals, then that is your right and decision, but we must not as supporters think that the only way to reach the top is to continually go through the same knee-jerk reactions we have done in the past. It has to stop.
I do not agree with those who think there are others who could do better because there is a danger in that. If they don’t, they too will be subject to the nasty and belligerent comments prevalent so far. Instead of taking slow and steady steps to success, we cannot insist on fast, jumping over steps to reach the top and if that doesn’t work, get rid of another coach that will only take us ten steps backwards.
I believe in Teague and what he is capable of achieving. I believe that we will get there as long as we don’t have knee-jerk reactions as we have had in the past. It may take a bit longer, and it may mean games like last weekend do occur, but we will get there. I’m not going to jump off the Teague train like some have who got their ticket then didn’t like the journey. I’m in for the long haul, even if I was disappointed in the performance on the weekend. I’m still on board, and I hope the train goes on for a long journey.
Dear Carlton FC, the entire club – Admins, Board, Coaches, Players, Members, Supporters.
Adversity confronts all of us at one stage or another, sometimes multiple times. How you deal with it and overcome it is a testament to a person’s ability to rise above adversity. To become resilient and resolute in facing their adversity with a confident determination to shove it out of the way of progress. Carlton FC as a whole has faced adversity for the past twenty years. We have been pushed down, shoved out and had more quick, easy fixes than most organizations. This culture has become a part of the Carlton FC, and it needs to stop.
At the weekend, we all saw a game, that for us all, we would like to forget, but we should not. We are now facing the adversity of not being in a position that we all hoped we would be in, nearing the top eight. But how we chose to face and deal with this adversity will either break us or make us stronger. What will break us is if we decided to take the path that we have taken before and just cut out those that others deem are responsible for our performance. Will this make us stronger, more determined. NO! It will only weaken and show once more that we are not a club that is a strong and determined one to rise above adversity and conquer it.
We have to decide once and for all do we want to be defined by what has gone on in the past, or do we want to state that right here and now, we will accept adversity, and we will rise above it? This does not mean the continual calls to sack coaches, players, the Board, even the Admins; it means that collectively we have to stand up to the adversity we face now, accept it, and find ways to conquer it. To achieve this, we must have the mindset of solidarity, continuity and a belief that eventually this will pass.
I decided after the game to go on social media and see what supporters would post. To say I was disappointed is not valid; I was, quite frankly, not surprised because the response was well, expected and typical. Some called for Teague to be sacked. They called for the Board to be fired. They called for players to be thrown out. They berated, ridiculed, and yelled about how they will not support the club again as a supporter of many years. Some have said that they are tired of supporting a club that has not had much success in the past twenty years. To go on social media in any form and decide that you are the voice of what will make Carlton great again is naïve. Are we so arrogant that we think and believe that what happened when we were successful will continue after the adversity we have been through in the past twenty years? Do we really think that a culture of quick fixes by sackings will change the club? Has it proved so in the past? NO!
Calls to get Alistair Clarkson to coach is hilarious. He will never leave Hawthorn; he has stated that many, many times. Do you think Ross Lyon is the go because he got two clubs to a Grand Final but couldn’t coach them to win? Do you think that any player would want to come to a club that faces adversity, and their response to that is to throw out their coaches? Do you really think that as a club, this is the culture we should have? NO!
We need to change our mindset and become a club that firmly states to adversity, we will not let it determine our path, and we will face it and overcome it. It may not happen in a time frame we chose, but it will happen. Determination and a mindset of overcoming adversity are what makes a group successful. We need to state firmly as a collective that no matter what adversity we face, we will overcome it. We have the talent; we have the capacity to do that; we just need to understand more about how to step over that adversity line and shove it to the past. We need to sweep out the cobwebs that have been a part of our club for the past twenty years and change the way we look at ourselves as a whole. We must not be swept into this downward spiral of succumbing to adversity.
We have to change our thinking and face adversity with such a force of collective strength where our resolve and belief in our future will see us across the line. If that means waiting, then so be it. If that means that some can’t do it, so be it. It is they who will look back when the time comes that we overcome our obstacles, be successful, and they wish they had been a part of the journey. I know that the club is not quite there yet, and a bit more tweaking needs to be done, but we have the foundations.
In this round, The Indigenous Round, its a celebration of how a people overcame adversity to change their future. Everyday they face adversity, but they do not give in or give up. We too can do this. Change your mindset, change your future. Make adversity the tool to change the past and enrich the club’s future. Being with solidarity, continuity and a belief in what you can do. All of us!
P.S I don’t care what the media, or commentators, say about the club or people in the club. It’s their view, their opinion and in the end, it means nothing more than white noise.
Disclaimer: Again, this is a disclaimer. This blog and my writing will not go into what is right or wrong with the performance on the weekend. There are so many other voices that handle, and we don’t need another one. So for those expecting that here, on this blog, don’t read on, as you won’t get that here. I will allude to the game, but I won’t single a player or even a coach out for either criticism or praise; that is not the aim of this blog. If that’s not for you, that is fine.
I have made a very concerted effort this year not to read, listen or watch footy shows. After last year the rubbish diatribe that these so-called “experts” spouted made me realize two things: one, they say what they say for clickbait. To make themselves relevant and to get a reaction from others is the second reason – to get a reaction. I cannot think of one journalist, commentator who does not have an ulterior motive in what they say and how they say it. So given that, I decided not to give them any listening or reading credibility. This is also true for some on social media who delight and enjoy and insist that their view, their opinion, their “insightful” knowledge of Carlton is something we should all sit up and take notice of.
I am pointing to those who, the moment the siren went, were on social media insisting that we get rid of our coach and get Ross Lyons! That we need to right now, sack (again) our coaching panel and some of the players. There were some that I really wanted to reply to but decided they were not worth the effort or the agitation that I felt in these comments and people to warrant me ever thinking that their insight is the one I must believe in. I don’t. Now I know that some will read this the wrong way and ask me what I would do or what should be done. That I must educate or teach others about what should be done at the club! It happens all the time because some just want a reaction or a pat on the back. After all, they are right, and we are wrong (sarcasm).
I don’t see the world in a “half-glass empty” or with rose colored glasses. The footy world is about being a part of a group of people who play a game that I love to watch and support a club that I have loved since I came to Australia. I see that sometimes, this group get it right, and sometimes they don’t. I see that this group have been through a very tumultuous time over the years, including a pandemic that, for some, the mental pressure of this does take a toll. I believe in what the club is endeavoring to do for the long-term, which could mean short-term pain for long-term gain.
I don’t want to hear that “we have been hearing this for a while” when that “while” includes years of turmoil. The audacity some feel that they have to belittle, mock, and bully others for having a different viewpoint or opinion from theirs shows that they are not interested in anything else but their view, opinion; and that theirs is the one that can and will make the club better. I have no issue in a healthy discussion or being proven that I am wrong, but don’t come at me spouting something irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I am not afraid of sticking up for myself or others, including our players and coaches.
Some on social media post after the game and look at what was optimistic about the game. Some feel that these posts are served up by people who have no clue about the game, where we are at or who is leading our club to eventual success. The majority of supporters are sick to death of the past events that has seen the club go through more sackings than it should have gone through. We want stability because with stability comes contentment and with that comes eventual success.
This need to constantly harangue players and coaches is deplorable and must be stopped. We have seen players, ex-players and ex-coaches leave the game and some, their life, because of mental issues. Some pile on their diatribe of ridicule and then offer their sympathies, or say “good luck” when a player, coach steps away from the game because of mental health issues.
Society right now is not the same as it was back when Carlton was a dominant club. We have to and must move on from that. We have to allow our coach to mold and re-shape a team that he only took over one and half years ago. We have to stop insisting that he be sacked because his plan does not fit with yours. We have to stop belittling, mocking and bullying players because they were just not good enough on the day. We can be critical, but it can be done with a dignity that I know that everyone expects to get themselves.
This blog article stems from two things that affected me. One, a person in South Australia, who always sent me positive and warm feedback when I posted my articles and who I met the few times I was in SA, passed away. I don’t want to know why, as that is none of my business. The second was listening to an absolutely talented sportswoman (not a footy player) step away from a Grand Slam competition because of mental health issues because an organization was so dogmatic in their stance that they forced Naomi Osaka’s hand, and she stepped away from the competition.
What has this to do with Carlton? We cannot be the catalyst of why a player or a coach who has the capacity, will and ability to make this club successful if all they get from some is mockery, bullying and continual calls for sacking. Be critical, have an opinion, a view, but do it in a way that is, as some headline their posts – positive and do it respectfully. For the record, I, too, was upset about how the game went on Sunday, but I can see what the future will be for the club and what we are building. Michael Jordan, a legend in the game of basketball, said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Finally, DeMar DeRozan, Spurs basketball champion, said, “It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to want to be better. It’s okay to break yourself down to be able to build yourself back up to be someone better and stronger.”
Carlton has been broken down, has a want to be better, and we are building ourselves back up to be a stronger and better club. We will lose, we will succumb to game-winning losses, but we will eventually succeed. We have to do that by supporting our club, players and coaches by not belittling, mocking or bullying them on social media. We must not lose players or coaches from the game because we feel it is our right to become “trolls” and that we know better. I don’t want to see any of our players or coaches leave the game because of mental health reasons that we could have somehow been a part of. Be critical, show your anger, but do it with the dignity and respect that you would want yourselves.
P.S Carlton has two selections in the mid-season draft which will be shown live on the AFL website and AFL Live Official App from 6.30pm AEST on Wednesday 2nd June.
Let me say this straight off. I am under no illusion as to where the club is at the moment and where it will end up by the end of the season. I don’t expect us to light up the season this year, as I expect us to grow and develop our playing group and to hone in our ability to dig deep and become a successful team and club on game day when the need arises. We are not there yet, but we are getting there.
Now I don’t want to hear from people who tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about or that I am wearing rose coloured glasses and am blind to reality. Here is my response.
1 – David Teague.
Let’s be perfectly clear on this. David Teague’s coaching position is not under threat. He was appointed senior coach at the beginning of what was a horrible year in our lives. In 2020 he was given the reins of the job and then began to shape the team and club in the way that he believes will provide us with that success. Now, after one and half years, there are calls for him to be sacked. So let’s delve a little deeper here and understand reality.
Alistair Clarkson was appointed Senior Coach at Hawthorn in 2005. In his first year, the club won five games. In his second, they won nine. Third, fourteen and in 2008, they won their first Premiership, and we all know what they went on to achieve in future years.
So it took Clarko three years to achieve the success he was intent on building. So why are we asking our Coach to do what Clarko took three years to accomplish in one and a half?
Then there is Damian Hardwick. He started coaching in 2010. They won the Premiership in 2017. It took Hardwick seven years, repeat, seven years to get the team to a point where they won a Premiership.
If you look at his record as a coach, in 2010, the team won six games. 2011, eight, 2012, ten. The club became known as the “finishing ninth again” team. Why are we asking our Coach to do what Hardwick has done in one and a half years, what Richmond achieved in seven years?
This then leads on to point two.
2 – Our History.
Carlton has been a club that has been steeped in the history of this game. It has been one that has been full of raging success, yet in 2002 the AFL found Carlton had breached salary cap protocols during the 2000 and 2001 season. Not only were they fined a substantial amount of money that was then the highest ever given until the Essendon drug scandal. They were then stripped of early draft picks for not one year but two. In 2003 Carlton was given a priority draft pick where the club picked up the magnificent Andrew Walker, but the damage to the club had already been done. It was not the club of choice for most players, and given that for two years, they were denied the chance to secure top draftees to grow and develop them for the future. This has an enormous effect on the club’s future.
Now do not say that well, Essendon seems to be coping ok after their drug scandal. And you would be correct, except that you are not. For that club did not then go through what my third point.
In 2012 Brett Rattan was sacked, and in a very arrogant move by the club, they hired a coach, who while was a Premiership one, really had an ulterior motive in becoming a coach, which the club found out during his third year. Now I have said this before but will repeat it again. After achieving his record as someone who holds the record for the number of games coached, he threw down a gauntlet and before his third year had expired, he challenged Carlton to either fire him or re-sign him! I know this because I heard it on the radio on my way to work that day. Now, what decent person who has the best interests of the club in mind says that? Only someone who is so self-centred that they are blind to the needs of the club.
We all know the outcome, as he was fired, and John Barker took over, but the damage to the club was done. Star players left, supporters were left feeling shoved out of the club. It was not a place that experienced players really wanted to be at.
Then in 2016, Brendon Bolton was hired. Given his time at the club, he did the one thing that needed to be done. He began to rebuild both at a player level and fan-based as well. He gave the club back to the fans and started the rebuild of the team. With this, we gained players in our group who are going to be greats of the game.
I had met Bolts several times during his tenure at the club, and I always felt him approachable and warm. But as the days and games wore on, I saw cracks, and this was proven when I met him again in a game in Tasmania. He was cold, distant and somewhat aggressive in his manner. I then saw him during the game, where he seemed out of depth. Then in mid-2019, he was sacked, and David Teague took over and eventually signed as senior Coach for the club. What does this mean for a group? It means these sackings and hirings bring instability at a club and to a group of people who intend to build success. All these sackings and hiring’s do not allow players to just continue and not be bothered by the changes, for they do cause ripples in the flow of stability, and they do take time to settle. Why are we then expecting a coach who has only been at the helm for one and a half years actually suddenly wave his hands and boom, instant success.
4 – What we can’t do and what we must do.
We cannot, repeat cannot keep thinking that the club that was once was will be again. It won’t happen. We cannot keep thinking that it has been so long since the club has seen anything resembling success if you look at what the past twenty years have been for us. We cannot keep thinking that to sack another coach will bring success, given the past twenty years. It won’t; it never will. We must insist on stability within the club, which means giving a coach, who I firmly believe can give this club some semblance of success, a chance to do just that. We cannot and must not keep going down the path of instability that has been a part of this club.
We must do something that, for most, seems to be a hill too big to climb. We have to give the club just a little bit more time to provide the club and the players’ stability that will only see growth. We are only in round ten, and with each and every match played, we will grow and become stronger both physically and mentally.
5 – Finally
I do see where the club is right now and what it can be. Stop with this need to sack and fire, get rid of players and coaches when if you look back to what we have been through, we ain’t that bad! Stop with these statements that you will not be a member or attend games because of where the club is right now. In the words of a legend of English football manager who took Liverpool to such great success, Bill Shankly said, ‘if you can’t support us when we lose or draw, don’t support us when we win.’ He also said that ‘a lot of football is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.’ Carlton will not have that mindset if we keep going down the path of continually asking legitimate coaches and players to get sacked. We have to understand what the club has been through in the past twenty years and know that where we are heading right now is where we will achieve success. History has shown that it can be done. We just have to wait just a little bit longer. But given what we have been through in the past twenty years, this may be a big ask for some, but hey, the end result will make the past fade into a very distant place.
Disclaimer: the purpose of this post and the blog, in essence, is not to really dissect the game/s as that is done perfectly well by others, for good or bad. There is no need for another voice to re-hash what went right and what went wrong, who stood up and who just didn’t perform. That is not what this blog and my voice’s intention. But I do allude to the game, so please do not carry on about the way the team played, or who should go, stay, be dropped etc. etc.; I’ll leave that to others.
What defines us as a group, a team, and even a person is what footprint we leave as we pass by. What imprint in our world do we want others to perceive? While this is a rather philosophical statement, it rings so very true when it comes to being a supporter of the Carlton FC.
As a supporter, our definition is to support, and our footprint is how we show that support. Sure we can vent, voice our frustration, but the footprint we leave must, in the end, be one that supports. As a collective of supporters, what defines us is not vitriol, name-calling or even advocating sacking, but standing behind those that literally want to achieve success. Still, sometimes this success takes a road that is fraught with pitfalls and holes, mountains to climb, and obstacles to get over. If the aim of your support entails the diatribe of name-calling, advocating sacking, and want the players to read that and to be swayed to do something, then what defines you is negativity which leads to loss of confidence, and therefore performance. The constant barrage of negativity produces negativity. It does not inspire a poor performance to get turned around.
Now I am not saying in any way that the performance over the weekend in the last quarter should be seen as anything positive, but lessons will be and must be learned. It is not up to us nor the media to dictate how those lessons should play out. We do not know everything that a player is going through, and we must not come to a conclusion based on what we see on the surface.
I was disappointed and frustrated by the end of the game, but what defines me as a supporter is to switch off the white noise from the media, who really think they know it all. Who believe that they aim to illustrate an insight that we, the supporters and viewing and listening public, want to hear. To be honest, that is, well, bullshit. They have no more insight or understanding of any club unless it comes directly from that club or person.
What defines the media is their need for ratings and headlines. That is it. They are not knowledgeable, nor insightful, and to be perfectly honest, do not really understand the goings-on at Carlton, even if that person was once a Carlton great.
What defines you as a listener, reader, or viewer is what do you want to take from the media? Do you want validation, confirmation, or acceptance that their truth is the truth? Do you want to be someone who defines what is happening at Carlton, being the absolute guarantee of what is and will be happening by taking what the media say as gospel? Is that what defines you as a supporter? Because it does not define me, it never will.
Supporters of any club, anywhere, in any sport, is their undying passion for that club. An example is what happened in England when the fans of Liverpool FC protested about being included into the now defunct European Super League. What defines them and any supporter, is not the spouting that they will tear up and burn their membership and hope that the club will listen to them and them only. What defines a supporter is the one who will probably swear profanities, but at the end of the game, will be frustrated, but will turn up again for the next game, showing their support. That is what defines a supporter, and that is what must define us Carlton supporters.
I do not want to hear about how after twenty years, we have achieved nothing when those twenty years have been fraught with sackings, hiring’s, more sackings, more hiring’s, more sackings and more hiring’s. What will define the club moving forward is putting their footprint firmly on the ground and saying no more. No more sackings, no more instability and no more disunity.
What will define the club will be its ability to keep going on that path to success, no matter the obstacles they face or even play out. What will define a supporter will be the footprint they leave by supporting the club. By turning up a week after a loss and cheering them on again. What will define a supporter will be one who doesn’t sink to the level of name-calling, asking for sackings, thinking that they themselves have the same insight into what is going on better than anyone else. What will define a supporter is the one who is prepared to say with pride after a loss; yep, I am a Carlton supporter and damned proud of it.
Let the footprint of your support be the one that follows the club’s, because no matter what, in the end, we will climb that hill and reach the pinnacle. That is what defines me as a supporter. GO BLUES!
On the way to the game on Sunday, I bumped into three friends; one was a Carlton supporter, the other two went for Collingwood. I turned to the Collingwood supporters and asked the question, ‘what happened?’ They both replied that Collingwood, well, are shit and more than likely will win the wooden spoon. I said that one of the biggest mistakes the club had made was during the draft period, and they both said, getting rid of Adam Treloar. I agreed completely, for it was a knee-jerk reaction to a situation at that club where they had to ensure that they didn’t go over the salary cap. Collingwood lost out, Western Bulldogs gained.
Also, on the weekend, I saw the headlines of a newspaper article stating that a certain ex-coach wrote that Patrick Cripps has been a ‘shadow of himself this year’. He genuinely believes that he has the insight on how to treat this ‘off-form’ player, basing it on his own experience as a coach. Now I lost all respect for this coach when he was hired off the back of a knee-jerk reaction by the then Carlton Board getting rid of Brett Rattan, knowing that the coach they wanted to replace him was, yep, Mick Malthouse.
I have no respect for him and his viewpoints or in his supposedly ‘constructive’ insights into our club that he helped in setting us back years. Let’s backtrack a little. When Ratts was booted out of the club, and Malthouse hired, I disagreed but was willing to see how it played out. Things looked, well, pretty decent for a while until star players wanted out of the club, and we started losing. The final nail in the coffin was after he had reached his milestone of being the coach who had coached the most number of games. With his contract up at the end of the season, I was listening to an interview with him on the way to work, and he basically threw down the gauntlet – either (he said) the club either hires me or fires me.
He knew full well that given this and how the club was faring, they would not solidify an ongoing contract. He knew that by stating a blatant and very aggressive ultimatum, the club would sack him. Which they did.
The timing of this was, to say the least, to suspect to believe anything else than other he was miffed (a tame word) that he could not reach that target at Collingwood and connived his way into becoming the coach at Carlton to achieve his ultimate goal. For why did he say what he said just after the game when the record was won? That ‘knee-jerk’ reaction took the club not two steps backwards but many steps back after he was sacked. The supporters lost its club for Malthouse distanced the players from those that mattered the most at any club. its supporters. With him then gone, we lost our stability but gained the club back to the supporters.
Knee-jerk reactions at a club in any sport are a huge gamble, just like playing roulette at the casino. You put your chips on a number and color, hope for the while ball to drop into where you want, but the odds are so against this happening. Knee-jerk reactions only serve to dismantle a club and its culture, and therefore its participant’s belief in the system they are in. Right now at Carlton, the system is stable, solid. What has been gained is that players are starting to believe in what is happening at the club; its systems, its processes and its culture.
At the game against Essendon, despite being behind after the first quarter, at no stage did the players give up. The game could have gotten out of control, but it didn’t. Instead of falling behind the play, they, none of them, gave in and put themselves front and center. They took advantage of the gaps in Essendon’s gameplay and used it, scoring goals, especially in the third quarter when we piled on six goals to their four, and after piling on four goals in the second to be only two points behind.
After the game against Brisbane Lions, people came out and blatantly said that Teague needs to go and go now! After only being at the helm for just one-and-a-half years, the club must not, and it will not make knee-jerk reactions that will send a club spiraling downwards, making it harder and harder to climb back up. We have to ensure that stability is paramount at the club for the players and for the club’s growth. This will come only when all the cogs of the footy team work together in a system that while not easy, is fraught with both disappointment and utter joy. Stability allows a group of people to become a team for each other, not just themselves. Author Stephen King said that ‘talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.’ Babe Ruth, a legend in the baseball world, said, ‘the way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.’
The Carlton FC has the makings of becoming a club that plays as a whole that will bask in the glory of its successes. From its players to the coaches, to the admins and the supporters. By working hard to ensure stability and consistency, not giving in to historical knee-jerk reactions and building a group of players who play for each other will determine our success. We may have a few ‘stars’ in our group, but given the culture at the club right now, those stars know and understand what it is going to take to achieve that success.
We will lose some games, and we will win some, but we have to stop going off the diving board into a pool of thorns when things don’t pan out the way we want. We have to work hard, allow for growth and know that stability at the club will bring us the success we all want. Hard work, self-belief and knowing that the team play for each other will get us there. We gained this on the weekend.
I was perusing today’s Age and came across an article written by Peter Ryan with the headline “Timing of Blues Presidency Questioned”. At the end of last year, I decided to take what was written about Carlton with skepticism, looking who wrote it and its content. So, after reading the article, I didn’t have to go further than the first paragraph, to murmur to myself, “typical”. Then after reading it, I began to get angry, really, really angry, because what I don’t like is people such as the person being written about using their “connections” to enhance their agenda and put supporters down in a way that this person does. Let me clarify.
I have been to quite a number of the club’s AGM, and there are a group of people who say that same thing every year and directed at the club’s Board and President. They say that they speak for the club’s membership when I have never met them nor spoken to them, yet they have the gall to say they speak on my behalf. Their comments and their diatribe of garbage are consistently destructive, and they simply do not listen, nor do they want to hear what others say if what they are saying is the direct opposite of their views. I know from first-hand that when I had the mic at a meeting, I wanted to ask a question and was interrupted by this same group. I turned around and said in front of everyone, “I did not interrupt you when you spoke, so do me the same courtesy and don’t interrupt me!”
A few years ago, I was “booted” from a social media group because I disagreed, respectfully, with the person running the group. What angered me was that this person had the arrogance to believe that their viewpoint was the only one and that no one should or must disagree with that. The same is here in the article in The Age, where the story written about has the same underlying agenda – to promote this person’s belief and viewpoint as the only legitimate one. We, the supporters, have been fooled, duped, misled and so on.
What this person and the writer of this article is trying to push is an agenda to cause uncertainty and suspicion at a club that is finally, after a long time, trying to promote unity, stability and hopefully – success. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these people have your best interests at heart or the club’s – they don’t. They have their interests at heart, simple. They have their arrogant agenda at heart, simple.
They say that Carlton has been a dud club for some time, where we need to sweep out the club’s inner workings from the coaches to the administrators and start again! They obviously do not have the club’s best interest at heart, for they do not see what over a history-making 80,000 members are seeing.
We have a coach who has been on the job as a senior one for just over one year! He began his senior coaching role in a year that was anything but normal. Yet he came through it, finishing the team higher than anyone really expected. Now, after six rounds, there are calls to get rid of him. It took Clarko ten years to win a Premiership. It took Hardwick six years to win a Premiership, yet we are asking our senior coach to do that in one and half years!
The President of Carlton, The Board and the CEO have brought Carlton not only out of debt but a flourishing membership and a development of a ground to be one that should be celebrated, not ridiculed. To say that LoGiudice’s stepping down from the role as Presidency is suspicious is ludicrous. We have always wanted the club to be transparent and open, to inform us, which is precisely what they have done. They have let us know who will be stepping in as President so we, the members, can get to know him. What the hell is wrong with that?
The person mentioned in this article has been unsuccessful in his bid to get on to the Board, not by the Board, but by the members. Not by a small margin, but by an overwhelming majority. It is time to for this person to stop with his agenda and that of his cronies. It is time to stop being in cohorts with a journalist who sees this as an attention-grabbing article instead of legitimate journalism. If the journalist wants a rational piece, then do us a favor and speak to those members who are sick of people like the one mentioned in the article of their continual, well, bullshit.
By the way, if this person ever gets to be close to being on the Board or as President, then watch out, because I will be fighting you all the way. Take your negativity and destructive agenda somewhere else because we are starting a journey of success. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, but not with you and your cronies at the helm.
I just want to relate something to you about me, as a supporter and the club that I love so much.
When I arrived in Australia, from England, I saw this exciting game which I did not know about nor understand, but I loved it. I started following Carlton FC because its nickname, the Blues, is the same as the team I supported in English football – Chelsea.
I decided to do some research about the club and its players that I had come to love. You may know this or not, but irrespective of that, to know where you are going, you need to know where you come from.
The club was formed in 1864 – we all know that. It is one of the oldest clubs in the now AFL. Did you know that between 1876 and 1882, there was a player, George Coulthard, who was deemed to be ‘the grandest player of the day?’ At the age of 27, he died from tuberculosis. Carlton went on to have incredible highs and disappointing lows.
Did you know that the 1945 Grand Final was called the “Bloodbath Grand Final”? Carlton were after nine weeks, faltering near the bottom with only three wins and six losses. They picked themselves up, dusted off the dirt, for the grounds were not as they are now, and won its remaining matches, finishing fourth. It went on to beat every team in the finals series and win. That match is a testament to the resilience and determination of its players. This occurred just after peace was declared at the end of the Second World War.
While this match was considered a ‘bloodbath’ and it was, as it was dirty, gritty, sometimes violent. Seven players got suspended, but what it showed was that a group of players were determined, nay insistent that a world war and losses both on the field and off would not deter them from what they all wanted…a Grand Final win.
Each player in that match, who you have to remember, were not a professionally paid and trained sportsman, took pride in putting on that navy blue jumper with that emblem in the middle. They put on their shorts, socks and boots and looked at themselves in the mirror and said to themselves, we can do this. The adversity they faced made them even more determined to do everything they could to get to where they wanted to be…a winner.
You stand at the moment in a time where history will look back and determine how you will be seen and remembered. It is easy to toss in the towel and walk away, saying it is too hard. And maybe you could achieve what you want in a place where the result is easier, simpler to attain. But at what cost? For you may celebrate and attain glory, but when all the noise has died down, the cheers have faded, and you are alone, that hollow feeling inside will creep in because you took an easier route.
The best victories, the best successes are ones where, like the team in 1945, fought for every damn ball, every goal, every play for the pride of wearing a jumper steeped in history. They did not take the easy road to success because they knew what it meant to rise from adversity. They dug deep, looked at themselves in the mirror and asked their reflection what is it that they wanted.
Now it is your turn. Your turn to look in the mirror and ask your reflection…what is it you want? What do you want to achieve in your profession that affords you a chance to achieve what you have dreamed of achieving since you can remember? Do you want to take the easy road that is hollow and superficial, or do you want to fight for every second and achieve a success that nobody sees coming? Do you want to become a player who, when they put on that navy blue jumper with that emblem in the middle, they fight for every single ball, tackle, mark and possession?
You have a chance to be as the players were in 1945, to become part of a “bloodbath” of a season where you can turn it around from where you stand now. It is in your hands and yours alone. It is not the coaches, or the administrators or even the supporters – but your hands. Don’t listen to the “white noise” prevalent in our world; believe in what you know you can bring to the game in 2021. It is not the end but a beginning. Because if a group of men fresh from a world war can turn around a season where their team was languishing at the bottom, you can too. You just have to want it bad enough and the pride of putting on that navy blue jumper with the emblem in the middle.