I have not seen the Carlton FC be in this position since the salary cap issues. We are a divided group. We are not one that comes together to ensure that Carlton will be a successful club, but we are at a point in our journey that is fraught no matter what transpires, with so much uncertainty and division, that I don’t see a way out for a long time. The reason is that some treat those issues that divide us with disdain, disrespect and a sheer lack of empathy. How an organization, and we are an organization, deal with conflict is tantamount to the very culture of that organization. Keeping silent by the powers at that organization creates even more discontent among its members and shows the true character of those very powerful people. Let me explain a bit.
Since the bye, Carlton members in Victoria have not been able to attend any games. Last year, when we could not attend any game in Victoria since the beginning of the season, we were contacted by the club and given a choice of whether to keep our memberships or not. We were given options, we were communicated to throughout the year. Where has this been since the bye? What has the club told us, the members of what options will be given to us since we have not been able to fulfil the packages that we have signed up for and paid? Where has there been any communication to reassure members that the club understands what is going on and will be letting us know their intentions with regards to their memberships? We have heard nothing. Irrespective of whether the review was being held from that time on, the club has a duty to its members to keep them informed in this regard; they have not.
The polarizing opinions on who should coach the club is emotive and passionate. Nothing wrong with that, but here is a dilemma. Apparently, some on the Board do not want Ross Lyon based on what he said this month about a “hypothetical” question he answered and his proven issue at Fremantle that resulted in him leaving. There are those supporters who believe that Ross Lyon is the man for the job, irrespective of what he has done in the past, as he would have learned from his mistake.
Here is my issue. As a commentator, Wayne Carey has been accepted into the fold in that regard because surely he has learned from his past. His past saw him arrested in the USA after kicking a police officer after a complaint was made from his girlfriend that he smashed a glass on her face.
Before that, he pleaded guilty to an indecent assault. Has he changed? Has he become a better person because of the lessons he has learned from his past? I don’t know. But the point is that some believe that he should still not be in the media as a commentator. Yet these very same people want Ross Lyon as senior coach at Carlton, and he was implicated in a sexual assault by a Freemantle ex-employee. A settlement was reached between the parties, and the question is, whether you believe him or not, there has to have been some essence of truth in the accusation for a settlement to have occurred. So we don’t want Carey in the media, but we want Lyon as a coach?
Then there is the question of David Teague. Irrespective of whether he stays or goes, do you really think the way the media and the club have treated him is a great cultural look for the club? He has been treated abysmally by the club. There has been no support from the club, and in his last press conference, he has come out and said this. In yesterday’s On The Couch, Nick Riewoldt said that irrespective of what happens, you don’t treat people in your organization like that. I agree.
Then there is the issue of those pushing for David Teague to be sacked and bring in either Alistair Clarkson or Ross Lyon. Now, if Clarko said no, and Lyon is not even considered, will those who bagged Teague now support him? And what happens to those who do not want Lyon, but he becomes the coach, where will they stand? If David Teague stays, will the Board and the club support him? Or will we see another season of a culture that is rampant at our club?
I have spoken many times about the club’s culture and how it is eroded because of the lack of leadership from those that should, well, lead. It is time for the members of the club to put their foot down and say enough! It is our club. We are the stakeholders and what is going on is just not acceptable anymore. It can’t be if we want a long-term goal of success. Changing one small part of a group that has been a part of what has happened at our club over the years will not change the club’s culture.
We are unfortunately heading towards a time at the club that occurred after the salary cap issues. We are governed by those who are taking us, the members, for granted and are not prepared to see the issues on every level, including the Board. For the most part, we, the members, need to get our voices back and let the club know that we are not prepared to once more sink this club into a quagmire that occurred all those years ago. We have to say enough! Because we have to do better than what is going on now.
In any organization, conflict will always occur, but it is how it is dealt with that illustrates the culture of any group. It is how those that disagree can still stand together as a group and show support. I have not seen this at the club. It is enough!
With heavy hearts and tears in our eyes, we all watched Eddie Betts, the best small forward in the competition, leave the game as a player. What struck me more was not how good a player he is but as a person. He is that rarity that has this underlying charisma that draws people to him without him ever being arrogant or disrespectful. He is well loved and respected because of this. He doesn’t go about believing the hype that is being piled upon his shoulders. He is humble, and his integrity is one that everyone should aspire to emulate. I believe that he will go on to become a great Australian not just because of his footy but because of what he will achieve after the game has ended for him. He will become a voice against racism that could change our culture for the betterment of our society, and for that, I am excited to see what he will do.
But this morning has got me down for reasons that have put our club front and center of not only the media but those on social media who pay lip service to causes they purport to stand for. I am saddened that our club is at a crossroads where some believe the spin they are told by the Board and do not see below the surface of a culture in our club that is toxic and detrimental to eventual success.
Let me be perfectly clear here. Whether David Teague continues or not is not the point. What is, is the sheer bombardment of hate and disrespect aimed at a person by those who should know better. I have saved social media messages and posts from those who say one thing and blatantly call out those who disagree with them, but then go ahead and bully, harass and put someone down. The continual posting of some of the most horrible posts I’ve seen from some has been an eye-opener. It has shown me who they are, really who they are, and I have lost respect for them for this.
This is the same with the Board at Carlton. It is not about what will happen; it is about how they have gone about it. How can any culture of any organization believe that this is the way to go? The way to handle any situation? I have no faith, respect, or belief in what this Board is doing and will do in the future. I cannot support a Board that sees treating a person the way they have as being anything but a good thing. No organization anywhere becomes a successful group unless the culture is one that Eddie Betts himself lives by – respect and integrity.
The Board at the Carlton FC has not done anything close to this. But what has made me sad is that no matter what the decision is and will be, we will not achieve the success that others believe we will by changing a coach. Because you have to answer the question – if this Board does this with David Teague, what’s to stop them from doing the same with any other coach? I don’t care who it is or who others believe will be stronger, better; they can’t succeed because the very culture of the club is far too toxic. If treating someone who is at the club in a way they have been treated this year will change how they treat another who steps in will ensure a change at the club, then they are wrong.
I am bloody angry at how the Carlton FC has handled this, and the sheer notion that some believe that everything will change once a new coach is appointed is astonishing. It is naïve to believe this and accept this. A fish rots from the head, the head at Carlton is the Board, and it is time they become accountable for what they have done this year and in the past. The majority of the Board has been a part of our toxic culture for the past ten years; what’s to say they are going to change or make things better when for some, they have not been a working part of the Board for the past year or so?
We, the members, have to decide what type of culture we want at the club and what our future will become. We have to use our rights as members to say – enough! The Board must be held accountable for what has transpired this year and how it has treated one of its own, irrespective of whether that person stays or not. Louis V Gerstner Jnr, who was a CEO of IBM stated that, ‘Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success – along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like…I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.’ We have none of this at Carlton, and it is the Board that must accept the responsibility that their actions and inactions have fostered this. Can they change? No. Because if they have not done so beforehand, why now? They are far too entrenched in their self-belief that they are above what is wrong at the club.
I am sad that this great club has sunk to this level, and those that hold power to shape our club has not done so in the past, present, nor will in the future. I fear unless a change, a big change is made from the head, Carlton will not achieve any semblance of success for quite some time. No organization can or will unless it starts from the top, the very top. I will always be a Carlton member, and I want a club that has the philosophies that Eddie Betts lives – respect, humility and loyalty to those around him. Right now, the Carlton FC does not have that.
When I flipped channels after the Hawthorn match to ready myself for the Carlton game, I knew we were never going to win, but what I wanted to see was heart. A determination that with every second of every minute of the game, a will to do the very best you could do would be forefront. Sadly, it was not during the second quarter, and we got thoroughly – whipped! Now I don’t like dissecting the game as others do. My intention is to look deeper into the game and the club as a whole.
All last night I kept asking myself what has happened to this once great club? What machinations are involved in sinking this great club into the depths that it is floundering? Seeing Adam Saad bent over on the bench distraught made me choke up. Now I do not pretend to assume why he was like that, and no one can except him – no one! But whatever it was, I felt it, and I got angry, not because of him being upset, nor really about us losing. No, I was more upset at what got us there to that point.
For me, and for many others, what has got us here is the sheer lack of respect from the powers that be at the top of the club – the Board and the senior administrators. Lack of respect towards its members, its staff, its coaches. This once great club is governed by an arrogance that is not indicative of the Carlton FC. What has got us to where we are now is because those that should be developing a culture of success are instead creating a culture of arrogance and blindness of what makes a great club both on the field and off.
Someone posted on social media that Carlton lacks those with football knowledge on the Board. Being on the Board of a sporting club does not make you a better representative if you have any football knowledge or not. It is about the mix, the right mix of people working together. We do not have that. So to prove my point, I went through some clubs Boards, and each of them proves my point. The calibre of the person and what they can bring to a club is paramount, and it matters not whether they have had any football experience.
What they have done is have utter and total respect for the members and what it will take to make their club a success. Cohesion, consistency, respect and support for each part of the club are their main aims.
Richmond’s Peggy O’Neal has had no football experience but is seen as a beacon for leadership in all that she does. She is approachable and respectful. As a Board, Richmond has ten members, of which four besides Peggy are females, and three have been ex-players. What makes this Board work is diversity and respect. They work together to create a culture of success within the club, which in turn breeds success on the field.
Richmond had a toxic culture that was rampant in their club, which has now been turned around. They have done this by ensuring that all facets of the club work together and support each other to achieve what they have ultimately achieved. Damian Hardwick contacted David Teague and told him that he was in the same boat once, but the club supported and backed him.
Without a doubt, Hawthorn’s Jeff Kennett is arrogant, and even though during his first stint as President he wanted Alistair Clarkson gone, he has never put his differences with a coach who is the greatest of our era get in the way of ensuring success at the club. Two of the Board have been involved in the AFL, one as a player, one as an umpire. What they have on their Board is a diverse range of people who work together to make the club the success it has been and will be in the future. It has a culture forged by the strength of a belief and support of its coach despite its initial failures, no matter what. They supported their coach.
I could list other clubs, but the point is that if you look at the Board’s of other clubs, Carlton’s lacks something vital in its makeup because it is based on entitlement and arrogance. On our Board are members who have been a part of what is wrong with our club. They have been a part of the hiring and firing coaches in succession, breeding a toxic culture in the club both on the field and off. I cannot see it any other way. On our Board, we have the very people who were a part of the “intense and detailed” search for the correct senior coach. Yet, once this coach does not live up to the Board’s immediacy timeline in getting any success, they do what they have done in the past few years – sack yet another coach. There is no support, or if there is, we, the members, the stakeholders of the club are not privileged to see this. We are not entitled to see this because there is no respect.
There is no instilling pride to play for the navy blue in our players because there is no pride in our culture in our club. We don’t have it, and the only people who should take full responsibility for that is the Board. It is they who determine what this club stands for and whom they get to make that stand in the administration of the club, and getting the right coach and supporting them to fulfil what they have been hired to do. They have not.
I know some want to burn their membership to protest what is happening at the club, and I don’t blame you, but that is not the solution. By doing that, you lose your voice and your right to change anything. Being a member gives you a voice as you are a stakeholder in a club with a history that few sporting clubs can claim. Don’t lose your voice. Don’t lose your right to make a stand.
We cannot keep going down this path that we have been going down for the past seven years and more. We cannot be a success if those given the task of achieving this simply jump off the train when the going gets too bumpy.
Whatever happens to David Teague, I will be probably one of the few voices that actually believes he can achieve what we want. However, we will never become successful without the support from inside the club and without the need to stay on the train for the long haul; I don’t care who is brought in. Because if they can do that to one person, who’s to say they won’t do it again?
We, as members, have a right to say to the Board, you have failed. You have failed the players, the coaches and us, the members. It’s enough! You have been given a chance, and you have failed. Step away for the sake of the club and its soul.
I will always be a member of the Carlton FC and will now start pushing for accountability where it is needed. I have my voice, and I urge other members to do just that – use your voice to say enough! Carlton Now!
I am more angry than you can imagine and it is not solely directed at the players and the coaches; it is more directed at those that believe in their own hype that they are the heartbeat of a club that has a history that is bigger than us all. They are the ones that are damaging this history with their self-importance belief that it is they who have the best interests of the club at heart and, with that, the members. They don’t. Not now. Maybe you never did.
Culture is pivotal in determining what an organization stands for and whether it will be a success or not. It is the very essence of all components of the organization working and supporting each other to ensure that success is not only forthcoming but maintained for a long time. This consistency in every element working together makes for a culture not only of success but breeds a mentality for success. We do not have that right now, and it makes me think that maybe we never did, and this makes me angry, very, very angry, and for the record, for those who really know me, I don’t get angry very often. But this has sent me across a line I rarely step over.
I was asked a question over the weekend, purely hypothetical. If David Teague was sacked and Alistair Clarkson was hired, and the current Board apologized, the CEO apologized and assured us that things would change, would you accept it? My answer was and still is categorically – NO! I am tired of platitudes, of verbal confirmation of supposed actions that just don’t happen. I have been supportive of those that should know better even if they strut around with an air of arrogance and have ignored the very essence of what our club is – the intelligence of its members.
You, the Board and those in charge at the Admin level need to take full responsibility for what is happening at our club. You have failed the stakeholders of this club, the members. Here’s why. You have constantly gone down the path of quick fixes based on appointments and decisions you have made. You have ruined the growth of this club because you have assumed the persona of arrogance and bullishness rather than humility and respect. You arrogantly believe that you hold the club in the palm of your hands to mold and shape as you see fit. We have no culture in our club that could propel us to success, only a culture of arrogance and quick fixes that only leads to failure, which you have delivered.
You cannot honestly believe that what you have done over the years has been anything short of successful on the field? Sure, you have managed to get the club out of debt, but you have taken this arrogance of your success in this area to the department of football at the club, and you have failed abysmally.
If you decide to get rid of yet another coach, what makes you so sure that the next one won’t suffer the same fate should that coach’s abilities prove not what you are looking for? Do we believe you when you say it won’t happen? Do we still support you when you say it won’t happen? I, for one, cannot.
I knew that after the first few minutes of the game, we would not win. There was no real heart to play this game that was on display last week. Does this have to fall on the shoulders of the coaches? The players? In some respects, yes, but you, the Board, the Admins must take responsibility for creating an environment that is not what the Carlton FC’s history has been. You have damaged the brand to the point where I don’t believe in your ability to change that. Because you don’t have my trust, and you don’t have my faith.
You have created a disconnect between the members and the club at a time when a connection is vital in our community. You have broken this connection because you have taken us all for granted and believed in your own arrogance.
I will say this again – I do believe in David Teague I always have since I first had a conversation with him a few years ago. I do believe that if we want to fix the underlying culture in our club, you, the Board and the Admin’s have to take full responsibility for what has happened this year and step away. No coach, whoever comes in, will ever achieve any semblance of success if they know that the same people who have given the club many quick fixes could go after them.
This year has shown me that there are those who say and do and those that just say. I’m going with the say and do and will fight for this club to regain its culture of success and stand with those who also want this. I can no longer stand with those who have no interest in speaking to its stakeholders, who have no interest in meeting with their stakeholders, and who believe in their own arrogance.
I love this club and always will, but I won’t do it in silence anymore.
I read somewhere that fate is always open to negotiation and that destiny is just what you run into when you run out of willpower. It got me thinking about the rumours, the various diatribe emanating from so-called “experts” and media “commentators.” Here, right now, the Carlton FC will determine its fate for the future. It is here and now where the Board will determine what our destiny will be, and it beggars the question: will they run out of willpower?
I know for a fact that I will get lambasted, laughed at, ridiculed, and for some, they will resort to name-calling. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care what they think or say. I’ve seen people say and post one thing, then post and say the complete opposite a week later. I’ve seen people post and say what they know as fact, which turns out to be anything but fact. So, here goes…
I am sick and tired of the constant need for quick fixes from the Carlton FC and the need for the Board and the Admins to believe that this will make the club successful again. Let’s put this scenario here…we get rid of David Teague, get someone else (and it won’t be Alistair Clarkson), and they, in turn, don’t turn the club around, so we go through the same process again, and again, and again. This becomes the culture of our club and, for that matter, a true reflection of who we are as an organization. We become a club that is a culture of being obnoxious, arrogant and a deep-seated belief that one day we will get the success we want; we just have to keep hiring and firing when our fate and destiny become too hard to overcome. We are not and will never, ever be the club that we were during our glory days! We cannot and will never go back to that time because the world has changed, the footy world has changed. So we have to now re-write our fate and destiny, and that involves a willpower that we don’t seem to have – on many levels.
I have stated and will continue to say that David Teague will be the coach to get us to the point that we want – success. But, and here is the but, he needs to have the support of assistant coaches that will assist him in this, and right now, except for Luke Power and Mathew Kreuzer, we do not. But if the Board decides based on the review that we will once more go down the path of sacking a coach before his time, given that they decided to hire him, they will show their weakness as they will have run out of willpower and believe that quick fixes are the culture of the club.
Categorically you cannot say that what happened over the weekend is all on the coach. I don’t care what others say; none of them has a direct ear or line to the club. They never have, and they never will. The players have to and must take full ownership of that performance. To say that Teague got out-coached is ridiculous. The players got out-played. There are players on the field who just did not step up or step in. They reverted back to displaying a fear of, well, the game. That is not on the coach!
I am angry, very angry, but not at the coach or most of the players. I’m more infuriated that there is a suggestion that we will once more go down the path of quick fixes and determine our destiny once more on this. Alistair Clarkson did not come into Hawthorn as a guaranteed successful coach. It took him two whole years to mold the team and those behind him to turn the team around and become a success. It took Damian Hardwick eight years to win a Premiership. After his first three years as a coach, he was given a two-year extension. In all that time, in 2010 they finished fifteenth. Over the next two years, they continued to improve. Their first finals since 2001 came in 2013. That is four years after he was hired and he didn’t win the club a Premiership until 2017, yet we are asking David Teague to achieve this in just one and half years!
The suggestion that the players have lost confidence in their coach comes from those in the media, those commentators who think they have an insight into a club when they do not. Jacob Weitering said after the game against Collingwood that the players are behind the coach and do not focus on the noise outside of the club. I would suggest we should, but that is something that, for some, won’t happen.
If we continue to have these knee-jerk reactions when the team is not going the way we expect them to go without considering other factors, then we will never be a successful club. We will never become what we all want the club to become because we just don’t have the willpower to shape our destiny. After all, when the going gets tough, the weak just walk away or, in this case, push aside and look once more for a quick fix.
Our fate is open for negotiation, and that depends on the strength of our resolve and willpower to not let quick fixes determine our destiny. I will lose respect for those who believe that this is the path to go down continually, as we have done over the past twenty years or so. I will lose confidence that those who should know better just don’t.
I am 100% behind David Teague and allowing him to run through the process he has been hired to do. I understand that there will be times when what happened on the weekend will send us spiraling down, but I also know that there will be times when we are up against the wall, and we turn it around. But I will not and never will subscribe to negotiating our fate on quick fixes. Our destiny is in the hands of the entire Carlton FC, and we should have the willpower to determine what that will be by not continually looking for quick fixes and hoping that others will be more successful.
The point of my blog is not to heap accolades or criticism on specific players or the coach. As stated before, there are plenty of voices who do just that. The point of my blog is to look at the game from a different angle and perspective, which is why this one is called Read, Watch & Listen.
While I could go on about some in the team, who stepped up over that line between losing and giving up, persistence and winning, again, that is not the point of this article. The point of this piece is that over the weekend, I read, watched and listened, and all of those things have solidified and clarified my view.
Last week I wrote about the benefits and results of what a difference a mindset can achieve. I gave an example of that win from Ash Barty, who has a mindfulness coach who has helped her achieve a lifelong dream. I was told that the article was crap, that I have no idea what I am talking about and that I’m delusional. Then I read an interview with Jack Riewoldt, who has achieved a milestone in his career. Whether you like him or not, he has been a part of a very successful club and a team that has achieved three Premierships in four years.
In the article, he said that one of his teammates was going through a difficult time, and he told them to speak to the club’s mindfulness coach. That’s right, the very same type of person is part of the culture of the Richmond FC. Irrespective of what is happening now, they have seen the immense benefits of a person who takes the players on a journey that enables them to achieve their goals by utilizing mindfulness. Her name is Emma Murray, and it makes no difference of whether you think this is “crap” or not, the fact is that it works, and it is not just footy players that utilize this, but international sportspeople, including Ash Barty.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, the USA Women’s Soccer team are just but a few. Lindsay Shaffer, Head of Sports and Fitness for Headspace in the USA, has stated that ‘it’s time to change the mindset about sports training. We need to start at the head, where all of the decisions we make on the court on the field begin.’ BOOM! A successful, a very successful sportsperson is not just one aspect, being skills, but also having a mindset of success. For some players, that just doesn’t happen.
A prime example is Tom Boyd, a very talented player who left the game for mental health issues. We cannot and should not underestimate the enormous benefits of mindfulness and what it can achieve. For those who rubbish it, step aside and look at the facts and how it is a massive component in the success of not just a person, but a club and a team and how this can and will benefit the Carlton FC. Their mindset after halftime was not to give in or give up, and this showed when we came from a 24-point deficit to a 29-point win.
This mindset spurred on the performance and determination from one player who had just experienced an emotional and heartbreaking life event. The death of a great player and person, Sergio Silvagni, affected every person involved in the Carlton FC family. From supporters, players, coaches and administrators. On a personal note, I had the privilege of speaking with Serge and his wife a few years ago while outside the MCG, waiting for the gates to open. I was so glad that I got to the ground early because it was an experience that I have never forgotten.
We talked, laughed, joked and connected in a way that I still today cannot get over. When the gates opened, we did not even know this as we continued to chat. I don’t think he knew how much this meant to me, but it did. Which is why on Sunday, when Jack Silvagni took that mark near the goal square and kicked that goal, I cried. His grandfather, who was so damn proud of him, would have been jumping around in sheer pride and joy.
The way the team got around him, was inspirational and you could see that he tried to keep his emotions in check. But he did not stop there. Watch the game again, and you could see him re-focus on the game. Directing others where to be and putting all of his efforts into the centre when taking the role of backup ruckman. Then the mark, that mark he took that resulted in a goal from Harry McKay, was one that was reminiscent not only of his grandfather but his father as well.
At the end of the game, the raw emotion that Jack Silvagni showed still makes me tear up. The way that Liam Stocker had his arm around him. The way that Eddie Betts gave him that heartfelt hug. Zac Fisher who delved deep into his chest to hug him. The players who understood what this win meant for Jack and his whole family and how he honored the memory of a great Carlton man – Serge. The photo of David Teague leaning in and speaking to Jack after the game and the look of joy and respect that Jack gives to his coach leads me to the ‘listen’ part.
Jacob Weitering took over the Captaincy as both our co-Captains were out injured. Interviewed after the game with the Peter MacCallum Cup in his hand, he said that the team, Teague and the other coaches, do not pay attention to what is being said outside of the club. They have great respect for each other, Teague and the other coaches, and know the journey they are taking together. He also said that the players themselves take the blame for the performance against Geelong. Those on social media who posted during the game that David Teague needs to be sacked, that we are a rabble of a club and that we will be getting Alistair Clarkson or Ross Lyon simply have no idea.
The players believe and support David Teague. They understand what it is going to take to make the club successful again. They do not want to continue the path of knee-jerk reactions perpetrated from outside the club who insist that David Teague is not the coach to make the club successful. Let’s be clear here. Alistair Clarkson will not be coaching another club when he leaves Hawthorn. He has stated this for years. I have heard him say this at private functions. He is a man who is proud of his words and stands by them. He clarified this at the press conference when the club announced the succession plans. He said that he owes it to his wife and family to step down. Do you really think that means he will coach another club? He has been at Hawthorn for eighteen years! He will not coach another club.
On another note, after two years at Hawthorn as coach, there were calls for him to be sacked as they had not performed the way the club hoped. Did they sack him? No! The players believed in him and what he could achieve, and he did just that. We have to do the same because I believe in David Teague and what he can achieve. As for Ross Lyon…no!
Going back to read, unfortunately, I went on social media at halftime and read what some posted. I understand their frustration, but what I don’t get is their knee-jerk reactions to a game that had not yet finished. They blasted players, the coach and called for the immediate sacking of Teague. Then when the game did, they did a 360 and glorified and praised the players and the coach!
Most supporters have stood by the club through its darkest days and knee-jerk reactions irrespective of where the club was positioned. They have not burned their memberships. They have not called for another sacking. They are tired of this lack of continuity in the club; it does not breed consistency, nor does it bring success. The game on Sunday was one filled with raw emotion and clarity. Stop with the nonsense of getting rid of a coach who has been here for over one-and-a-half years and has the backing and support of the players and the other coaches, who must have our support.
After reading, watching and listening, I support the Carlton FC. I support David Teague. I support the players. I always have and always will.
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.