Be critical, but do with it respect!

Photo courtesy of AFL

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.

Five Points!

Photo courtesy AFL

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.

3 – Sackings/Hirings/Sackings/Hirings/Sackings/Hiring.

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.

It can be done; it has shown that it can be done.


What defines me!

Photo courtesy of AFL

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!


What was gained on the weekend…

Photo courtesy of AFL

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.

Photo courtesy of AFL

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.


There is no question about timing…(Rant)

(Disclosure: this a quote I found; Crippa did not state this)

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.

(Rant over!)


Dear Carlton FC Players

Dear Carlton FC Players

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.

I believe you can do it. Now you have to.

Yours in Navy Blue

The Monogram On The Front Is More Important!

Over the past two weeks, there has so much that I have wanted to say but struggled how to say it in a rational, logical and meaningful way. Social media and the media as a whole went into overdrive with the team’s game against Collingwood. Then everyone went into more overdrive over the win against Freo.

Not writing anything, I just decided to watch, read and listen. I watched what the media “experts” said, what social media said, and listened to what others said. While some of it was justified, what was not was the appalling nature of name-calling and calls for some to be sacked because, in their mind, their abilities are just not up to it. This was aimed at players, coaches and administrators of the club. It is unnecessary to regurgitate what was said about the previous match or what is being said from this past match. The point of this piece is about the nature of what makes a supporter a true supporter.
I have been a Carlton supporter since I first arrived in Australia many, many years ago. I was astounded at this game called “footy”. I supported Carlton because the soccer team I supporter in England, where I am from, had the same nickname – Blues. I was a Chelsea supporter.

I went to nearly every game when it was called the VFL. I watched the brutality of the game and how players literally put their bodies on the line for an oval ball. But I also saw how these players played for the privilege of wearing the navy blue guernsey. Their pride in putting that top on and going on to the field was not just the belonging to a club, but the pride of actually playing for that club, the emblem and the history.

The game itself has evolved; whether it is for the good or bad, it has become something that, for some, they just can’t get their head around this. They want the game to go back to what it was back then when no matter how much the player’s body was bashed and brutally thrown around the next week, they would all start again. Given what we know now, especially with the long-term effects of concussion, we must stop looking backwards if we are to ever grow. The game has changed dramatically, some may say for the worse, but we have to accept how the game is today and the environment in which the game is played.

Social media has allowed everyone to have their say, voice their opinions, and that is fine, but the issue becomes when a line is crossed, and so-called supporters use vitriol and insidious claims and opinions to belittle players, administrators and coaches, and those who support the club no matter what.

We, as Carlton supporters, have been on a hell of a roller-coaster ride of the game over the years, yet those who are proud to wear their Carlton supporter gear, do so no matter what. We support the club through the losses and the wins. But it is a true testament to the supporter who may vent their frustration over a lack of effort. Still, it never goes to the extreme to belittle players, coaches, administrators and other supporters.

The game against Collingwood was, well, a really low point for the players, for they did not show their pride in the privilege of wearing that guernsey. Over the weekend, this was the opposite. It now has to be that every time a player goes out on the field with that top, they must read the words inscribed inside: when you put on this guernsey, the monogram on the front is more important than the number on the back.

We, as supporters, must also follow that mantra. We must support the club, the players, the coaches and administrators and each other for the pride of supporting this great club. Sure, we can vent our frustration, and sure we can have differing opinions, but not to the level where it was after the match against Collingwood. I love this club, no matter what. I may get angry, I may vent, I may even feel dejected, but I will never sink to the level that some have over these past few weeks.

I love this club!


P.S All photos courtesy of AFL; and letting me know the slogan on the top – thanks Alan Donovan 🙂


Photos courtesy of Carlton FC

Racism of any form is insidious, baseless, disgusting and shows an actual lack of intelligence. To think that making fun of someone because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background and even their religion show that the person making the “comment” has no, well, class.  Then, to publish the comments on social media where others get to see it, hoping that the offending writer will be raised in esteem by others, shows how they have no “grey matter” between their ears. 

To think that, in this regard, sportspeople have to put up with, well, idiots who are so self-absorbed that they believe by posting racist comments, they look cool, clever. Well, they don’t look either to the majority of people who see not only the comments but their names and, therefore, who they are.

Our Indigenous culture is one of the worlds, if not the worlds, oldest and most significant culture. It is one based on a love of the land, the natural order and reverence to this great land that we have the privilege to live on and in. How dare anyone belittle them, their traditions? What gives them the right to do that? Do they feel a sense, an irrational sense of superiority because they are not what others are, a different culture, color, religion? It is differences that make society so much richer when these differences are respected and revered. We, as a society, grow so much better when we embrace other cultures and religions and not ridicule them.

It is time to stop the idiots who find it clever and funny to ridicule others because of what they are – not who they are. Racism has to stop with us, the supporters of this great game and call it out when we see it at the game, on social media and in fact, anywhere. I am tired of seeing ignorant bogans making derogatory comments about our Indigenous players, players of a different religion and culture, no matter what team they are on. I am tired of seeing people make assumptions about our Indigenous people, people from other cultures and religions, because they assume that they are less than what we are.

Photo courtesy of AFLW

RACISM STOPS WITH US! We have to call it out and allow, in this respect, our players, no matter who they play for, to be respected for who they are, not what they are.  Call it out, report it and don’t just sit by and allow it.  We have a culture in our society that is so damned rich in its elements.  Let us celebrate this and acknowledge them.

So, for every player who has been a victim of racism, know that you are not alone, and we, the majority of supporters, will always stand not behind you but next to you, no matter which team you play.

To Carlton’s players who have been racially attacked – I am sorry that you have to go through your lives knowing that there are those out there who do not deserve to walk either behind, next to or in front of you. They are not worthy, not even close. But you have mine and the majority of supporter’s respect and admiration because you will not let them win by defeating you with their disgusting words. Don’t let them. You are better than they could ever hope to be!


We’re Back Baby!

Image courtesy AFL

The anticipation felt by all supporters who attended their first Victorian game for over 15 months was palpable. I know it was for me. Getting ready to head to the G was surreal. As I packed my bag, got out my top, it all seemed like it was an out-of-body experience.

Entering the ground, finding my seat, catching up with people not seen for quite some time, I waited for the first siren to go to start the 2021 season. This had been a long time coming.

We are all aware that Carlton, finishing in the bottom 8, would have a tough time against a multi-Premiership side, with one of the best players in the competition that we have seen for a long time. The clash between Richmond was always going to be a tough one, and I hoped, really hoped, that if we were serious about top eight contention, we had to come out fighting for every ball from the first bounce. We had to fight for every mark, every tackle – everything. Did we do this? Yes, we did. Unfortunately, we just could not maintain that intensity to the end.

But what was really significant for me, for the team, was that despite some costly errors, for those in the media and social media who saw these errors as symptomatic of the playing group, they did not really see the game and the progress that has been made.
The discussion about Harry McKay’s fluff at the goal square was one that an experienced player could have possibly rendered a different outcome, could have, not definite, but some still have a go at him for that fluff. They also seem to think, after only one round, that he needs to go given that he was outmanoeuvred for most of the game by a very seasoned and finely honed in defence team from, let’s say it again, a Premiership side. What he will learn from this game that it is not doom and gloom, for it is only round 1; he will learn how to overcome a defence such as he had to endure and win in the end. He is an intelligent and serious footballer who has no trouble taking the game on. He needs to learn how to take that next step and become a super forward that I know and many others can see he will become.

Image courtesy AFL

I try not to discuss individual players as many others do that, but I try and see the game in its entirety. Yet, I cannot go on without mentioning the fantastic get of Oscar McDonald, who was subbed in for an injured Jack Silvagni, who, might I say, so far, is playing better this year than I have seen in a while. He is playing freer and more aggressively. The club’s decision to sign-on McDonald was a revelation, for it gave us another player who can literally move around the ground and plug in the holes where needed, especially seeing as he can kick goals.

What I saw from the game was a team that is taking the slow and steady steps to become a top side. No team can become a top team unless their players develop, grow, learn and experience what it means to be a top team. This takes the form of learning what to do and what not to do during the game and to come out and play every damn quarter and leave nothing in the tank. The team did this, and you could see that for the first round of the season, we worried Richmond. This is what every fan, every sports supporter of any game, should be looking at. We need to look not at the disappointment of losing to a multi-Premiership team, but how the players played the game for the most part – on their terms.

The team that will eventually be successful is not the team that blasts every other team in every game. It will be the team that may start off slow, but towards the end, when it really counts, that they can step over that line that separates the bottom from the top. Because with every quarter, with every match, they gain more experience and understanding of what it is going to take to become a top team. Carlton did that against Richmond.

I have no voice from cheering and yelling at the umpires because, to be honest, it was atrocious, but that is what going to the footy is all about and what I and others have sorely missed.

The season’s opening game could not have been more exciting and showed what the team is building, which was on display on Thursday night. With every game, we will become a better team. We saw it on Thursday night. Can’t ask for more than that.


P.S. There are those on social media who believe that Carlton is back to its old ways of the past and that it is time to get rid of some players and even the coach. These people do not see the growth that the club has gone through and will continue to. It took years, not a few, for Clarkson to make Hawthorn the team they were. It took years for Hardwick to make Richmond the team they are now. We have to allow that same process with Teague, and I believe, genuinely believe, that he is the coach to make this team a top team.

The Signs Are There People…

Photo Courtesy of AFL

Now that I am out of ‘Facebook-Blocked-Me-Because-My-Blog-Was-Considered-News’ (go figure), I can now write and comment on the practice match between Carlton and Essendon that was shown live (for members only).  I am not going to debate the question of whether it should have been available to all members or not; I’m going to state my views on the match itself. 

First and foremost, we should and must agree that a match played as a practice game is not an important one in terms of winning or losing. It is a match that allows players to gain some match fitness, game tactics and generally seeing what the new boys produce and what the old ones, after maybe a slow year for them, are now capable of producing.  To be honest, while I did want Carlton to win (we cannot lose, EVER to Essendon), I would not have been too upset if we didn’t.  Judging by comments before the game, some said that our entire season resides on the back of this game! That some were even suggesting that if we lose, they would not renew or even contemplate their status regarding their membership is rather extreme and do not really understand these games’ nature. (Do not get me started on those that complained about what they received for their membership in terms of the pack, as that is not the reason why anyone should join a club…anywhere!).  Let me be perfectly candid here, the ONLY matches that count starts on Thursday 18th March at the MCG. Those matches are the ones that matter. That being said, here’s my take on the practice match.

What I noticed first was seeing both Adam Saad and Zac Williams. When they played for their other respective clubs, I watched them but did not take much stock; they were the opposition. Seeing them play in the Navy Blue, I was more than suitably impressed. Saad’s agility and speed around the ground was mightily impressive.  His capacity to see the game and the ball from where it was to where it would be going was a revelation, really.  His playing skills are what our midfield had been lacking. The passage in the game when he took the ball from the centre to quickly move it down to our forward line, which resulted in a goal, had me stopping in my chair in sheer…what-the! As I was in the office, there was no-one around to high-five me, and I did have to keep my yells to a quiet whisper of YEAH! I can see what he will bring to the team and how he will make our midfield so much stronger.

Zac Williams showed how much he just loves being at the club and how his playing level has just turned up a notch.  He was always good at GWS, but at Carlton, it is on a different level.  Here is where I firmly believe: a good player at a club where they are not 100% happy or invested in, has the potential to be a magnificent player at a club they not only support but love and are willing to become better and better to prove to the club and supporters, that the right choice was made to get them there.  Williams is that player.

Panic set in when we saw Harry McKay hobble off the ground, and we were subsequently told that he had just rolled his ankle. He was seen walking normally, yet people on social media called this the ‘end’ of his season. He played a great game and showed signs of being more consistent in front of goals and more agile around the ground.

His body looks fitter, more robust, and he will fast become someone that other clubs will fear.  He needs to learn how to shake off opponents, but with more time and more experience, that will come. As long as a player such as himself understands how to convert marks or kicks into goals, the rest will take care of itself. His improvement and confidence are growing, and this match showed that. The same can be said about a player who has hit media headlines for his exponential improvement – Paddy Dow.

As with Jacob Weitering, I have always loved Paddy Dow since he played his first senior game.  I loved his explosiveness around the ground, whether it be a tackle, a mark or his running ability with the ball and his kicks at goal.  Then he, like Weiters, petered out. Those who think they know better believed he should be traded off, gotten rid of, thrown on to the heap of players that could, but just didn’t; I never subscribed to that as I never believed Weiters should have been traded when he went through the same thing. Paddy Dow played a game that sees him not only moving faster but with more skill. It seems he has matured in his playing abilities, and we got to see glimpses of what he can be capable of once the season starts. 

Crippa played both in the midfield and down forward, and I loved that it seems that he now has others who can fill in the main midfield slot and free him up to become the player that will be one of the greatest in terms of what he can bring to a match.  (We mustn’t focus on whether he has signed or not a contract extending his playing at Carlton, for that will take away his focus on making Carlton, a club that he loves, become successful, which he has said all along.)

I do not want to name every player for this match, just a few for what I saw on Thursday was a cohesive, dynamic team that knew their teammates and what needed to be done.  I watch a game where the team not only enjoyed playing but playing together.  We can take from this match that the club is on track to reach, where I believe it will reach the top 8 when the season starts. 

Do not be fooled into thinking that every practice match will be an illustration of the season ahead, for that is not the role of these matches to procure. It is a way of gelling the team together, putting players into positions that they may not have been used to, but are relishing. It is a way of formulating tactics for the start of the 2021 season. That is what we must be focusing on.  We will lose some, but we will win more if we concentrate on what matters – the start of season 2021.

I, for one, am excited at where the team seem to be heading.  We have the players, we have the skills, and we have the depth to be a top 8 team. I saw a glimpse of that in the practice match. When we take on St Kilda in the Community Series match, I want to see the same energy irrespective of the outcome. I want to see players give it their all for the pride of wearing the Navy Blue; not everything, but just enough to show the footy world that Carlton will be not tapping or knocking on the door to the top 8, but banging!

Good signs, people, good signs!


Photo Courtesy of Carlton FC

P.S Out of everyone in this photo, Teague’s response is epic!

P.P.S Fisher and Ed…the tale of the hair! Love it!