That Game…Dear Carlton Players!

Team GWS Game

It’s taken me quite a few hours and days of lying awake and thinking about that game against GWS and in this article, which I will refer to it as ‘that game’.  Then came the barrage of comments, and posts from all and sundry.

Just to be clear, I am angry as hell at the lack of performance by players at ‘that game’.  I travelled to Sydney to see the game and along with others, we showed up to support the club and team.  To dish out that performance is, quite honestly an insult to the club and the top they represent.  The moment they step onto a field for a game, they must play not for themselves, not for the coach, not for the club, but for the team, and the supporters who turn up each week to cheer them on.  They must, I repeat MUST understand this.

Now there are calls to sack Bolts, in the middle of a season. Players are getting abused on social media together with the Board and all the coaches.  Now we have a right to be angry, frustrated, upset and even wanting answers to the question – why?  But we do not have the right to turn to social media and send out rude, disparaging and aggressive posts directed towards a player on any level.

We saw in the past week the retirement of a player, Tom Boyd, who at 23 years old and could have become one of the greats of the game. He retired because of injury and because of a struggle with mental health.  This is a very, very sad thing to say for a person of his age because we know that he is not the only one and won’t be the last.  The pressure of being an AFL player is intense and the belief from those on social media to think that their comments don’t influence the mental psyche of a person shows their complete lack of empathy or intelligence. The cowards that post these messages aimed at coaches, players and clubs must realise the damage they are doing, but perhaps this is their aim. But what they don’t understand is how this is damaging the brand that is the AFL.

There are players who I dislike intently (not from Carlton), but I would never come out and say disparaging remarks on social media to make myself look so clever and great. There are players that I have no respect for whatsoever, but this is my view and even while I’m sure others would agree, it serves no real purpose other than the person making that comment to feel better for themselves.  This is what is happening now on the social media pages that are Carlton based and on radio station pages, and the AFL.

After the weekend and that game, the flood gates opened with a massive backlash towards the coach. I feel that it is being misdirected. So, in that vein, here is a letter to the players.

 

Dear Carlton Players

There is nothing that I can say to make the pain of that game go away, because as a supporter who travelled to Sydney (I’m from Melbourne), together with others who travelled, what you feel we feel it too.  I don’t understand what happened given the week before.  We know you have the ability and capacity to be the hard, determined, no-holes-barred players that pursue success,  so what happened?

I don’t subscribe to the fact that it is the coach or coaches, and it is theirs alone that must shoulder the responsibility.  You are a group of talented and for some, inexperienced, players given a great opportunity that many would relish for.  I understand that for some, you are still coming to grips with the high-level intensity of the professional game that is the AFL. But you are trained, have the abilities otherwise you would not have been signed, so, you must shoulder some of the responsibility of the standard of gameplay that was shown at that game.

But a week is a long time in sports, and everything can change moving forward and the future of who you are as a player, how the club, the team, the coaches are now perceived is in your hands and yours alone.  You must not now be a player that jogs along, but one who runs with everything they have, and with determination, grit and a bit of ‘mongrel’ in your blood, change this.

You must be a player that lays it all on the line this weekend because that is all a supporter wants to see. We want to see you never give up the chase, never back away from a tackle, or a contested mark; never compromise the club by putting in a lack-lustre performance.  But you must play for the team, the club and most importantly for the privilege of wearing that guernsey and for the supporters.

This weekend, the ball is in your court and your hands and all you have to do is just run with it.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Imagine this…

You bought a car, a second-hand car, it is flashy, shiny and works wonderfully.  You take it to the mechanics after a few months, because something isn’t quite right with it.  He tells you that you just need an oil change and some minor servicing.  So, you do that.  You drive away, the car running smoothly.  Then after a while, it just stops. Nothing works. You get it towed to a different mechanic who tells you that it needs major work as the previous mechanic put in dodgy and used parts and that you got ripped off.  Furious, you ask how much this will set you back. He quotes a figure and you collapse from the shock. But you love this car and don’t really bother about going to do your due diligence and get a second opinion, because you just love this car, so you get the work done.

car flag

Then a few weeks later the care engine catches fire. As you manage to escape, the fire is put out, but the damage has been done. But you still love this car and you just cannot give up on it.  You know that it will take patience and care with the right mechanic and body repair shop to get this car back to what it was.  You know that given the age of the car, you will need to lovingly allow for time to get the parts that work together in order to get this car to where you want it to be.

Why have I written this? Well, it is a great analogy for the Carlton FC.  The club back in its hey-day was flashy, shiny and worked brilliantly.  Then something just wasn’t quite right and we got hit with the salary-cap scandal.  The club chooses a coach with no real outside experience in coaching and does reasonably well, but not enough for sustained longevity, so you get rid of him, then because the club just wants a quick, but expensive fix, you hire a coach that is really only after one thing – his ability to be considered one of the greatest coaches.

After that doesn’t work, and a fire has been started at the club that shows how things are just not working out, the club realizes this and takes the re-building of the framework of the club from the ground up.  You understand that this will take time, patience and getting the right pieces together to work together. You understand that sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t. You understand that with anything new, it has to develop and mold into the framework of the club.  You understand that for all the pieces to work together takes time and patience and that getting the right parts in, which may not always happen at once.

On the weekend (and I’m not going to delve into the absolute terribly umpiring as I believe that a team must win in spite of the umpires; shows and develops character and if for another time); the team, a bottom team played against one of the top teams and nearly went over the line to win.  They fell short in the last 10 minutes, but it gave Collingwood a shock and the footy world, for no one saw this coming given the previous week’s debacle.  I am not saying that this loss was something that we should be proud of, or accept, I’m saying that we are getting there. After a long, long time in getting this mechanical beast of a club to work in a way that is cohesive and dynamic, we are getting there.

The panic call for sackings, the paranoia that some players are leaving, the call to disrupt what has been a slow re-build is one that will have no other consequence then setting the club backward. It will be like taking out what does not work right now and putting in something that could, maybe or possibly work without looking into it more.

We are getting there and I know it is frustrating and annoying that we are not there yet, but we will get there. The team believes it, the coaches believe it, we should too.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

A line drawn…footy/football!

In the past few days, we have seen two quite remarkable headlines.  One from the Tottenham Hotspurs English Football Club and their incredible win over Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League and the statement made by Patrick Cripps.

Crippa

Crippa went on the radio and has said has “immense loyalty to the Blues”.  He has stated that “I’m from a pretty loyal family, and I never usually shy away from things when they get tough.”  He then stated that “I know once we get there, building something from the bottom-up with your best mates is going to be pretty rewarding.”  He reiterated that he would much rather garnish success from the ground up than slotting into a team that right now could possibly win.  He has also come out and stated that he shoulders some of the blame for the loss against North Melbourne last weekend and that he has complete faith and belief in the coaching staff.

Spurs

Then Tottenham’s manager (as that is what the Head Coach of a club is called), Mauricio Pochettino said that it was the players who deserve all the praise and accolades, not him.  He said that it was the players who are the real heroes, not him.  He is a manager who has been on the outer of the Football world over there and has categorically stated that it was the players who rose and played their hearts out.  It is the players who had that mindset, in a year plagued with injuries and on the downward spiral, that just did not give up.

As Carlton are in a situation this year like Tottenham, but it is up to the players to determine whether or not they let this current situation define them.  It is obvious that Crippa won’t and that the team now won’t. To lay sole blame on the shoulders of Bolts and the coaches is, I believe, incorrect.   It is up to the player of where they now stand in terms of what they want to achieve and the lack-lustre performance from last weekend was probably one of the biggest learning experiences for every player, including Crippa. But for him to come out now and state what he did, is proof of how much integrity and passion he has not only for the game but for the club. 

On SEN, Tim Watson stated that what Crippa said was one of the most pinnacle moments not only in Crippa’s career but a line is drawn in the sand for the players.  Crippa understands that the players must shoulder the blame for what happened last weekend, no-one else.  Pochettino took the incredible win off his own shoulders and placed them firmly on to his players.  Each both understand who has the capacity to achieve a success they all want – to win.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Gutted! Angry! But…

After the debacle of a match on Sunday, I have been struggling to understand the ‘why?’. Why did it happen given the previous matches? I just sat there with others and we just could not understand what was happening. Given the response by the club and the team, I know that they are feeling just as confused and angry as we are.  So, in true form of the previous article, here is my response.

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Dear Carlton Football Club,

I don’t understand what happened at the game against a team that in all respects, we should have won. Now I understand that with four players of senior expertise and experience, did not play – Kreuz, Simmo, Brackets and Neuman, that our midfield and backline, even our forward line, was going to suffer, but not to that extent.

I struggled to comprehend how it happened. Then came the barrage of social media abuse and comments and calls to sack Bolton and the Board, when only a few weeks ago, these same people said nothing. They did not praise Bolt or the Board when we beat the Bulldogs, they were silent. It seems that the only time they stand up is when there is something negative to say about the club, its direction and its current situation.

Now I understand what is going on at the club and what everyone is trying to build, it doesn’t mean I feel disappointed with the outcome on the weekend, or angry, but I understand. I understand that the club is trying to build depth and a winning attitude and to play the game their way – aggressive, dynamic, strong and determined footy.  It didn’t on the weekend, the team played scared.

Then came the barrage of comments from the media, the so-called experts of the game, when for the most part, they are really batting to their own tune, their own agenda’s.  The audacity for some to suggest that they know and understand what is required and needed in a club where they have no inside knowledge or understanding and their sole purpose is to get more ‘likes’ on social media or more ‘comments’ made.  To make the ‘news’ so they can seem to be clever or knowledgeable to their peers, and those that believe in what they say as being gospel and to disparage the team and the club at any opportunity.

So, where do you go from here?  So, for me, here is what I want.  I want the team to know that there are those in the footy world that understand what the club is endeavouring to build, from the ground up. I want the team to know that despite this horrific weekend and the pain that they must feel, that this must spur them on this upcoming weekend.  I want the team to know that even though they are sitting near the bottom, it makes no difference where our opponent sits, it is up to them, the players, to make a stand and literally say, (pardon the language) ‘fuck ‘em.’

I want the players to know that from the first bounce of the ball at the game against Collingwood, the past has gone, what we own is now.  That it is up to us, the players to determine the outcome.  I want them to know that at the end of the game, no matter what they gave it everything. That from now on, the game against North Melbourne will never occur again.

If they do that if they promise that to the supporters, I can guarantee, that in the end, success will come. But you have got to want it, not just ‘jog along’ as some players did. I don’t want to again feel the way I felt last weekend and I’m sure you don’t either – but it’s all up to you, the players to make that decision, we the supporters, can only watch.

I was told last week, that people love my positivity, my optimism.  Some have even said that it is naïve and misplaced, but I don’t believe that negativity achieves anything other than more negativity and it is definitely not misplaced.  I am a passionate and proud Carlton member and will continue to be so, but I don’t really want another repeat of last weekend.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Dear Carlton Football Club…

Dear Carlton Football Club

 

Together with my fellow Victorian Carlton Cheer Squad crew, a few of us travelled to Launceston to the game against Hawthorn, who had won only two games.  We were privileged to have the Carlton supporter group from Tasmania in our midst and it was with great excitement and anticipation that we headed to the game after that amazing win over the Bulldogs the week before and after the devastating loss against the Gold Coast Suns the week before.

The first half of the game was everything that we wanted from the playing group. The ability to move the ball around, tackle, mark and kick goals were reminiscent of the win the week before.  McKay was showing how he has grown since arriving and his ability to move around the ground given his height is something that is amazing to watch.  Cunningham back in the squad showed how much of a valuable player he is and how much he is needed in the team.  I don’t think that we give enough credit to the player known as Daisy and he shows week after week how much he is part of the team and how he gives to the young playing group.  Jones shows up every week and gives the backline a very much needed grunt in his capability of stopping the ball and the opposing forward. But we all know how Hawthorn have been touted as being the ‘come-back’ kings of the game, along with Geelong and they came back in the third quarter and from then on, things went a bit pear-shaped and with four players down, the boys tried and ultimately failed in the last few minutes of the match.

Hazza 2

Bolts stated in his press conference that he was going to lose sleep over this loss. While I understand his statement, I don’t think he has any reason to lose sleep.  Now, this is my view and opinion, but I can categorically state that for me, the game was lost because of two things. One is the loss of major players in our structure – Simmo and Kreuz.  By having them sit on the bench, the structure of the rest of the players had to be altered to counter-act their loss and this was proven during the second half of the game and together with the second factor, inexperience, we could not get our groove back.

Cunners

We must understand that for the many of the players while they have been playing for a few years, they are still developing into major, leading senior players.  They just didn’t have the experience in how to stop Hawthorn in the final stages of the match with two of our most senior and experienced players watching on the bench.  I give full credit and respect for the group that in the end we only lost by 5 points. I don’t subscribe to the ‘what if’s’ as we can learn from the mistakes, but we should never harbour on them.

With each and every game, these youngsters are only going to gain more by playing together as a group and learn from mistakes.  We did not get thrashed as we would have in the past. We did not give up and let the game pass us by as we would have in the past. We didn’t stop as we would have in the past.  We tried and tried and, in the end, the sheer weight of having no ability to swap players from the inter-change bench got the better of us. I am saddened and really hoped that the siren would have gone just a few seconds more after Harry’s mark, but it was not to be.  But I have the utmost respect and admiration of the group for all that they gave during the game and they should not in any way hang their heads down.

I am proud of the direction the club is taking and the growth of the playing group and with that, we are on the right road to success and continual success.  We must not let this loss over-shadow what this group is capable of achieving and will achieve.  I see it on the ground and know that with just a little bit of time, maintaining success will come.

So, Carlton Football Club, I am proud to put on the Navy Blue for every match,  travel around the country and know that with just a little bit more time and just a little bit more experience, the devastating loss that you all feel right now will fade into a memory where we will look back on this time and say, wow, look at what we have achieved.

Heads up boys, we are sniffing the smell of continual success that is still being baked in the oven of experience and elevated skills.  In a scene from the movie Hook, Peter Pan looks at his children and they say to him, ‘I believe in you’; and I do.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Yours in Navy Blue

Debby

I Learned Six Things on Sunday!

I learned six things from Sunday’s match. Well not actually learned, but witnessing defining moments that I have firmly believed in for a while.  You can agree, disagree but they are really undeniable, in my view.

Silvagni

1 – Jack Silvagni. I have always felt that Jack has been under the microscope of his surname and while he does have the abilities, this has been a hindrance to him. Being compared to the greatness of your grandfather then father places a huge rock on your back that will take some time to shove off.  I have watched the game against the Bulldogs, many, many, many, many times and his movement around the ground was better than I have seen from him in a long time.  His role in assisting with our goal scorers, his ability to get down on the ground and fight for the ball, was something I knew he had it in him and knew that he just needed more development. Sure, he is not there yet, but that was one hell-of-a-game he played and with time will only get better and better.

Murph

2 – Marc Murphy. I understand why Murph took hold of the Captaincy and why he relinquished it this year. I also knew that his stepping down as Captain would free him up to be the player, we all know he is.  His game this season so far has been better than I have seen for a while and on Sunday, his game against the Bulldogs was magnificent.  His quiet leadership and skill on the day is something all clubs need. That quiet determined little gun of a midfielder who can be anywhere and everywhere and just snap a goal.  His goal was the stuff I love about footy. The quick off-the boot kick and landing the ball between the goal-posts.

Fisher

3 – Zac Fisher.  Watching the replay over and over, this player is well, downright outstanding. He is like the fly that just won’t give up on the picnic table full of food. He just buzzes around, head down and goes about his business. He was everywhere and his kick at goal was majestic.  I have always loved watching Fisher play, the way he plays, curved over and just goes for it. Sunday’s match was pivotal in showing what an amazing player this kid is.

Gibbons

4 – Michael Gibbons. A player is given the chance to play in AFL footy and to show the club how grateful he is in being given this chance came to the fore on Sunday.  He never gave up, never wavered in his role and his goal was like sending thank you cards to the club and supporters for believing in him.  I loved the story behind getting him and I love how he is showing why we got him.

Kruezer

5 – Matthew Kreuzer. Without a doubt, without a shadow of a doubt, the Big Man, the Tractor, is one of those players that every single club need and for some, just don’t have. That quiet, unassuming and ego-less player who is vital in the clearances and still has that ability to move around the ground and come down from his lofty height and get the ball and player on the ground. He was magnificent on Sunday. His presence allowed Casboult, Hazza, Jones to be more dynamic around the ground, which they were.

Casboult

That leads me to the final one: 6 – Levi Casboult. For me watching Casboult is a bit like going to a religious service and I’m not religious at all. When he has a shot on goal, you all hold hands and pray that he slots it through.  He has one of the best grabs in the AFL, to my mind. His ability to mark the contested ball is like watching a magnet grab hold of a metallic object.  The ball just sinks into his mitts.  Then when he lines up for a goal, he has in the past fluffed them.  His role in the win on Sunday must never be understated, he was incredible and I’m glad that he is back in the side.

I’m not going to go on about the rest of the team as we all know how amazing they were, but these six were for me, ones that really stood out as players who stepped in and stepped up and who for some, have either gone under the radar or for some, believe should just not be in the side.

What is exciting is that now we are starting to see the fruits of what being patient and developing a playing group with skills and depth.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Four Quarters of Great Footy!

group1

For the Easter weekend, my family and I head to Bryon Bay for Bluesfest and I know that it means missing a game of footy and as dedicated Cheer Squad member, it really pained me to miss this one. But given the time of the match, I was able to watch it live in our apartment and to those that were in the surrounding rooms, I humbly do not apologize for the noise I made during the game, the spectacular goals by Hazza and would you believe it – Casboult.  I do not apologize for yelling when Walshy kicked the goal that took us over the 100 mark or the tears of joy when knowing that the boys dug deep, played four quarters of great footy and reaped the rewards.

For the past months, I have stated that I believe in what Bolts and the club are doing in terms of building a group of players that have the stamina, talent, and ability to take us up the ladder. I have witnessed over these months those that simply do not see this.  I have stated that for the first time since the sacking of Malthouse, who as I have said before, decimated the club; the club has taken the road of an actual rebuild. Of getting rid of players that simply just do not stack up.  I’m not going to go into the whys and whys of Eddie Betts leaving, what’s done is done.

The club swept out the cobwebs of disunity, fractionalization, and players who were just in it for the sake of being part of a club and didn’t really put in when the time came to play at a senior level. I have said from the start that once the club mechanisms are in place not only in terms of players but coaches and administrators, things will change.

sps

Bolts and the team have been patient in structuring the team and those around them to ensure that the playing group becomes a force in the competition.  Last year we were getting thrashed, this year we were beaten, but not thrashed, and last week’s game I believe was a catalyst for the group and Sunday’s match proved just that.

When you watch it on TV the perspective you get is enormous because you see the whole ground and what I saw was a different group of players from last week. They came out firing and stunned not only the footy world but the Bulldogs. I saw passages of play that were quick, calculated and determined. I saw players step up and step in.  SPS took hold of his role in the game and played in a way that we always thought he was capable of. His game was staggering and his movement around the ground was athletic and agile.  His role in becoming the ‘wing-man’ for Crippa was beautiful to watch.

But for me, while the team played like a well-oiled machine, with just a few hiccups that over time will iron out, it was the inclusion of Kroooz that made a huge difference. His pivotal role in the ruck and around the ground allowed others such as Jones, Casboult, and Hazza to be freed up in their specific roles. Jones is becoming an incredible player down back and with Weiters, proved to be a lynch-pin in our defense.

I have stated and will state again that I believe Jack Silvagni will be a great player but needs a bit more time to develop. His role in the match was a step in the right direction and his role which allowed him to move around the ground was pivotal in some of the plays during the game.  He was in the same position as Paddy Dow is now and I believe that with Dow, he needs to continue to be molded in the seniors. He is a different player than Silvagni and does not have the stigma of a name and I believe that he will only develop more in the seniors than in the VFL. We need his type of player in our mid-field.

This win while is bloody amazing, we still have a bit to go in terms of development, but what we saw on Sunday was a step forwards in this respect.  We must not go down the path that the Bulldogs went down and are now showing how much of a one-hit wonder of a team they are. I don’t want to be a Premiership one year then floundering down the bottom years later. I don’t want to be a team that has been touted as being top eight material such as Melbourne, then prove everyone wrong. I don’t want impatience for success to define us, I want longevity and if this means taking time to develop players, then so be it. I want Carlton to be dominant once more for a long time.  We saw on Sunday what the team is capable of achieving and while there will be other setbacks or other losses, you cannot say that we are not heading in the direction of eventual and continual success.

It was great to see, great to cheer and great to win and it was damn great to prove to those that only see the negative and not the growth of the club and the playing group, sink slowly back into their holes.  Now it is the time for the players to keep up that momentum. I believe they can.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

We had it…we lost it…but there is hope!

Brendon Bolton

As the siren went on the Gold Coast game, I felt guttered, despondent, shocked and every other emotion. I just didn’t understand what happened. It was a sheer case of wow! Just plain and simple WOW! Then I thought about it overnight and read the comments on social media, both the negative and the positive and while this match, this loss probably hurts the most so far this year there are positive lessons and aspects of the game that have to be taken into consideration.

Firstly, this time last year we would not have lost by mere points, but by goals – huge-overpowering-deflated number of goals.  So, in that respect, we have improved immensely. There are players who last year did not really perform to their fullest capacity and some who are just needing to take a little more time to mature into players that I personally believe they will become. Jacob Weitering was a player who came to the club with great potential then petered off in his second year, last year. This year we are seeing the rejuvenation of what will be a great player for the club in the backline. He is becoming such an outstanding player on the field that it has been hard to fault him and in the game against the Gold Coast, he was one of the best players on the field. He still needs to grow a bit more, but time is on his side in that respect. Then we have Liam Jones who played his heart out and deserved a win for that alone.  Daisy Thomas is proving to be a player that is getting more and more love from supporters with each match because of his input in the game and especially in this weekend’s game.

Then we have players such as Paddy Dow who last year was an incredible player. Full of amazing potential and game-skill. This year, he is suffering what I call the Second-Year-Yipps.  He is suffering exactly what Weitering suffered from last year. He needs a bit more time to develop along with another player who has been in the media these past few days for what some commentators say should happen.

Although he didn’t play in the Gold Coast game, apparently Jack Silvagni has been banded about and told that for his benefit, Carlton needs to get rid of him.  I disagree – totally. I see a lot more potential than probably others see and he is the type of player who given more time, with more maturity, will grow to become a great player.

The thing that some commentators are missing is that no matter where Jack plays, he will still have the surname of Silvagni. He will still be compared with his father and grandfather. He will be a better person and player by staying at Carlton and developing and proving everyone wrong because I believe he will. He has the capacity but is just not ready yet.  Some players take time to develop and grow not only in maturity but in their bodies as well.  I firmly believe that Jack Silvagni will be one of those players.

The issue surrounding the call to get rid of Bolton is ludicrous, ridiculous and downright – well stupid. So, getting rid of the coach after only four rounds is a great thing? So, putting the club into a position of more turmoil is a great thing? What some people are simply not understanding is that Bolton had to take a club that was decimated and start over.  He had to re-build (and I know people hate this word) from the bottom. From the culture of the club to the culture of the team. He had to balance the makeup of the team with what he had available. This year is the first year that for the first time since he took the reins that he has the foundations of a team that has the capacity to win games.  The change in the atmosphere of the club as a whole has changed. It is not the same club it was four years ago; it is better. Sure, there are areas that need more improvement, but that will come.

I understand the anger, frustration that supporters are feeling, I feel it too, but I do not want to go down the knee-jerk reaction path we have done in the past. I want to maintain a solid foundation within the club and the team that will lead us not to one success, but more. This cannot be achieved if when the going gets tough, we kick out the coach. We have the core group of talent in the playing group, we just need a little bit more tweaking and just a little bit more maturity.

I believe that by the end of the season, we will surprise everyone, including those supporters who believe in knee-jerk reactions which they believe will solve the problem.  History has proven it doesn’t work.

I understand how supporters are feeling, but unlike some who feel that all is doom and gloom at the club, I don’t. The club is heading towards success, it’s just going to take a little bit more time.  As I have said before, I don’t want to be a club that has one success, then nothing. I want to be the club that has success after success after success and is a feared club in the AFL and given what has gone on in the past, this is going to take time. More time than we would like, but it will take time.

That’s my take.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Disappointed…but…

BoltonIt’s been a while since I last wrote and this is only because of one factor – I was sick and it was not from Carlton’s performance, far from it.  The game against Sydney, I watched from the comfort of home even though I much rather have been at the game, but it did allow me to see the entire game from a different perspective.  Was I disappointed in the end result – absolutely, was I disappointed in how the team fared in the middle of the game – absolutely; am I depressed in the state of the team ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Social media went ablaze with some supporters stating that the team has not progressed or that Bolton is the right coach and some have incredulously stated that James Hird should take over!  I really, really don’t think that some understand what it is going on at the club and what the long-term plan is.

We have played three games this year against two sides that were in the top 8 last year and a team that is touted to be in the top 8 this year. Last year if had played these opponents we would have been smashed – in all games, we weren’t.  What the club and Bolton are building in the team is a group of players that have longevity in the game and the club to ensure long-term success that will hopefully render a Premiership.  They are not building a team that rises one year then falters the next – Bulldogs, or Fremantle or even this year – Richmond.

These teams are ones that have either won a Premiership or come close then falter in the next few years.  Richmond has lost some of their top players and the team does not have the depth in their group to counter that loss.  Do we want that? NO! I want to be in the same position as Hawthorn and even, dare I say it – Geelong, where they lose a few of their stars and can still win games.  In order to achieve this depth in the team, it takes time.

The suggestion that Bolton does not have what it takes to take a team to the top is really not very insightful – really.  He has had to re-build a club that has been decimated.  Some people say that they are sick and tired of hearing the word ‘re-build’ but that is because it has been bandied about but never really actioned. With Bolton it was.  He had to move the pieces of the chessboard that is a club, around to ensure that in the end, he can have not only the coaches required but the players to ensure that success is imminent.  This takes time!

Look at Melbourne, who were supposed to be Premiership contenders this year, how are they doing?  They look anything but Premiership material.

I was disappointed that we could not take home the four points on the weekend, as there were moments when we looked so close, but on reflection, we are on the right track.  We did not lay down and give up as we would have in the past.  We fought, it was just not enough. We cannot expect a meteoric rise up if we are not prepared to pay the price the next year.  We need to have a slow, steady and consistent growth in the group to reach the top and stay there.  That is the only way the Carlton FC will become a force once more. Anything else and we are doing our club a great disservice.

Let’s be disappointed, let’s be frustrated and a little impatient, but let’s remember the end goal – sheer dominance in the game for a long time – that is what I want and we are getting there.

#BOUNDBYBLUE!

Ali quote

Determination-Persistance-Tenacity!

 

Round One of the AFL season has come and the results in a few games have overwhelmingly stunned the footy world.  Carlton’s match against a top-eight team did not get the result that we probably all hoped we would get. Yet by the end of the round, we were actually better than a lot have thought and commented on. Why? Because in spite of the first quarter, we played a better match and scored better than teams that for most commentators were either going to be in the top 8 or were Premiership material.

Now I know this is only the first round and as the season moves forward, teams get better, so it is possible that Essendon won’t ‘bomb’ out or that North won’t ‘jump’ to the bottom. But given what they have shown, or haven’t shown, you would have to ask…can they come back from the quagmire of humiliation?

Carlton, on the other hand, showed that despite a shocking first quarter, the players did not let that define or stop them and we came close at one point where we were only 13 points away from the lead.  The players didn’t give up, they just ran out of steam towards the end.

I said during the first quarter, that in the second one, the boys will play a better and less scrappy game. You have to realize that this is the first major game in front of a big crowd, against a previous year’s Premiership side and we lost momentum in the fourth quarter.  But the signs are there that weren’t before. There are players who have gained not only confidence but stamina and playing ability that they lacked last year. We have gained seasoned players who will give this young playing group more depth on the ground. We have to acknowledge that the team is now shaping up to be a decent team that still needs maturing and developing and that will happen during the season when they play more and more together.

I watched the Essendon and GWS game and Essendon were just a fragmented group of players who could not for the life of them get into a cohesive game plan and North Melbourne are in the same boat. Here they were touted as being top 8 material and they still might, but right now they look anything like that.  Sitting in the bottom four are four teams that no-one thought would be there and Carlton are sitting 14, a place again, no-one thought would happen.

The question now to be asked is what will Carlton do now?  They must utilize their position and the resulting outcomes from this round and be bolstered by the fact that the team was not that bad in comparison to other previous so-called top teams. They must understand that Round One was better than first thought and that the playing group as a whole can only become stronger and more focused when they take on Port Adelaide. But they must, I mean must go into the PA game feeling a sense of empowerment that they have the tools to overcome a loss if they really want it.  To prove that, they must look at the girl’s team and see how they became a single unit pursuing a single goal – to fight and run until the final siren.

Carlt Adel

Being at the girls game and see how sheer determination and the ability to focus on the team getting through was inspiring. That through everything that went on during the week, they pushed that to the curb and concentrated on the task ahead – to win, and boy did they do that.

I am stoked that this weekend I will be traveling to Adelaide to see the boys and then the next day, watch the girls in the Grand Final. A team that won a wooden spoon last year, to be playing in a final is momentous. It should send a signal to the boys that what you can achieve if you play without giving up and play as a team, no matter what level your game is, outstrips defeat.

Well done Girls and to this upcoming weekend on all fronts GO BLUES!

#BOUNDBYBLUE!