My View: Mick’s Gone, Will Leave a Vagabond

Mick Malthouse will not see out 2015 as a senior AFL coach. In what should be a year of celebration for the man who will soon become the games-coached record holder, it will instead see the flaming-out of a once-revered figure. And once he’s done, will he able to call any one-club home?

From the beginning of Mark LoGiudice’s Presidential era at Carlton, not yet a year ago, there has been but one line about Malthouse’s future; it will be decided once his contract expires post the 2015 season. How often have we heard the famous, ‘contract talks are on hold until the end of the year’ and a player/coach actually stayed at the incumbent club? It is only superseded by the ‘he has the full support of the board’ as the greatest one-liner death-wish in all of sports.

Of course, Mick knows this. He’s been around football clubs for longer than most of us have been alive. He understands the cut-throat nature of the game. He’s seen the kind of upheaval that sits easier within our political system, not our indigenous game. Heck, he’s still having nightmares about ‘that’ agreement with Eddie and Bucks. At his age (61), is he up for another dog-fight?

Mick hasn’t been helped by an absolute amateur approach to list building and recruitment. Only North Melbourne (and maybe Richmond) can even approach Carlton’s level of misunderstanding of where their list is at. Look at the guys they’ve brought (and bought) in since the end of 2013:

 

Jason Tutt – has the worst tunnel-vision for goal since Kevin ‘Hungry’ Bartlett.

Matthew Dick – unwanted at Sydney.

Kristian Jaksch – like him…until you look at who they could’ve taken (Two-Meter Peter!) at the pick seven they traded for him and…

Mark Whiley – who can’t kick or get a game for GWS.

Liam Jones – looks like ‘Sticks’ Kernahan… when he’s playing VFL.

Dale Thomas – has played like he was gifted suitcases full of cash from his best friend (wait, what?).

Sam Docherty – tick.

Andrejs Everitt – can’t kick, can’t play on blokes his own size, and doesn’t have a position.

 

Who out of that group will be part of the next great Carlton team? I can’t think of an argument for any of those blokes outside of Jaksch and Docherty. So, if they’re not going to be a part of that next great side, what are they there for?

The answer to that question is the easiest of the lot and the biggest problem at the same time. Mick’s trying to save his job as the club tried (note past tense) to justify Ratten’s sacking (which, of course, led to Malthouse’s hiring). Going the full draft/youth route would have inflicted enough short-term pain to have already cost Mick his job (was he really up for a ‘full’ rebuild?). Capping this list with ready-made recruits may result in wins now, but can you name the last team to win a premiership with a bunch of cast-offs mixed in with too many blokes who can’t kick? I’ll save you some time; there is none.

It’s no secret that Carlton’s recruiting and drafting record is abysmal; too many ill-fitting parts, too little skill, too many failures. We’ll hold fire on the most recent class of draftees (including the preposterous recruiting of 21 year-old Blaine Boekhorst at pick 19), but check out the picks prior to last year’s draft:

2013 Draft

Patrick Cripps (13) – promising, but couldn’t get a game without the vest either side of a broken leg.

Cameron Giles (39) – perpetually injured.

Nick Holman (51) – famous only for being confused with Nick Graham (see below).

Rookie Elevations

Ed Curnow, Tom Bell – if they climbed into a special machine that made them into the one player, let’s call him Ted Burnow, he still couldn’t kick straight or hit a target (Ted would do well with the ladies admittedly).

2012 Draft

Troy Menzel (11) – looks great, even though his knees are made of paper mâché. Couldn’t run out of sight during a Swedish winter.

Tom Temay (35) – taggers in junior footy never become anything more than bush footballers.

Nick Graham (54) – see Holman, Nick.

Rookie Elevations

Levi Casboult and Zach Tuohy – Casboult is most famous for passing out on a booze-cruise in his first year, Tuohy can at least hold his grog. Casboult is a worse kick than the immortal Collingwood and Fitzroy ruckman James Manson.

The Blues get a pass for their two first-round picks in this time, Menzel and Cripps, and a fail for the rest. This isn’t Mick’s fault, but it certainly hasn’t helped him. Neither has the fact that his great mate (and supporter) Greg Swann is gone, amongst a variety of big-name changes to both LoGiudice’s board (still the board most likely to appear in the next Underbelly series) and the football department. New CEO Steven Trigg will want his own men in high places and you can bet that returning favorite son Steven Silvagni will throw his weighty influence around in more areas than his designated recruitment role.

It will be sad to see a giant of our game leave in such circumstances. Mick deserves better. His record of games coached may never be broken, yet he ‘ll leave seemingly with more enemies than friends. Sadder even is that he’ll leave without a club, amongst the six (St.Kilda, Richmond, Footscray, West Coast, Collingwood, Carlton) that he’s either played for or coached, that he could truly call home. Mick will be gone by the end of season 2015. He will go down as a visionary, a brutal competitor and a record-breaker. Unfortunately, he will also leave a vagabond.

 

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Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says

    I hope you’re right with your damning assessment of recruiting etc but I don’t feel any ill-will towards Mick.
    Agree with you about Liam Jones who looked OK in the VFL only.
    Jason Tutt started with three goals with his first three kicks in the AFL and they were happy to call him King Tutt. Could end up being Dud Tutt.
    Time will tell how they all perform but it’s starting to look like a huge pendulum swing from power-house to shit-house. I suppose Mick will be blamed. Although the new Pres is copping plenty of flak I notice.

  2. Thanks for reading Neil. I think the Blues are going in completely the wrong direction and wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish bottom 3. I feel for Mick, tho I’ve never been particularly fond of him. Jock McCahle had Collingwood. Jeans had the Saints and Hawks. Hafey was loved everywhere he went. Mick? Never associated with Footscray. Left West Coast on bad terms, Collingwood on worse terms. Where is he ‘loved’ like other coaching legends?

  3. Yvette wroby says

    Hi guys my 5c worth is that he should be beloved at pies for getting 2010 premiership if nothing else. I see him as quite a sad figure these days and have never warmed to him. Apparently he’s a lovely guy and great family man. Hope he enjoys his beloveds into the future!

    Yvette

  4. Look boys, the problem with you all is that you’re from down south. It’s a handicap you’ll never escape, so head off to group therapy, learn some breathing techniques and come back afteryou’ve reached Nirvana.

    Up here in the Sunshine State we reach enlightentment at birth, as we watch old yelller’ rise up above Straddie at just after sparrow’s on our first dawn after exiting the old girl’s burrow in time for the first at Eagle Farm.

    So we know that any team tied up with that Liberal clown who peddled the cats piss named after Peter Foster – the famous boxing promoted turned page 3 girl shagger turned Lipton’s salesman – must be a crap football side.

    The Blues were bloody good 40 years ago, when that bald, spindly-legged genius Jezza was patrolling the park and being the Gaz of his day, but gee, since then they have been unfailingly crap.

    So why do you get so excited about another forthcoming season of medicocrity? You’re a bit like the mad bloke who sits out the front of Hungry Jacks in the Queen Street Mall and tells us that Michael Jackson killed Harold Holt.

    Delusional.

    This is how the season will roll. Malthouse – a genius of a coach if ever one is born, but even Einstein couldn’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – will get them out of the blocks quick. They’ll beatthe bottom 8, win a couple against top 6 sides, then lose the games they shouldn’t.

    It will cost them too, like it always does, because they’ll be fringe top 6 most of the year, then fall away in the last month of the season. With luck, they’ll finish 7th or 8th, then make an inglorius exit smashed by 50 in the first week of the finals, and as long as the players are handcuffed, durgged and caged, they should get through Mad Monday ok.

    Then in 12 months time we can have this dicussion again.

  5. G’day Rphan,

    Poor Ratten and Malthouse. Yes, sadly recruting is the problem for the Blues. I reckon bluebaggers hope Stephen Silvagni (SOS) will improve recruiting processes.

    If I were a Carlton fan, I would want to see Rattern and SOS working togerther.

    I still believe Ratten should have coached Carlton. Why was he sacked after losing to the Suns?

    Mitch Robinson and Jeff Garlett kicked goals, but their behaviours were bad. If they behaved well, the Blues would be better for on field performances.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

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