Round 13 – Gold Coast v Carlton: The Shoots are Sprouting

If last weeks’ win over the Giants got Blues supporters excited, Saturday night’s victory at the Gold Coast has some talking finals. At 5-7, talk of September is pretty optimistic, however the game certainly showed that the rebuilding Carlton side are going to have a say on who does make up the final eight.


Much has been made of the rebranded Liam Jones and I have to admit that his past two weeks have been a revelation. Given the dark places that Jones has been to in his career, perhaps the penny has finally dropped that being accountable means more that going for speccies. Then again, when you coach says that you are one the most gifted footballers he has seen it might warp you perspective a tad. Now that the oracle that was Mick Malthouse now longer resides near Princes Park, Liam had a look in the mirror and saw a man packing his locker. The result is a bloke who this week said that the way he is playing at the moment, he would flog the player he was two years ago. That honesty is a trait that Brendan Bolton appears to have installed in the group as a whole.


While a lot of focus has understandable been on the young blokes, the efforts of the senior players cannot be underestimated. Kreuzer is arguably the best ruckman in the competition at present. Murphy and Gibbs are dominating the centre while Docherty and Simpson just wax the ball down back. Playing a loose defender could be seen as negative football however the drive that it sets up has increased Carlton scoring opportunities as witnessed against the Gold Coast. Inaccurate kicking masked what was a dominant first half allowing the sunny boys to get back into the game.  The pleasing aspect was Carlton’s ability to get back on top and run out the game, a trait sadly missing in the lost years of the Malthouse debacle.


There is little doubt that the Giants discards have been crucial to the improved fortunes of the club. Plowman, Cunningham and Marchbank are very solid players and together with Weitering have the makings of a very good defensive unit. Williamson looks a versatile player. There are still a few players that need to gain more consistency and maybe that will come with more success and confidence. Charlie Curnow will be a good forward while SOSOS  needs a few more summers in the gym. Older brother Ed did good a job on Ablett with most of the Brownlow medalist’s possessions being ineffective.


The jury is still out on the playing future of Thomas and Casboult although the former has been okay the past two weeks and the latter is pretty one dimensional. That’s okay if you are kicking five goals a game but Levi is a long way from those numbers. Fisher, while tenacious, is too small and I’m not sure if there is room for Lamb, Wright and Fisher in the same forward line that will hopefully see Harry McKay come into in the coming weeks.


The one player that continues to fly under the radar is Cripps. This kid is simply brilliant. He is getting the best defensive midfielder every week and is instrumental in contested clearances. His hand skills are Dieselesque in that he finds team mates seemingly out of view. Like most of the young blokes, he just get the job done without much fanfare however Carlton will need to manage him as looks to be carry niggling injuries at times and they quickly turn into long term injuries if he over does things.


While it is exciting to see these young kids growing and progressing, they all need to rested and nurtured  for the longer term success of the club. The Northern Blues are winning, and for the first time in what seems like forever, Carlton has some depth. I think Mr Bolton knows what he is doing, and while talk of finals is premature, such an objective could be a reality much sooner for many Blues supporters who could not think of doing so two years ago.  Pressure to keep your spot is a great motivator but if Liam Jones can reinvent himself, anything is possible.


About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. John Butler says

    Yes TR, some most encouraging developments at the moment.

    You’re right to highlight the efforts of the senior players. Kruezer s having his best year, finally free of injury. Bryce was massive on Saturday night. Murph had his first pre-season in about five years, and it’s showing. Simmo is just a legend.

    If Docherty isn’t All Australian this year then that team is a joke.

    But it’s da yoof which is the real gold. Plenty in that lot to look forward to.


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