Round 3 – Preview: Winter is Coming for Carlton

Greetings All,


With the new season of Game of Thrones upon us, this week’s version has been laced with references to goings on around Westeros.


Through the week there are more plots and subplots being run through the media – but the one constant is the plight of the Blues and more specifically that of the coach.  The club got on the front foot with the President and CEO making statements at the business end of the week – with all due respect we’ve seen it all before.  What worries me is saying that Mick will be the coach till the end of the season – judging on previous history at this club and many others he has about 4 weeks!  Let the Gods decide.

He is in the final year of a three year contract and there are some key questions that need to be asked of the coach and his panel.

  • The first one is what players have improved in Mick’s time?  Sam Rowe, Zack Touhy, …….there may be more but I am struggling.  He has not transformed a player like he did with Nick Maxwell and others at Collingwood.
  • Levi Casboult – should be one of the games drawcards not a comic target for the commentators.  He came to the club in 2010 as a full time player with coaches having unfettered access to him, why is it in 2015 that someone starts helping with his kicking?
  • Where are the youngsters?  At Collingwood Mick would not only put young players in the team – but give them critical roles and they would perform.  A first gamer at the Blues is lucky to get 15% game time and is only there to fill space.

There has been enough time to put a stamp on these players, but there is nothing.

Now for the defence – yes the club has recruited beyond poorly and there might not be much to work with, but they need to find out quickly and make the calls.  Matthew Watson, Kane Lucas, Jordan Russell, Heath Scotland and more needed to be moved on faster and get more draft picks through.  Much was made of the former Carlton players success last week.  I certainly lament the loss of Josh Kennedy and 10 goals is some feat.  However I would take a lot more notice of him kicking five goals against a top team.  Meanwhile Jarrad Waite did what he always does against undermanned opposition, his record against top teams is what matters.  The same goes for Eddie Betts, Jeff Garlett and Robbo – the clubs decisions were correct.

There is so much more on this, but time is short.  Mick is under trial by media – and a few fans.  But there is no benefit in him departing before the end of the season, the club should bide its time and just remember Sydney were 0-2 in 2014.  (OK dreaming!) And if the club does turn around then that contract might be there for him.


Now for the games


Tyrions ($1.44) vs Josh Bruce has gone mad ($3.20)

The Pies have complemented their brigade of Tyrion Lannister impersonators with the inclusion of Cameron Gault to be an extra tall up forward.  Meanwhile the Saints turn to an old warrior in Schneider.  Much will come down to whether the leaders from each club plays with both Pendlebury and Reiwoldt under injury clouds.  As valiant as the Saints have been I suspect Collingwood will be able to defend their fortress.


The Night’s Watch ($1.10) vs Trident Bearers ($10)

Tex Walker and Jon Snow are men of few words but are leaders of Crows, they take the Demons who look like they have a massive wall to climb after last week capitulation to GWS.  Crows to prevail.


The Boy Band ($4.00) vs Kingslayers ($1.29)

The Bombers slayed the Kings of the competition with great commitment and pace both ways – the Blues have fleeting shown pace but so far this season only in One Direction.  Even the so called “good” first quarters gave up easy coast-to-coast goals.  These games regularly go against form lines, but not this time.


Not so Goodes ($1.16) vs Do they have dragons? ($6.60)

Born from a storm in Vlad’s head GWS have been amassing an array of talent far away from the rest of the footy world, this week they challenge their closest rival to the East.  Are their young dragons ready to take on the might of Sydney who look in terrific form where the biggest non-story is who is not getting a game?  I doubt the Swans will succumb – this time.


Slight of Hamstring ($2.08) vs Wildlings ($1.90)

Mixed messages from Dal Santo’s minor hamstring strain turning into an operation with a 12 week layoff, his loss is better covered this year with the presence of Shaun Higgins.  Port have run rampant through oppositions like the Wildlings through a defenceless village, but they have had some come uppance in 2015.  Have they been exposed or is it just good opposition?  Their changes indicate some challenges, Kane Cornes – rested – it is only Round 3!  Up forward they have struggled, the Kangas backline is its Achilles heel so they have a chance to make amends.  But they will be tested at the other end having to contend with Petrie, Brown and Waite.  Even the traitor could go well here.  The key will be the outside run, if Port can get the ball in the hands of Hartlett, Polec and Wingard they will have pace and penetration to be able to hurt North.  But they are not getting the service Lobbe provided from Ryder who is up against the form ruckman of the competition.  Only the lounge room sways me in North’s favour in a critical game for both teams.


That was too Close ($2.92) vs Send in the Knights ($1.52)

The one team that can ill afford injuries to even slightly tall players is Brisbane, but they have plenty of other challenges also.  The Tigers bring back Chris Knights to senior footy after a long absence.  The Brisbane midfield looks solid, but just does not win enough footy.  The Tigers are far from convincing but look a better balanced team and should prevail.


Tamar Side ($1.13) vs Direwolves ($8.40)

The Hawks take their show riverside in Launceston where they make the opposition as welcome as a son in Craster’s Keep.  They looked slow defensively against the Bombers with their runners in Hill, Smith and Anderson playing akin to the Carlton midfield.  Whitecross and Hartung will add defensive speed.  It should all be moot with the newer, stronger Bulldogs being able to put up resistance for a while but it will be broken.


North Qarth ($3.70) vs South Qarth ($1.33)

The battle of “the Greatest City that Ever Was or Will Be” otherwise known as the Western Derby sees the Eagles and the Dockers look for bragging rights in the city far, far, away.   Those bragging rights have been firmly in the possession of the south side team since 2012 and I can’t see that changing despite their opponents impressive training run last Friday.


10 Lives? ($1.17) vs Shouldering the Load ($6.40)

Is it all coming to end for the Cats?  The question is valid, but the evidence still to be gathered there first two encounters were against predicted top four sides.  They will do well against the lesser sides and especially at home so this one should be a lock against the Suns who are so dependent on their injured genius.  His shoulders should be sore!  But this game will not answer whether the Cats have another life left.


Friar Time

Under 19s had a big win over Old Brighton, however the loss of key players saw a slick Ormond overrun the senior side to post a 6 goal victory despite a valiant effort.  This week is the trek to Bulleen-Temp for the seniors and the Under 19s take on Collegians at Friar Park.


Go Blues, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal


  1. Hope your Friars have a win, as I reckon your Blues are beyond redemption. You are on the money about Josh Kennedy. He is a whole hearted footballer, but struggles against the best sides that don’t allow him the time and space that the Blues (and other strugglers) afford him. I saw Kane Lucas play for East Perth against my Swan Districts a few weeks ago, and he struggled at even WAFL level. You can have him back (for Friars).
    Thanks for your previews every week. Gives me food for thought with my tipping. Hope you’re wrong about the Saints, Port and Eagles (of course).

  2. John Butler says

    Sal, very pertinent questions re Mick’s effect on Carlton’s players thus far. Particularly in relation to the dearth of youngsters. Are our reserves really that hopeless?

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