Waite’s swansong?

The perennial buzz-word surrounding the career of Jarrad Waite, ‘if’, may no longer apply.

In light of Carlton’s 85-point demolishing of the Saints in round 16, off the back of five consecutive losses, one finds it incredibly difficult to see the 31 year-old slotting back into the Blues’ line-up in 2014.

Bereft of tall options at times, forward or back, the question mark has been over Waite all season as to whether, or ‘if’, the veteran utility could hold down a place in Carlton’s starting 22.

After five losses in a row before round 16, and Mick Malthouse’s reluctance to publicly guarantee Waite’s place beyond 2014 at Carlton, there has to be serious doubt now after Casboult and Henderson each played their role as talls up forward against the Saints, with Rowe continuing to hold his own in defence.

To play devil’s advocate, maybe Jarrad Waite has already been given the tap on the shoulder.

Perhaps the on-field frustration of Waite throughout his career has been a testament to the man’s unwavering allegiance to the Blues, often demonstrating this through undisciplined acts on the field, to the detriment of his side, and his career.

Unquestionably, Jarrad Waite has bled navy blue throughout his career – he wears his heart on his sleeve, which in-part explains his frequent appearances at the match review panel and tribunal.
The sheer character of Waite’s love for the Carlton Football Club was epitomised in 2003, after Jarrad’s father, Carlton great and dual premiership player, Vin Waite passed away shortly before the Blues’ round 14 match against Melbourne at then Optus Oval.

Waite played that day, registering 18 touches and a goal. A man of lesser love for his club undoubtedly, and understandably would not have played, as much as any other died-in-the-wool player bleeding his club’s colours may not have.

Family should always take priority over football, but in Waite’s case, Carlton has been just that, through his father and in his own right – a family.

This is what might have made the past two years tricky for the Blues’ new-look coaching staff – there is no question over Waite’s passion and loyalty for the Blues, even if it had landed him in strife one-too-many times.

The son of a Blues great, and wearing the tag of ‘if’ on the injury and suspension front throughout his career. Waite’s contract ending at the end of 2014 after another season out of favour as Carlton heads into a long-overdue rebuild, spells the writing on the wall.

As unquestionable as Waite’s passion and loyalty has been, there is also very little doubt over his playing ability either. But passion, loyalty, and talent is only but a tease if a player spends more time in the stands than on the field.

Just three times in Waite’s career has he played 20 or more games in a season – 2003, 2005, and 2008. Six years ago seems an eternity for consistency, given he has since registered nine, 16, 12, 11, 14 in the years that followed, along with 10 matches in 2014.

Injury has not been kind to Waite, notably in 2009 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Blues’ round nine match against the Crows. Though, to return in 2010 and play 16 games after the severity of a knee injury was an incredible effort, and again speaks volumes of the interrupted talent Waite has been.

As a forward, Waite’s best years were enjoyed in 2005 and 2010, kicking 36 goals in each season. Round six, 2005 against Hawthorn at Docklands was one performance to sum up Waite at his best – a five-goal haul in the absence of a suspended Fevola to drag his side over the line by six points.

Waite represented Australia in two matches against Ireland in International Rules that year, as well as donning the ‘Big V’ in 2008, representing Victoria in the AFL’s Hall of Fame Tribute Match.

With 178 games and 236 goals, should 2014 spell the end of his time at Carlton, the next question raised is whether or not Waite looks elsewhere for opportunities, or another club sought him. Though as a 31 year-old victim of acute inconsistency through injury and suspension, the interest of other clubs may well be down.

That’s not to say Waite could not add value to another club’s list, it would again be a case of ‘if’ he could stay on the park, which no longer seems applicable in a rebuilding Carlton side.

Comments

  1. matt watson says

    The wait will be over at season’s end.
    Waite will be gone.
    It is a shame, given he could’ve been a great player with better luck.
    Injury doesn’t discriminate – nor does age.
    I doubt another club would want him either…

  2. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Dan, I suspect an announcement should be relatively imminent. Once a player over 30 is effectively told they are no longer in the best 22 it usually doesn’t take long. May be eulogising a career a tad early but as a non-Carlton person, watching Waite on his irrepressibly best days has been a great pleasure of the last 10 years of football – if only we got to see it more often.

  3. Tony Robb says

    Dan
    Waite, somewhat like Cloke, have the enigma thing down pat. Great hands , good shot on goal when on but a fragile mind. I don’t think he can reinvent himself at 31 in defence and the thought of his brain snaps so close to goal is a scary one. Sad case of coulda, woulda, shouda for the son of Vin

    Cheers
    TR

  4. The People's Elbow says

    Am a big fan when he’s on song — was only last year he kicked seven in a half against Essendon.

    Rookie-list him. No one else will take him, and he’s a better back-up as a third-tall than anyone we’re likely to get deep into the draft.

  5. Tony Robb says

    Good plan Litza. IA a a a think there is a recruiting role going at Princes Park as they had to put down the seeing eye dog and let the list manager go.

  6. Richmond will take him, nothing surer

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