Where to from here because it’s time to cut the crap!

What a week! What a year! It’s time to stand up and get on with some footy.

If Carlton is to learn from its past and move forward it needs to heed the landscape of the modern era of AFL.

Coaches, on average, are younger, more innovative and collaborative (not to mention media savvy and personable).

The list of possible candidates I have seen trotted out this week on the back of the Malthouse ‘train wreck’, has made me want to grab a pen and put big lines across the faces in the newspapers of those I feel are immediate culls. Of course, sitting in my local café, the owner perhaps would be less than impressed if I started defacing the publications he so generously provides for his patrons’ morning read. So I restrain myself and proceed with it as a purely mental exercise.

John Worsfold has all but ruled himself out of contention – a shame as he would have been on my list of ‘potentials’.

I immediately screw up my face at the prospect of giving M. Thompson another go-around among others, and then quickly glance around to check nobody has seen my momentary disfigurement and mistaken it for a judgement on the quality of the coffee!

What I do like in what I read is the potential for youth with innovation and enthusiasm – with a dash of experience at the coal face, so the glasses are not rose-coloured but not enough to have tainted one’s view of life.

I think enthusiasm for me is the key ingredient.

So much of what makes up the modern sporting world is structured, calculated and analysed to within an inch of its life. It’s the nature of professionalism and we benefit from the sporting buffet that professionalism presents to us. But I miss the sheer enthusiasm for the game that can now only be seen in the youthful and naïve expressions of the young draftees when given their first chance to run with the big boys.

I know in my house, this is the attraction for watching the likes of the GWS Giants and certainly this year even the Bulldogs: the beauty of instinctive and exuberant play that is often missing from that of the more polished and over-managed proponents of the game.

It is this type of enthusiasm I’d like to see return, even if just to the eyes of Carlton’s young crew and with luck, maybe it will rub off a little on to some of the old guard whose endeavour may be true but whose recent steps look like they are lead-weighted.

If there’s one thing the Carlton Football Club sorely needs it’s a breath of fresh air to blow through the corridors of Princes Park and out across the training field.

Bolton and Dew strike me as two who could achieve this.

To be fair, John Barker has a hard road to hoe over the next 14 rounds and I sincerely hope he’s allowed to flex his coaching muscles and put his own stamp upon this group. If he is, and he does, I will happily add him to the ‘potentials’ list.

Tudor, Kingsley, Blakey and Caracella I know less about, with regards to their coaching potential, and so am hesitant to nominate but also happy to be corrected on this front.

All I do know is that from a lifelong supporter’s point of view, (and we’re talking a lot of years) it’s time to cut the crap!

The fiddling and tweaking with the list, the wholesale losses of talent, the vacillating on where the club is on player recruitment and development, team strategies, game plans and training programs. Enough!

This week needs to drift into the pages of history fairly quickly. It’s done! The final mud has been slung (we hope!).

I know the enticement and intrigue of the possible untold story is like a red rag to a bull for Melbourne’s sport media – the plethora of subplots we all believe are waiting to be told: but putting my media hat aside and just as a loyal supporter, I want to stand at the front doors of Princes Park with outstretched arms and yell – Back Off! Enough! Let them get on with it now!

Focus must return to on-field performance.

Back to basics if needs be, and back to wanting to play, because as much as the players all repeatedly declare they are trying – it just doesn’t look like it.

This is not to be taken as a slight against the players, who more than ever need support, but it’s the reality that the effects are showing of several years of being bounced from pillar to post with regard to game plans, training regimens and player movement.

The best analogy is that of a marriage break up. The ‘kids’ are the ones who have ultimately suffered from the slow and very public decline of the family dynamics.

The cold, hard truth for the club and the players is that it cannot get any worse – so we start now from zero. This week, the team needs to find its feet and then – Round 10 becomes Round 1 in terms of the 2015 season! We take a collective deep breath – players and supporters both – and start the climb back to relevance and success; and most important of all – a sense of unity!

Here endeth the rant!

About Jill Scanlon

Blues fan and sports lover. Development through sports advocate; producer, journalist and news follower. Insanely have returned to p/t study - a Masters of International & Community Development. Formerly with ABC International / Radio Australia in Melbourne.


  1. Citrus Bob says

    Well done Jill! Once you have completed your Masters you will be a candidate for any coaching review panel.
    The Bluebaggers under J.Barker need to go base 1 as suggested and forget the past. The future is before them

  2. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Jill. Without wanting to sound like a fad management book, Carlton need a transformational leader to put something concrete in front of the culture change process the president and CEO claim to have begun. To make such an appointment requires bravery on the part of the board as they need to give that coach a lot of power. Many club boards at the moment seem more interested in retaining power than succeeding. As a result conservative appointments get made. I wonder whether the Carlton board has the bravery and humility necessary to appoint the coach they need.

  3. Woosha pulled out? Dodged a bullet there Jill. To be fair he may have regenerated in the past year, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Let me explain:
    2013 was about the most dispiriting year of footy I have watched after finals finishes in 11 and 12. Players looked dispirited and hopeless – sort of Carlton lite. Rumours abounded as to why the sudden decline.
    But I try to base my judgements on what I see, not what I hear. My thoughts were that the players had lost all belief in the game plan and coach. They looked like WW1 soldiers being ordered ‘over the top’ at the Somme. Outgunned and outnumbered, with a game plan they no longer believed in. So they quite sensibly even stopped trying or caring. That is what I see in Carlton today.
    From Game 1 2014 you could see that the players believed they got honesty from Simpson, and a credible plan for what they needed to do to become good players in a good team. There were lots of losses but no disgraces in 2014. Sort of where the Bulldogs and Saints are at this year.
    The further improvement from the Eagles this year has continued to surprise me, but this is how I would judge coaching candidates:
    1. Ability to communicate and motivate 18yo’s – men over 45 need not apply.
    2. Assistants at successful clubs under Clarkson, Longmire or (to a lesser degree) Lyon.
    3. A strategic view of the evolution of footy and the sort of recruiting, development and systems needed now to be competitive in 2018.
    Things are never as bad as they seem, or as good as you hope. The idiot board needed to sack the has-been Malthouse because proven good footballers were playing badly. That said to me that the players thought Mick was Lord Kitchener.
    Appoint John Monash (Dew or similar).

  4. John Butler says

    Jill. I’m with PB regarding Woosha. So glad he’s not an option – would have just been more of the same old same old.

    There’s just the slightest chance Carlton may join the modern world and have a decent PROCESS for the next appointment. That’s another new word for us, along with REBUILD which has had the odd airing or two recently.

    But I suspect it may be more than the football department that’s in for a rebuild…..

  5. http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Marc-Murphy.jpg

    “Without hope, there’s hopelessness”

  6. Sal Ciardulli says

    Great Stuff Jill.

    Certainly with PB on Woosha and with you on Mark Thompson. They have already been through the wringer and we know what that gets us.

    But my concern is above the players and the coach – the board is pretty much the same as the one that appointed Mick. They now have the power to determine who can nominate for the board and who cannot. From my perspective they have largely been a bunch of “liniment sniffers” who love the association with the club but I don’t see any evidence of their work. Take the membership fiasco as a case in point.

    I am not saying they have to go, but they need to do more then find a messiah.

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