I went to the game on Thursday night between Carlton and Richmond and knew that we would get beaten and I had no real problem with this as long as players gave their all when playing. For the majority of them, they did, for some it was blatantly obvious that they didn’t and are well past their prime.
Brendon Bolton gave a press conference after the game and it was, to put it mildly, exactly on point as to what the future is for Carlton. A long-term plan to rise back to the top. It is not an easy, quick fix but one of momentum in getting fresh, new and young players mingled with senior champions to help guide and shape them.
The inclusion of new players such as Caleb Marchbank, Jarrod Pickett, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Billie Smedts, shows that these players are exactly what the team needs in terms of depth. Sure, they made errors, but this year is for them one that with each game played they will only get better and better. They should tremendous stamina and grunt when needed. This allowed players such as Jacob Weitering, Jack Silvagni and to some extent Charlie Curnow to move around the ground and be forwards when needed. Though Charlie only really stepped up in the second half.
The senior players of Dennis Armfield, Bryce Gibbs who dispelled any questions about his loyalty and commitment to the club. The effervescent Kade Simpson, Sam Docherty and Sam Rowe all showed a drive that we need from our senior players. But it is two players in particular that for me stood out last night. Marc Murphy came back from a previous year of injury to dominate and prove to be a handful on the field. His leadership and skills will only make the team more dynamic and more successful with each game played. It is the big man, Matthew Kreuzer who really stood out.
Krooz was more agile, quicker and dynamic than I have seen in him for a long time. He was everywhere and for a big man, that was vital in the game. He cannot do it alone and must demand support from the mid-fielders if he is to continue this way.
Unfortunately, there are two players who really should not be on the field, one being Dale Thomas and the other, sorry to say, Simon White. The selectors must be ruthless in this regard. If we are to get more senior game experience for the younger players, then we need these two out of the senior side. Levi Casboult needs to, well move more and not wait for the ball to get to him. He has the grip, the strength to mark it, he now needs more speed to get there.
Richmond were good, but they were up against a side that is still growing and have a lot more on the line than we do. Supporters seem to celebrate in a way that they think they will make the top 8, they won't, yet. Let's wait until the season progresses more to make any real determination on that front.
Last night Carlton supporters should be excited about the future, about what these young players have to offer the club going forward. If not, then you do not see the real big picture. Despite what some may say, we will get better and better with each game as the new players hone their skills and understand when mistakes are made and how to rectify them.
We saw the future of Carlton on Thursday night and with a little bit more tweaking, it looks damn bright!