After taking a deep breath, reading (and commentating) on the various threads and posts on social media, it took me a while to work out what I was going to write about this week. Not because of the outcome of the match, even though it was not good. But to try and find a way to make some sense of the position of the Carlton FC right now and for the future, and it seems that many of the commentators, media “experts” and even some supporters have short memories, so I did some research.
In 2013, Round 6, Carlton beat Melbourne 18 13 121 to 8 12 60: it has taken Melbourne up to five years now to turn the tables around. Sure, we had Waite, Robinson, Betts, Gibbs, Garlett, even Lucas, Hampson, McLean, even Juddy, who was stopped by Lynden Dunn. The coach was Malthouse and we all know what happened at the club that year when we officially finished ninth and due to the Essendon doping scandal, we made it into the top 8 after beating Port Adelaide. In the following year, the cracks began to show at Carlton with Betts leaving, Waite leaving after being denied a two-year contract by the club, even though most Carlton supporters know the real reason why he left. In 2015 the magnificent Chris Judd retired during a match injury, between Carlton and Crows in June 2015. Around that same time, Malthouse threw down an ultimatum at the club to either re-sign him or fire him. The club realizing that it was a mistake to get him in the first place, given the number of players either leaving or not re-signing to the club, fired him.
The club made the announcement that it was no longer going to go down the path of ‘knee-jerk’ reactions and undertake a long, intensive due process to obtain a coach that would wipe the slate clean from its past and begin again. It did with the hiring of Brendon Bolton. At the end of 2015, Bolts together with SOS began this very process of starting again. In 2016, his first year as coach, Carlton did not perform as those believed they should perform, it was the same in 2017, but progress was being made.
Carlton has some major young talent, Crippa, Charlie Curnow, Fisher, Harry McKay, Paddy Dow, Patrick Kerr; there was those who were still going to be major players at the club, Docherty, Ed Curnow, Krooz, Sam Rowe, Murph, just to name a few.
Melbourne last featured in the finals in 2006 and since then, nothing else. Richmond (not including last year), in 2013 featured in the finals for the first time since 2001. Collingwood won the Grand Final in 2010 and before that, in 2009 they featured in the finals and had not been there since 2003.
Why is it that supporters and others in the media assume that Carlton is really any different from any other club that has been through a really rough time in the past twenty years? It has taken Melbourne another twelve years from 2006 to get once more anywhere near the top eight, where they are now sitting third. It has taken Richmond another four years since 2013 to get to a point where it was not the joke of the AFL was ‘finishing ninth again’, and before that twelve years. Why should Carlton be any different?
The push by some to get rid of Bolts is mind-boggling ludicrous! I agree that changes need to be made in the playing group, with some who should just not be there, or dropped to gain confidence in the VFL. I understand that we need to gain more depth in our playing group as a whole, but after seeing seasoned players leave the club because of Malthouse and also because it was more beneficial to the long-term future of the club, we have lost some seasoned players.
I understand the frustration that some supporters are feeling, but name calling, disparaging remarks and calls for the sacking of the Board, the coaches and even the administration is not going to do anything else but send the club even further backward. I firmly believe that Bolts and his team are on the right road to get the club back on top again, but once again, it takes time and just because it is Carlton does not mean that this is any different to any other club. Some have said that they will not renew their membership next year. Good, fair-weather supporters of any club in any code are not real supporters. Do you really think that this will make Carlton great again? They need our support no matter what. To support a club or anyone when the chips are a testament to the ultimate belief that things will turn a corner, and for Carlton, it will.
I’m not going to listen to the sheer bias opinions of Robbo or Cornes or even Wheatley who have a self-inflated belief that what they say is based on anything else other than an opinion based on just that – their biased opinions. The ‘white noise’ coming from these so-called ‘experts’ has to be blocked out, scrunched up and in the words of Mr Potato Head in Toy Story ‘toss him overboard!’
I will be going to the match at Geelong this weekend because I support the club and really believe that we are heading in the right direction for the first time in a while. We cannot be so arrogant of a club to think that it will take a shorter amount of time to get back up, than any other club. We have to swallow a humble pill and understand the process now, no matter where the ‘white noise’ comes from and from those who just want the headlines and the attention than to really understand how to get a once great club, great again.