JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Blueprint to avert Carlton crisis

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Kangaroos fight for finals berth

Our footy experts review the clash between St Kilda and North Melbourne, and look ahead to Friday night's game between Carlton and Collingwood.

PT0M0S 620 349

CARLTON, much like Geelong in 2006, is at a critical moment in its recent history. After several years of steady progress, things suddenly appear to be falling apart through a combination of factors, of which coaching is just one.

Of course, given the lofty goals set pre-season and the very real likelihood that the Blues will now miss this year's finals, most of the attention is focused squarely on Brett Ratten.

Mark Thompson faced that six years ago as well. The Cats could have bowed to the pressure, gone the knee-jerk response with his sacking, and papered over the cracks.

Feeling the heat: Carlton's coach Brett Ratten.

Feeling the heat: Carlton's coach Brett Ratten. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

But Geelong didn't. In a far more mature response, it forensically pulled apart and examined an entire club, the fruits of its labour obvious for all to see over the past half-decade.

That's a path Carlton needs to be taking right away. For Ratten's sacking or staying won't alter the bigger picture. But a comprehensive, soul-searching and, most importantly, honest review of the entire operation just might. And here are the key issues.


Ratten has more strings to his coaching bow than when he took on the job five years ago. But in 2012, conservatism and a lack of resourcefulness have been recurring themes.

The first is apparent in the use of the likes of Kane Lucas, Andrew Collins and Josh Bootsma. They've all shown moments of real promise this season, but to date have appeared in 16 games collectively and haven't been allowed nearly enough opportunity to generate momentum, either in and out of the substitute's vest, or in and out of the team.

On the second matter, Carlton has regularly looked a one-trick pony since being picked off at the stoppages by Essendon in round four.

Last Friday night, it got picked off over the back by Hawthorn time and time again.

Perhaps another coach would have more faith in the kids, and more of a plan B or C. But he would still have the following issues with which to deal.


Many of Carlton's most promising recruits have been struck down by injury, Levi Casboult, Marcus Davies current examples, Luke Mitchell, Patrick McCarthy and Andrew McInnes in the same boat last year.

But the harsh bottom line remains a 48-man list, including rookies, of whom 13 have yet to play a single game of AFL football, Casboult and Rohan Kerr two who are in their third year, on zero games, Rhys O'Keeffe in his fourth for one game.

That's a long-enough wait to be able to assess the worth of any recruit given decent game time, let alone still be waiting to watch one take his first AFL steps and have any idea whether he's even up to the task.


Carlton has loaded up on talls in recent times. Yet it's still thin for quality up forward and down back, too reliant upon a forward turned defender in Lachie Henderson, and until recently, a defender turned forward in Bret Thornton.

The Blues have shown plenty of faith in keeping the likes of Paul Bower, Jordan Russell and Aaron Joseph on the list.

But they wax and wane on them regularly on a week-to-week basis, overlooked for a spell, then back in favour. Ditto Brock McLean.

Jeremy Laidler and Nick Duigan have both looked astute pick-ups, while Collins could still be if given a chance.

But the trading out of both Sam Jacobs and Shaun Grigg are increasingly looking more like mistakes than moments of inspiration. And more exclamation marks on the question of development.


The next couple of months will say plenty about how Carlton's administrative structure functions. So far, the signs aren't good. The Blues have fallen well short of that 50,000-membership mark they aimed for.

Are the coach, chief executive Greg Swann and president Stephen Kernahan all on the same page? A tight ship doesn't allow murmurings of discontent between the coach and high-performance manager (Justin Cordy) to enter the public arena in the first place.

If the losses continue and with them, inevitably, the speculation about Ratten, Carlton's office bearers will need to present a more united and emphatic response than they have thus far. To do otherwise now indicates tacit acceptance of fate.


Carlton had a rude awakening indeed to the new millennium, one that taught it a lot about humility. But do the Blues have a coherent, fundamental philosophy about what and where they want to be as a club for the next decade beyond that oft-repeated line about being a top-four team? The presence of club playing legends in key roles complicates life for the Blues. It perhaps means too much tip-toeing around the sensibilities of the coach and the president.

And it hasn't encouraged others to take the lead in the bigger picture.

And the bigger picture, with this year's finals chances fast disappearing, is what this should be about now for Carlton.

Talking about Ratten's future is an essential part of that equation. But talking about it in isolation would be a disaster in addressing a state that for Carlton is as much a crisis of culture as a crisis of coaching.


  • "But do the Blues have a coherent, fundamental philosophy about what and where they want to be as a club for the next decade beyond that oft-repeated line about being a top-four team?'

    Er, how much more 'philosophy' is required by an organization which exists only because it puts a team in an organized competition?Is it suggested that there is a nexus between this 'philosophy' and the level of performance of the members of that team?

    Read more:

    Date and time
    July 02, 2012, 8:37AM
    • Er, yes it is suggested there is a nexus. Won't be successful team for too long in this era of football if club isn't being run successfully. And there are bigger-picture issues which go to that, like, for instance, membership.

      Rohan Connolly
      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 10:06AM
  • The problem with Carlton is that they are soft both on and off the field.
    A good example is giving Waite a 3 year deal when history showed that he would not be fit enough to play more than a dozen games a year. Carlton should have been prepared to let him go if that was what he wanted and now they are locked into a contract that will most likely produce very little other than financial pain.
    On field there they are incapable of playing man on man which is a reflection of their coaching panel's game plan and an admission that there is no plan "B"
    Carlton need to take a much tougher approach in all aspects of the club especially on the field of play.

    Date and time
    July 02, 2012, 8:40AM
    • Yeah but Waite is Vinnie's boy

      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 10:51AM
    • Couldn't agree more. But as Rohan Connolly correctly points out, the problems are widespread and I suspect they will not e addressed unless they bring in a tough outsider and get rid of Kernahan for starters.

      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 10:55AM
    • I don't see how giving a player a 3 year deal is indicative of being soft. Players get 3 year deals all the time.

      the Bush
      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 2:45PM
    • Carlton's form cannot be attributed to injuries alone. They haven't helped but the problem is systemic.

      The recruiters have failed abjectly over the last few years. Kruezer, Gibbs, Murphy, Judd - all excellent gets but they don't make a team. Jamison and surprise packet Henderson are all that they have as worthwhile key position players. Maybe five or six more players over and above this lot are all that make up a respectable playing group. Waite should be used as trade bait. If he's not out injured, he's doing time in the sin bin. And how did Jacobs get traded and Hampson survive.

      Catch Brett Ratten on camera during a match and you see a rabbit caught in the headlights. He is totally out of his depth, so obviously bereft of a game plan. The look on his face is so obviously "what do I do now".

      Stephen Kernahan fell into the job of president when Richard Pratt died. Being a great player does not qualify you as a president. He has presided over the hiring of personnel clearly not up to the task. There is a distinct air of the old boys network - having played with him or certainly for the club seems to get you a significant leg up in your employment application.

      A clean sweep is needed before the talent that Carlton does have, ages before it can enjoy any success. Let's hope there's a coterie of talented members prepared to seriously challenge the current board. This one, and all the football staff it has hired, has been a demonstrable failure.

      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 5:34PM
  • It is hard to feel sympathy for any organisation or individual willing to get involved with Visy.

    Date and time
    July 02, 2012, 8:53AM
    • Jacobs and Grigg both wanted to leave to get more time on the field. What can a club do in that situation?
      Grigg for example has turned into an outside player at Richmond and Carlton wanted him to be an inside player which didn't suit Grigg.

      Date and time
      July 02, 2012, 9:19AM
      • Yes, GB, aware of that, but why did they want to leave, suspect lack of opportunity and regard as much as anything. Did the Blues really exhaust the options on Grigg, perhaps he could have been a great outside player for them, too. And Jacobs is looking a far better long term prospect than Warnock or Hampson at the moment.

        Rohan Connolly
        Date and time
        July 02, 2012, 10:08AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    AFL 2015

    Round 1
    Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
    SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
    BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
    WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
    ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
    FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
    Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
    Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
    GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
    COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
    GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
    PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
    Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
    ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
    NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
    Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
    CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
    ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
    SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
    NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
    BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
    Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
    GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
    WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
    Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
    ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
    GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
    PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
    FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
    Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
    GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
    WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
    Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
    SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
    GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
    NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
    WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
    Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
    STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
    ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
    Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
    WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
    GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
    GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
    MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
    FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
    Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
    PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
    Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
    HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
    CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
    SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
    WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
    Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
    WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
    RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
    BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
    GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
    GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
    HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
    FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
    Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
    MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
    PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
    Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
    MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
    WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
    RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
    ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs STK 13:10G
    COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
    WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
    GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
    ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
    PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
    NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
    STK vs HAW 16:40ES
    Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
    WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
    NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
    STK vs MEL 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
    GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
    WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
    Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
    Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
    Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
    BRI vs ADE 16:35G
    STK vs WBU 19:20ES
    Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
    Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
    Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
    GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
    WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
    MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
    Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs STK 13:10ES
    ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
    Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
    WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
    NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
    WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
    BRI vs SYD 16:40G
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
    Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
    GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
    COL vs WCE 16:35ES
    SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
    FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
    PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    STK vs RIC 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
    ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
    RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
    ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
    BRI vs NTH 19:20G
    Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    WBU vs COL 13:10ES
    MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
    WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
    Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
    COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
    SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
    CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
    GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
    Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
    ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
    FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
    WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
    BRI vs GCF 16:35G
    GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
    WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
    GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
    STK vs FRE 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
    Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
    NTH vs STK 14:10BA
    PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
    GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
    BRI vs CAR 19:20G
    Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
    WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
    FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
    Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
    GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
    STK vs GEE 19:20ES
    ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
    CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
    WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
    Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
    NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
    ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
    GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
    Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
    STK vs SYD 15:20ES
    FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
    COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
    RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
    HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
    GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
    SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
    MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
    BRI vs WBU 00:00G
    PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
    WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
    West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
    Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
    GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
    Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
    Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
    Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
    Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
    View all
    Featured advertisers