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Carlton needs serious rebuild to rediscover AFL glory

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Carlton in crisis after losing to Melbourne

Melbourne ended a 12 match losing streak to record a 23 point victory over Carlton, their first under Paul Roos.

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As David Parkin tells it, when John Elliott interviewed him about a return to the Carlton coaching job in late 1990, an appraisal of the playing list was sought. Parkin, well beyond currying favour by telling a president what he wanted to hear, said it needed a re-build.

True to form, Elliott growled: “We don't rebuild at Carlton.” He added though: “But we could do with a bloody good renovation.”

That was then.

Jack Watts celebrates a Melbourne goal. Click for more photos

AFL Round 4: Carlton vs Melbourne

AFL Round 4 - Carlton loses to Melbourne by 23 points. Photos by Pat Scala 

Nearly a quarter of a century later, it's not putting too fine a point on it to say the whole of the Carlton Football Club is due for a rebuild. An institution which has fallen painfully from grace since the end of the last century is facing perhaps its darkest hour. In recent years there has been hope, and, as has been said before, it's the hope that kills you.

The horror of the century's first decade might have passed for the once-mighty Blues, but its painfully earned drafting opportunities haven't brought the anticipated transfiguration. Now the club appears to be back at square one.

The trio of No. 1 draft picks from the age of darkness are simultaneously facing uncertainty: Bryce Gibbs questioning his future, Matthew Kreuzer again seriously injured, and Marc Murphy struggling with the game's rigours against taller, heavier, stronger midfielders. Other high picks Andrew Walker and Chris Yarran have tended to be more icing than cake.

Carlton has 13 players originally drafted at No. 12 or higher, six of whom were selected by other clubs and taken by the Blues in trades. By comparison, Hawthorn has seven top-12 selections, including three trades. Geelong has five top-twelves with two trades.

No wonder Carlton fans are frustrated. The relativity is damning. To find itself a middling club, possibly trending south, is an awful reality.

Through the dark years Carlton has moved on three coaches and now there is impatience about Mick Malthouse. Yet Malthouse, like Parkin on his second coming, shouldn't be held responsible for what was in the cupboard when he took over.

Coincidentally, both men were three-club, three-premiership coaching veterans when they arrived. The difference is that Parkin was 48. A premiership took five seasons and ultimately he would spend a decade in the job.

Malthouse, by comparison, already is the oldest premiership coach in VFL/AFL history, an accolade achieved four seasons ago. He may have five years in him at Carlton, but even that is to defy gravity. With George Clooney and Sandra Bullock sitting alongside him he would struggle to repeat his decade-long stints at West Coast and Collingwood.

The Blues have now won six of their last 18 games. Their only 2013 wins over subsequent finalists were against Port Adelaide and Richmond, and already this season those results have been reversed.

As has Carlton's recent ascendancy over Essendon. From late in 2010 until the end of 2012 Carlton won four out of six against the Bombers by margins above 10 goals. One of the other two games was drawn. Essendon's only win, in early 2012, came as such a surprise it reportedly had the Blues asking questions about what might be going on in the murky world of “player conditioning”.

Last year, though, the Bombers twice turned the tables. And based on the first three weeks of this season the respective team graphs are diverging fast. That it would now be the Bombers dishing out the nasty medicine is a dramatic reversal of fortune and distasteful reality.

People have questioned Malthouse's influence as coach. Until recently he had the team playing high-energy, earnest football – so much so I'd wondered whether they could keep it up. In the first half of last season they lost six games by a total of just 67 points. But in the first three rounds of Mick's second season they've suffered two defeats of significant magnitude.

And that is perhaps the scariest part for Blues' fans because, for all Malthouse's proven wherewithal, his team is regressing on the scoreboard. Yesterday it hit rock bottom.

Certainly the return of Judd in the next week or two will raise the output, but he turns 31 in September and doesn't see himself as a Craig Bradley or Dustin Fletcher. The Judd-factor is now for the short term.

Which means another attempt by Carlton to build a revival on one man's back almost certainly will have failed to take the club to glory. There has been too much hope invested in this dated method.

Since Ron Barassi transformed the place, there has been a string of new messiahs. But one-man revival bands are false gods. Glitzy extensions and renovations are no longer the way of modern football. Serious rebuilding, overseen by panels of experts, has become the way of the modern game.

Carlton must face the harsh realities and build slowly, and patiently, towards the summit. Otherwise, the excruciating pain of Saturday will only be repeated.


  • Cheats never prosper

    Rorting and tanking
    Date and time
    April 13, 2014, 11:52AM
    • Why are Richmond supporters always the first to comment on Carlton?

      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 12:57PM
    • Ha ha, you think. 16 Flags says different. In my 49 years, Carlton have delivered more flags than most other teams and supporters dare dream about. Also, get over it. Carlton did the crime and paid more for it than other clubs who breached the cap, before them.

      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 1:00PM
    • This article is about Carlton, not Essendon*.

      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 1:02PM
    • How to fix Carlton;

      - Goodbye Kernahan, thanks for the memories
      - Murphy, good player, sub-par captain. Give someone like Simpson a crack. Thanks Murph. Head down bum up son, earn your $.
      - To be shown the door: Waite, White, Bootsma, Jamieson, Walker, Watson, Warnock - to start.
      - Recruiting dept. clean-out commensurate with clean-out in senior player list.
      - Malthouse should not have been drafted, but now there, should be relentlessly harassed by the Carlton faithful into delivering on his promises. The more schadenfreude coming from Eddie McGuire re Mick, the more Mick should be taunted and tormented by hardened Blue fans, until he delivers or begs to be let go, $ free,

      Elgin St
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 2:07PM
    • Carltons always had their share of show ponys.....shallow individuals who aren't ggod team players.
      They also have dirty big egos, which are fine short term, but never sustainable.

      Mick Malthouse is a good man who may never win a flag there, as he's getting on, but starting from the very
      bottom and treating each player as a human first, and getting young blokes to have respect all round , he'll
      go a long long way to contributing to their success.
      This he did with the pies and respected the ratbag element as it takes all types....something Buckley has trouble with.

      Go Micky.........from an ever grateful Pie supporter....................

      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 2:20PM
  • Unfortunatly, I saw this coming just after the first qter in Round 1 against PA -. No passion, intensity or skill level - this group of players are simply not good enough to win a flag nor a top 8 finish. - REBUILD ALL RIGHT ! -
    I could count at least 12 players that should be released next season - Waite,Maclean,White,Watson,Lucas,Bootsma,Mcginnes,Robinson,Curnow,
    Gibbs to be traded - To grab Dangerfield from Adelaide
    Kruezer and Carrazzo to injury prone and traded off
    Murphy to be stripped of captaincy
    Kernahan and entire recruiting team retired.

    then bring in some 150 game players - some all australian defenders and forwards and throw what you can $$$$ at them - elevate a few rookies and we have something to build on -

    Date and time
    April 13, 2014, 12:17PM
    • Your name suggests reality, but your comments deviate from it somewhat. Patrick Dangerfield is apparently monitoring the list management at Adelaide, not least because he wants to be part of success sooner rather than later. I'm really not sure that Carlton will seem like a good option. Similarly, the idea of just 'bringing in' some 150 gamers is also based on wishful thinking, especially if you're after key position types. The realistic option is to keep players like Carrazzo, and to get some value from toilers like Curnow while steadily building a list for the future. This will come from the odd discard, but mostly from youth. The reality is that most of next Carlton's next permiership team are still in high school, and that the rebuild will require time and patience. And by the way, if you strip Murphy of the captaincy, who do you give it to? Oh, I suppose that's the bait with which to lure Dangerfield. Not likely, and nowhere near reality.

      Days to Come
      Here and There
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 1:02PM
    • Reality. Slag and bag everyone at the club, pathetic. Go support another team, we don't need supporters like you

      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 1:03PM
    • I agree, though I might have named a few others in the list.

      Dropping Ratten and costing us $600k to pay him out to recruit Malthouse was a dumb move, considering Malthouse had at best five years in him. Paying $700k for Dale Thomas is equally ludicrous. I loved Kernahan as a player and as our Captain, but I don't think he's been a great president and it's clearly time for the board to be turned over.

      Heaven forbid we end up Melbourne, North, Richmond, St Kilda, Footscray who's best days are all over and who will never win another flag.

      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 1:06PM

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Tom Elliott, the son of former Carlton president John Elliott, has not ruled out challenging for the Blues' presidency, as club powerbrokers agitate publicly and behind the scenes for change.

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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