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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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Carlton in crisis after losing to Melbourne (Thumbnail) Carlton in crisis after losing to Melbourne

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

Should Gibbs go? (Thumbnail) Should Gibbs go?

Allowing Bryce Gibbs to leave the Blues could "help expedite the change that Carlton needs" to rebuild the club, Michael Gleeson reports.

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Carlton is in crisis after slumping to its fourth straight loss and worst start to the season since 1989, the year coach Robert Walls was sacked.

Andrew McKay says Mick Malthouse still the man to take Carlton forward

Mick Malthouse remains the man best suited to take Carlton forward, but there is a dearth of leaders across the Blues' playing ranks according to Carlton football operations manager Andrew McKay .

Tom Elliott could run for Blues' top job

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.

Should Carlton let Bryce Gibbs go?

Bryce Gibbs recently asked to sit down with Carlton to discuss its plans for the future so he could better decide his own plans. Carlton’s prospectus has since changed. So too has Gibbs’.

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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 122 vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93 vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54 vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113 vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72 vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57 vs FRE 68 Report Stats
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
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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
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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 9 9 0 0 151.61 36
Sydney Swans 9 7 2 0 134.49 28
West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
GWS Giants 9 6 3 0 110.26 24
Hawthorn 9 5 4 0 151.26 20
Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
Adelaide Crows 9 5 4 0 113.37 20
Richmond 9 5 4 0 108.86 20
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