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Malthouse already has eye on the Pies

Date

Matt Murnane

Bring it on: Mick Malthouse addresses the Carlton faithful at Visy Park on Sunday.

Bring it on: Mick Malthouse addresses the Carlton faithful at Visy Park on Sunday. Photo: Paul Jeffers

IT HASN'T taken long for Carlton coach Mick Malthouse to fire off the first teaser ahead of the most-anticipated match of the season.

In one of his first addresses to Carlton supporters since taking over from Brett Ratten late last year, Malthouse admitted he had pencilled in the rounds when Carlton would take on Collingwood.

''I'm looking forward to every game. I'm not saying for one moment that I don't remember that we are playing Collingwood in [rounds] 2 and 15,'' Malthouse told the crowd at Carlton's official family day at Visy Park on Sunday.

''I'm not jumping ahead or anything like that, but I do know it's round 2 and round 15.

''Strange about that, I couldn't tell you who [Carlton's opponents are] in rounds 13 and 14.'' Malthouse's good-natured poke to his former club came as the triple premiership coach implored Blues supporters to join the club in its bid to become a home tenant of the MCG.

Malthouse said he wanted to take the traditional rivalries between the power Victorian clubs to another level.

''They are the great games,'' he said. ''That Collingwood game at the MCG, that's what we should be doing every home game, being at the MCG.

''We are big enough and strong enough, supporter base-wise and history-wise to be there.

''So to play Collingwood, Richmond, Essendon, all those sides that Carlton tangled with through the VFL days, you build - certainly from a supporter base - respect, but also a hatred for them. And it's a kind hatred.''

There were no bold statements such as the ''top four'' predictions that eventually came back to haunt former coach Ratten last season.

Instead the clear message from Malthouse and president Stephen Kernahan was that the club wanted to return to its status as one of the power clubs on and off the field.

A key part of that plan is to bring Carlton to the MCG, and Kernahan vowed that he and chief executive Greg Swann would do everything possible to make it happen.

The Blues are intent on signing a deal to play up to eight games a year at the AFL's premier ground when their contract with Etihad Stadium - which involves playing six games a season - expires at the end of 2014.

Carlton has more than 33,000 members, but whether the Blues play the bulk of their home matches at the MCG from 2015 could depend on raising its membership base to more than 50,000.

''Negotiations will be starting in the middle of this year and Swanny and I will be going hard at that, don't worry about that,'' Kernahan said.

''This is a watershed moment.''

While there were no specific answers given by either Malthouse or Kernahan that addressed the club's on-field expectations this year, there is clearly optimism at Visy Park.

Malthouse, who received a messiah-like reception, repeated the club's mantra of ''no limits'' on Sunday, which follows a bold declaration - made in his program notes handed to supporters.

''I want a healthy side, a good game plan and an attitude of 'we are hungry enough','' Malthouse wrote in his notes.

''Take those ingredients, along with the stars and planets aligning [and] we may very well have the makings of a premiership side.''

Malthouse added this in his address to fans on Sunday: ''We want to be able to match it with those, outside the state and inside the state, that have this mantra of being 'the best'. We don't want to be the second best.''

Much of the optimism at Carlton comes from the fact that, unlike this time last season, the playing list is healthy leading into the NAB Cup.

''Our first goal when I took over was to get through to December 21st … and have a full list of players, which we did,'' Malthouse revealed. ''We are basically fit and healthy, and that is one of the great things.

''There are going to be a couple players that are going to be a week or two away, but most players are ready to be considered for the NAB Cup, and then of course round one.''

The Blues will begin their NAB Cup campaign against reigning premier Sydney and Greater Western Sydney interstate this weekend.

The Blues had a miserable NAB Cup campaign last season in terms of results.

Malthouse said he hoped this year would be different - declaring he wanted to get his players into the habit of winning early even though he realised it would take time for the team to adjust to his distinct ''around-the-boundary'' game plan.

''Make no mistake about it, it is experimental, but we want to win,'' he said.

17 comments

  • "DA, DA, DA, DA, DAAA..."

    Commenter
    Jaws #47
    Location
    Monash
    Date and time
    February 18, 2013, 9:34AM
    • Are you singing the Star Wars theme?

      Commenter
      Christos
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 12:24PM
  • I heard somewhere Carlton put in an application, with the AFL, for them to play a series of home matches known as the ‘Mick Malthouse Challenge Cup’. Carlton expressed a five match series featuring clubs that Mick was previously associated with & was ‘really excited’ to playing against – Richmond, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda & WC.

    The winner of the cup will be the team that wears the navy blue… naturally.

    Commenter
    Absurd
    Date and time
    February 18, 2013, 9:53AM
    • I guess that somewhere must be Mick Malthouse town. No one at Richmond wants much to do with Mick, goes back to his playing days when he annoyed everyone then as well. Hope rounds 1 and 2 see Blues down the bottom where they belong

      Commenter
      Genghis
      Location
      Lounge
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 11:02AM
    • Not if Scott Selwood is playing - he is the navy blue shut down specialist.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Perth WA
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 11:27AM
    • @Rob - Yep, I'm sure Scott Selwood will duck, dodge, dip and dive his way into getting enough free kicks to shut down the opposition via the Referee's all season long.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 12:09PM
  • Sounds like they don't even care about Rd1. Maybe we'll finally catch them napping for a change

    Commenter
    Mick
    Location
    Tigerland
    Date and time
    February 18, 2013, 10:11AM
    • Hard to imagine Mick having them napping for a Richmond game in Rnd 1. Still, I can understand your hope.

      Commenter
      azzaman
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 11:11AM
  • I see that Malthouse has done the typical Carlton pore-seaosn chant of claiming they can win the flag in their membership pamphlet. Hasn;t Malthouse learnt anything from Ratten's pre-season predicitons when he wold say they can win the flag and then falter. Yes, by all means, you think you can win the flag but keep it within your private walls becayse as Ratten found out several times, once out in public, karma gets you every time!

    Commenter
    George
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 18, 2013, 10:43AM
    • Agreed. As a Carlton supporter, I'm sick of all the pre-season 'predictions' our coach(es) announce to the public. Like all other clubs, focus on Round 1, or at least keep your predictions within the Club walls...

      Commenter
      Emma
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 11:02AM

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