Date: November 06 2012
ON HIS first day in the job, governing his new group of players, Michael Malthouse has thrown a challenge to the as yet unfulfilled talent of Bryce Gibbs to become a genuine midfielder next season.
Gibbs is the type of player that Malthouse believes needs to lift to ease the pressure on Chris Judd.
''I would like to think he is going to be playing in the middle, but it is coupled with half-back and half-forward, but he certainly has to come up that next level,'' Malthouse said of Gibbs.
''Let's break it down in a 20-minute quarter, no time-ons … he has got to be able to do eight to 10 minutes in the midfield, and that is quite significant. That takes half a quarter away from others to give them a bit of relief and to be able to play other positions, which I am pretty keen to do.''
Malthouse coached Gibbs in Ireland when playing international rules and the new Carlton coach was effusive about his abilities. ''He was simply outstanding. There wasn't any good, he was outstanding, so I know his capabilities.
''It just may well be I think he has got to be thrown the ball and say, 'Right, now you have got to run with it. This is your opportunity to want a position in the middle of the ground and I have got to learn to do defensive-offensive things and be that neutral player'.''
Malthouse said as an outsider he felt that Carlton was overly reliant on Judd, just as he perceived Collingwood had been too reliant on Nathan Buckley prior to his taking up his coaching role at the Magpies.
''I don't think there is any one team that ever has gone too far relying on one player,'' he said.
''From a distance I thought everything was rolled into a Nathan Buckley at Collingwood and to relieve the pressure on him he had to have other people stand up around him. I see the same when I see Chris Judd. I know there are players - Andrew [Carrazzo] is another one - who has been around for a long time.''
Carlton has yet to establish its leadership group, but Malthouse expects Judd to remain as captain, providing the dual Brownlow medallist still wants the role.
It was Malthouse's first day in charge on Monday and it was very much about him. He even wore fluorescent yellow shoelaces just in case you were uncertain of his intent to make a splash. His shoes, at the least, would make a statement.
He was not nervous, as nerves were for novices such as his freshly installed assistant coach Brad Green arriving on day one.
Malthouse said he was no longer coach; he was manager. But as manager it was certainly about a new chief executive making clear to his middle-managers and workers what was expected of them.
''I coach on a mentor basis, trust my deputies. I am more a manager than a coach. Nothing really has changed,'' he said.
More of that moulding and reinforcing of his game - defence, defence, defence - will come at a training camp in the US. It will be part bonding session, part a study in his game. What it won't be is a ''slaughter camp''.
''This is not to go over there and see how tough we are and commando style, that is rubbish,'' he said. Although he quickly added that being able to restart up to four weeks earlier than the grand finalists was an edge he was determined not to lose.
''We play Richmond and then Collingwood and we are three weeks in front of Collingwood technically and I want to make sure that stays there by week two,'' he said.
Malthouse was invigorated to return to coaching - or managing - and to arrive at a club that finished 10th with ''high aspirations'' to finish in the eight, ''and who knows from there''?
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