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Mick has big hopes for Gibbs in middle

Date: November 06 2012

Roger Vaughan

New Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has already enjoyed an up-close glimpse of what Bryce Gibbs could deliver in the AFL.

Malthouse has great expectations for the 2006 No. 1 draft pick, who was a big disappointment for the Blues as they dropped out of the top eight to 10th this season. There is a sense that Gibbs' career has stalled, with the highly rated player having minimal impact across half-back.

Two years ago, Malthouse coached Gibbs during Australia's International Rules tour of Ireland and came away a big fan of the utility. ''He was simply outstanding over there,'' Malthouse said. ''Let me say, there wasn't any 'good' - he was outstanding. So I know his capabilities. He has to be thrown the ball and [we] say, 'Right, now you have to run with it'.''

Malthouse also made it clear that he sees Gibbs as a midfielder, first and foremost: ''I'd like to think he's going to be playing in the middle, but it's coupled with half-back and half-forward. He certainly has to come up that next level. There's 20 minutes there [each quarter] - he has to be able to do eight to 10 minutes, and that's quite significant. That takes half a quarter away from others, to give them a little bit of relief and also be able to play in other positions, which I'm pretty keen to do.''

Malthouse took charge of Carlton training for the first time on Monday, a month after the tumultuous end to this season.

The Blues sacked Brett Ratten before their last match and soon after appointed Malthouse, a three-time premiership coach.

Carlton was keen to recruit Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke, but once he re-signed with Malthouse's old club, it had a minimal role in the trade period.

That reflects Malthouse's confidence that this group has plenty to offer.

''Any club who finishes outside the eight have a fair bit of work to make up,'' he said. ''But you know what's on our side? History.

''No eight has ever stayed the same, and I'm a great believer in history. That gives any side outside the eight great buoyancy to go forward.

''The side has the mechanics to be a good football side.

The first impressions have been encouraging for Malthouse in what is his fourth AFL senior coaching assignment.

''I've been very, very happy with what I've seen,'' he said.

The Blues will soon have a pre-season training camp in Arizona, where Malthouse and his players will start learning more about each other.

The players also have to elect their leadership group, with Malthouse saying current captain Chris Judd had to decide whether he wants to retain the role.

Meanwhile, Carlton announced on Monday that former Melbourne captain Brad Green had joined it as a midfield development coach.

Green retired in round 22 this year after a 254-game career, which included a best and fairest win in 2010.

''I said when I announced my retirement from playing that I was passionate about a career in the coaching department as I want to continue to be involved in the game I love,'' he said.

''It is fantastic to have this opportunity and very exciting to join the Carlton Football Club and to have the opportunity to work with Mick Malthouse and the coaching team.'' AAP

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