Former Western Bulldogs and Richmond coach Terry Wallace says that Carlton erred in not selecting more youngsters from the start of the season, and that the situation could yet become more dire for the under-fire Blues.
Carlton remain winless through three rounds of 2014 after being crushed by Essendon by 81 points at the MCG last night, and face a similarly struggling Melbourne side this Saturday at the same venue.
Speaking on SEN, Wallace made it clear that the Blues must avoid complacency against the lowly Demons, or otherwise risk further indignation.
"They're the most dangerous games for footy clubs, when you're in this situation where we all just walk in and say 'well the one blessing for Carlton is that they've got Melbourne'," Wallace said.
"You drive to that game as a coach and say if we mess this up, all hell is going to break loose and that's their problem."
Wallace speaks from experience. In almost identical circumstances, his highly-rated Richmond side entered a round four clash with Melbourne in 2009 as overwhelming favourites despite both sides being yet to register a victory for the season. The Demons defied the odds that afternoon to win by eight points, and by round eleven, Wallace had resigned from his post as Tiger coach after four and a half years.
Wallace argued that the Blues had reached a point at which youth simply had to be blooded. He singled out Patrick Cripps, who performed promisingly in the pre-season and accumulated 34 disposals yesterday in the VFL as an almost certain inclusion.
"You've got to be careful about the signs that you're sending to your playing group, about how you want to handle yourself and how you want to handle your season, but I would've thought someone like (Patrick) Cripps would walk into the team."
"(Dylan) Buckley should've started the season, (Troy) Menzel shouldn't have started the season as a sub in the first game, and I would've just played Cripps."
Irate and frustrated talback callers on SEN were largely in agreement. One in particular echoed Wallace's sentiments.
"If Cripps doesn't play, I'm not going to bother watching. Just play the kids," the caller said.