Time for Gibbs 'to step up for Judd'
"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'" ... Carlton coach Mick Malthouse on Bryce Gibbs. Photo: Paul Rovere
ON HIS first day in the job, governing his new group of players, Mick 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 has observed from outside the club as needing to lift to ease the pressure on what can appear at times to be a one-man band in 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, there is 20 minutes there 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 of his abilities.
''He was simply outstanding in Ireland, so I know his capabilities,'' he said.
''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 before he got to the Magpies.
''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, '' he said.
''Coming to Carlton I don't think it as all one player as Collingwood was about Buckley … I think the group is a bit deeper.''
Carlton are yet to establish their leadership group - it will be voted later in the summer - perhaps on the club's bonding and fitness trip to Arizona - but Malthouse expected Judd to remain captain providing the dual Brownlow medallist still wanted the position.
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 is 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.
He added that being able to re-start up to four weeks earlier than the grand finalists was an edge he was determined the team not lose.
''We play Richmond then Collingwood … we are three weeks in front of Collingwood technically, I want to make sure that stays there by week two.''
He was invigorated by his return to coaching and to arrive at a club with ''high aspirations'' to finish in the eight.