As Carlton regroups ahead of Saturday’s clash against fellow winless side Melbourne, the Blues’ match committee will decide on Wednesday whether it’s time to officially unveil the midfield hardnut it hopes will eventually be a key part of the club’s next premiership.
Patrick Cripps, the Blues’ top pick, and 13th overall in last year’s draft, played a major role with VFL affiliate Northern Blues on Sunday.
A mature-bodied inside midfielder who impressed through the NAB Challenge, Cripps, nicknamed ‘‘The Extractor’’, had 34 disposals (17 contested), eight inside 50s, six clearances, five tackles and a goal against Williamstown in round one of the VFL.
The Blues will debate whether he needs more time in the VFL or whether they should blood him against one of the league’s weakest units where his ball-winning ability could help bring their outside runners into the contest.
Small forward Tom Temay, a second-round selection in the 2012 draft, had four goals in the VFL and was also praised for his defensive pressure inside attacking 50. He could also be considered for a senior call-up, along with midfielder Nick Graham, who managed two matches late last season.
Former Lion Sam Docherty, in his first match of the season because of injury, had 21 possessions and kicked a goal but the Blues may feel he needs more game time in the VFL.
Veteran half-back Heath Scotland, who had been on the rookie list, and tagger Jaryd Cachia will also be considered.
After a day where the Blues were under the media and supporter spotlight, coach Mick Malthouse labelled the 81-point defeat by Essendon as horrendous in his weekly update to members on Tuesday, and has urged all supporters to keep the faith.
“We know collectively we’ve got to be better, we owe it to our great supporters who have been there for a long, long time,” Malthouse said.
“You pull a Carlton jumper on, we expect [you] to play like a Carlton player and, unfortunately, we let you down.”
Malthouse said the only positive he took from the weekend was the victory by the VFL Blues.
“We’ve analysed the [AFL] game – not a lot of good came from it, we’re first to admit that,” Malthouse said.
“However, I know our boys are better than that; they know they’re better than that.”
What the Blues have shown for the past six years is that they have been better than the Demons, having prevailed in their past seven matches.
To do so again, even against a struggling Demons unit, the Carlton players will need to improve their ball use, for they rank last in disposal efficiency, with Sunday night’s first quarter against the Bombers one of the worst examples of butchering the ball in recent years.
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd also took aim at Blues skipper Marc Murphy, pointing out he had failed to remonstrate with Bombers youngster Jason Ashby after he had chested him.
‘‘I have got grave concerns for their leadership at Carlton. Their captain Marc Murphy, I want to know what he stands for,’’ Lloyd told Footy Classified.
‘‘This is harsh on him because, to me, he is still in their best two players but as a captain, this is a first gamer in Ashby who went up and chested Marc Murphy. He wouldn’t do that to Joel Selwood because Joel Selwood would come at him that hard.’’