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Essendon coach Mark Thompson backflips on possible return to backline for Jake Carlisle

Date

Daniel Cherny

Two-way Carlisle Street: Jake Carlisle may be returning to the backline after all.

Two-way Carlisle Street: Jake Carlisle may be returning to the backline after all. Photo: Pat Scala

Floundering Essendon utility Jake Carlisle may soon be returning to the backline.

Speaking on Saturday in the wake of his side's Anzac Day fadeout, Bombers coach Mark Thompson indicated that despite maintaining a strong belief Carlisle has the potential to be a quality key forward, it is increasingly likely he will be dropped from attack in the best interests of the team.

"I think Jake has the capability of being a forward, and I don't want him to be trying to do things outside of the team; he should be privileged to play, and work hard no matter where he plays on the ground. But we might play him down back. We've talked about that, and we will play him there at some stage if he's good enough to get a game," Thompson said on SEN radio.

He had been adamant on Friday following Carlisle's goalless showing against the Magpies that if the 22-year-old were to play at all in Essendon's senior team, he would be doing so as a forward.

“We are here to coach. Jake has the ability and characteristics to be a forward. He can play there, and if he wants to play this year anyway, he is going to play there," he said in his post-match press conference.

But the dual-premiership coach's comments suggest a possible backflip and a return to the backline for his tall.

Playing primarily as a target inside 50 for the past fortnight, Carlisle has not once registered a score, and in six games this season, rotating between the forward line and ruck, has kicked just three goals.

He was criticised last week for a perceived lack of effort against St Kilda, but Thompson believed he had witnessed an improved approach from Carlisle against the Magpies.

"He was frustrated last week, I think, and the way he handled it was he showed like he didn't try; he probably didn't try as well as he could've. He was probably consumed with what was going on in his head and he probably behaved the wrong way," Thompson said. "I think his attitude was better yesterday."

Thompson flagged the likely return of Tom Bellchambers from injury next week against the Western Bulldogs would allow his side greater flexibility with its forward set-up. "Bellchambers and Paddy [Ryder] will probably, now that we've got them both back ... it'll allow them two boys to spend some time in the forward line. Tommy's a proven goalkicker."

7 comments so far

  • "..he probably didn't try as well as he could've.",
    and I probably wont renew my membership as well as I could've.

    Commenter
    fanaticism waning
    Date and time
    April 26, 2014, 2:48PM
    • Essendon have failed to recruit any Key Forwards since Matty Lloyd and Scott Lucas. Crameri a Rookie and No 1 Goal Kicker couldn't get $450,000. Wise up Essendon.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Beaumaris
      Date and time
      April 26, 2014, 5:22PM
  • Common sense has finally prevailed. The last few years of Hurley trying to be a forward when he was clearly a better defender should have been a lesson learnt for us. Jake killed it in defence for us last year, surely we are better off trying to fix our offensive problems by other means than using one of the best defenders in 2013 as a goal kicker?

    Commenter
    pecker
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    April 26, 2014, 3:05PM
    • I am very glad to hear it. I would have moved him at quarter time yesterday. He's a superb footballer - capable like Fletcher of going forward briefly - but outof his real element up forward permanently just yet.

      Commenter
      Christopher
      Location
      State in Mothballs
      Date and time
      April 26, 2014, 3:55PM
      • Agreed. Switch Carlisle with Hurley.

        Commenter
        Mr Eddy
        Location
        CBD
        Date and time
        April 26, 2014, 4:48PM
    • I am confused now, the headline says "Essendon coach Mark Thompson backflips..." but the article says he may have changed his mind.

      A "backflip" has you facing exactly the same direction as before you did it, so it does NOT mean the anything at all has changed, so which is it?

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 26, 2014, 4:22PM
      • Premiership no. 17 looks a long way away or is it?

        Commenter
        dingbat22
        Location
        sydeney
        Date and time
        April 26, 2014, 6:57PM

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