Blues want AFL to look at equalisation
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Blues want AFL to look at equalisation

Brendon Bolton has called for Carlton to take a “fanatical” approach to improving in 2019, but the Blues coach stopped short of asking the AFL for a priority pick in the national draft.

After his team completed a miserable two-win season with a 104-point defeat at the hands of Adelaide at Etihad Stadium, Bolton said the AFL needed to consider all its equalisation measures as it weighs up whether any of the bottom teams – including Carlton – are handed priority picks in this year’s draft.

The Blues capped off a dismal season with a loss to Adelaide in round 23.

The Blues capped off a dismal season with a loss to Adelaide in round 23.

Photo: AAP

In particular, he mentioned free agency as an issue. “My big feeling, irrespective of our club, is mechanisms in place genuinely that allow the competition to be as even as possible, I think supporters and all clubs like that,’’ he said. “How and what that looks like … I don’t think it’s just about us talking about assistance. What does free agency look like? Does it support those at the top? Does it keep reinforcing that? I think it’s a bit broader than the priority pick conversation. It’s a broader topic that the AFL need to consider.’’

Carlton have previously said they would not request a priority pick but with just 15 wins in the past three years and two this season (their lowest number of wins since 1901), the club clearly have a good case.

“We’ve got to be fanatical in our approach on every front,’’ Bolton said. “We’re disappointed in the year in terms of the results. There’ve been some really challenging realities but you can talk through those and they’re worded up as an excuse. They’re not. We’re not an excuse-making team at all but we’ve had some really challenging realities this year, and that’s made it difficult.’’

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Gun forward Charlie Curnow limped off in the third quarter on Saturday night with a strained left knee medial ligament and did not return, while Jacob Weitering was concussed, leaving the Blues with only 20 fit players for most of the second half.

Adelaide coach Don Pyke said he was excited about what lay ahead for the Crows, who missed the finals despite a 12-10 record.

“At the end of it, this ‘comp’ is that even, and you end up where you end up for a reason,’’ he said. “Unfortunately for us we bow out and eight teams go on. But there’s a lot for me to be really excited about next year. The growth in some of our players is significant.’’