On a Sunday afternoon, at the haloed ground of the AFL, the MCG was a swirling, blistering arena for a battle between two historic arch rivals; this was not going to be pretty. Information had just been handed down that a leading player in this rival was out due to a minor injury. Groans of “oh shit” echoed through the stands, and “we’re doomed”. I disagreed because who the team brought in took in the conditions of the ground and the weather. It was smart, it was wise and for one returned player it was the proof that he was by no mean down and out, but it was not pretty and for another player, it showed the continuing makings of what will be a future legend of the game.
No team no matter what the sporting code should ever be reliant on the abilities of one or two players. For a successful club there has to be a depth in their group. There has to an understanding and realisation that their star players could be injured, sick and that they need to have the structure in place to counter that. When Dylan Buckly was out due to a minor injury, Charlie Curnow was out due to illness, and the day of the game change, Patrick Cripps, in came Nick Graham and Simon White, but also in was the return of Denis Armfield.
There was on the ground two teams, but there was another, very influential element that would play a dramatic part in the game that was unseen, but substantially felt, the wind! Given the conditions of the day and the wet ground, each team needed their smalls to step up and for Carlton, it they that really stepped it up at a game that was frustratingly messy and not very pretty. One player came out blistering stupendous and did not let go for one minute of the game, Daisy Thomas. At the beginning of the season, Thomas stated that he needed to prove to the Carlton faithful that he was a great player, and he has done that and more. By far the best on ground, he was quick around the ground, fast to the ball and knew where to be and how to dispose of the ball or player. He had with him a band of players who by their sheer experience and passion to play for the Navy Blue, showed that this club is not the club it once was, it is better.
Marc Murphy showed again why he is the leader of this group, Kade Simpson showed what a great football mind he has when he knows where to be and what to do. Gibbsy took a bit to warm up, then showed why he is the player he is, dynamic. The Big Kreuz keeps getting better and better with each game. Big Bro Curnow showed why he is so highly regarded as a player with his agility around the ground. Docherty, Tuohy, the “newbies” the Plowmans, the Kerridges, the Philips, the Wrights, the Lambs and the unlikeliness of the Joneses. There are the others who played their part, but really needed to step it up a bit more. Then there was the player who played his first game for season 2016 after being out injured, who I have always, always believed is a player that can be the catalyst for turning the game around, Mr Denis Armfield.
Watching the replay on Sunday night, he showed what a truly valuable and dynamic player he is. His speed, agility, his exuberance on the field is such a delight to watch. He never gives up, never gives in and plays for one purpose only, the team’s success. His goal, his first for the season at the game that was his first for the season, sent the crowd in an uproar of euphoria that made one dedicated supporter stating that she was not going to sit down until the final siren, she was that proud and excited.
Yet through all of this, there was one player who showed that he will be a future legend of the game and hopefully of the club for a long time. After watching the replay, Jacob Weitering is a phenomenally, natural footy player. In the second quarter, knocked to the ground trying to stop an Essendon ball from being a goal, he was clearly injured but used his strength and his passion for the game to knock the ball through the goal posts, saving what would have been a goal into a point. That is the purest form of literally putting your body on the line. The purest form of what a player wants to achieve and be as a player. That for a young player to have that amount of foresight and tenacity shows what he has the potential to be in the future.
The game itself was by no means a pretty one and mistakes across the board were made by both teams, but for a team to win such an ugly match, one team has to say “We will not give in”, Carlton said that and they didn’t. This team has come a long way from last season and with time, they will become better and better. We won’t win all the time, but we will give it all that we’ve got. This is exciting times for the club and I for one as a Navy Blue supporter am getting more and more excited for the future.
P.S. In the Footy Record, every week questions are asked for one player from the home team, this week it was Jacob Weitering and for this one question, here are his answers, they are brilliant:
What three items would you take to a desert island? Water and a hatchet, and (wait for it)….Wilson volleyball (it got Tom Hank’s through!).