Did that just happen? Really? Are you sure? These questions and more permeated around the ground of Etihad Stadium on Sunday lunchtime at the match between Carlton and Geelong. Now you would think that these questions were negative in nature…but here’s the kicker…it wasn’t. By a bloody long shot, it wasn’t. Because at the final siren, the roar from the stands was because against all media tippers, against all speculation, against all odds, Carlton defeated what is supposed to be a Premiership contender team, by 19 points. Yep, that’s right, 19 points and to state an even more mind blowing fact, we were two, yes TWO rotations down with Murph and Sumner both out injured. But we won!
Geelong were considered to be the “golden” team with brilliant players joining the ranks of current brilliant players. Players such as Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson to join the ranks of Hawkins, Selwood, Motlop, Lonegran, Taylor, Mackie. Yet as one Carlton fan yelled to Henderson, “The exit is on your left” and it seems that Geelong all followed. But how can that be? I mean Carlton were a team that would, according to knowledgeable media commentators, prime for the Wooden Spoon and unlikely to win many games. What they didn’t count on was how a group of players got a line stuck in their heads and showed everyone, the line that said, “We will never give up.”
Not one second, not one minute did the players of an undermanned team give up. Not for one quarter of the game did the players lose their composure, their tenacity and their bloody determination to not give up. You cannot justifiably pin point one or two particular players who stood up more than others. Not really. I mean you could state a few players that made an incredible impact such as Everitt’s four, yes, four goals. Or Armfield’s three goals. Or the way Rowe kept Hawkins to 13 possessions and one goal. Or that Gibbs with 34 possessions and two goals. Or Crippa, Docherty, Curnow, Simmo, Tuohy, White (yes White), Walker, Wright, Thomas, Weiters, Plowman, The Big Krooz, Lamb, Kerridge, Casboult and finally, Gorrindge who played only his second senior game and scored not one, but two, yes, two goals! How is this possible? How, I’ll tell you why.
Never, ever, ever underestimate the power of sheer positivism in a group of players who had been starved of it for a while to make a difference when it is least expected. Never, ever, ever under estimate what a person can achieve when they are given the tools of self-belief and when this is reinforced by the person each player looks up to for guidance, skill education and a belief in what can be achieved if you are treated with respect, and if your name is Brendon Bolton. This man has injected into the playing group a sense of player belief, accountability and to never take anything for granted. On Sunday lunchtime at Etihad Stadium, against a supposedly Premiership side, Carlton players did what no-one thought possible, they breathed and believed in all the tools that Bolts has given them.
I sit here at my desk and like others am stunned, proud, voiceless and very emotional, because I believe that what Bolts is giving to this club is something that I have always believed in and that is, just because you are down, just because you think that something cannot be achieved, should make you get up, stand up and prove them all bloody wrong. Carlton did that and more!
#BOUND BY BLUE!