This week in the media those in the “know” have praised the incredible season so far of Carlton and how totally unexpected the resurgence of this club has been since the start of the year. FOX Footy has published an article on their website written by Jake Niall who has rated each club based on their performance so far. But it is not a rating based on win/losses but on overall team performance in those wins/losses, and guess which club is on the top? Yep, Carlton. Not only do I totally agree with him, but what he wrote is something that I have stated before and now the proof is in the results that Carlton is achieving.
His article stated that Carlton has “shocked the competition” and while there still needs to be more appraisal of the playing list, what Bolts has achieved is nothing short of spectacular and that what he has done could be a game-changer for other clubs and their coaches. I have stated before and will state again that being an outstanding player in footy or any other sport for that matter does not mean that a club who has a team of outstanding players will ultimately be an outstanding and successful club. You can have a great player who flounders under a coach that does nothing for their progress or their self-belief. You can have a team of champions but get them all together and if the coach is one that is demeaning, tyrannical or just does not get the players, then champions will fall like rain drops, a small shower, and then a major storm.
Now I know there are some who say, well look at Hawthorn and my reply is, yep look at them and look who is coaching them, probably one of the greatest coaches of the past years, of course he is going to have a club of champions because he has developed them to be just that. Carlton had players who were picked because of their future potential and what they could achieve and some just did not live up to the expectation the club and themselves believed them to be able to achieve, until now. Players such as Gibbs, Krooz, Armfield, Murph, Rowe (yes Rowe) who are proving in every game this year the incredible talent they have just because a coach believes in them. Then there is the stalwart of Simmo who shows every week a passion not seen in him for a while and who could be a player with more years to give to the club than previously thought.
Bolts took younger players, rookies such as Weitering, Charlie Curnow (before he got sick) and put them right into the limelight of a senior game time and they did not for one second, let the club down. Then there is the outstanding Ed Curnow, Docherty, Kerridge, Gorringe, Wright and the Irish tribe who were not really considered to be of top team calibre…how wrong they all were. Of course, there is no denying what a dynamic player Crippa is and what he will in the future become. Bolts took a team that did not have much to offer the footy world in 2015 and made them a team that garnishes respect and admiration not just from each other, but from the AFL world as a whole.
It does not matter now where the team will finish at the end of the season but what matters now is that a coach took a bunch of players who were deemed to be losers and turn them into winners, not just on the scoreboard but on the field. He gave them self-belief, confidence, skill, and the tools to make them better than anyone thought possible not for half a game, or for 3 quarters, but for 4 quarters of tough, rough, bloody resilience game play. He gave to the footy world a dynamic Carlton that is feared by other clubs and so it should be, one game at a time.
P.S. Sorry if I keep putting up the "huddle" photo, but it happens to be one of the most significant displays of unity at a club that I have ever seen!