I want you all to open a dictionary, no, sorry, open a Google tab and type in the word “practice”. Now that you have done this, open the part that gives the meaning of that word. It is a verb, a “doing” word, it means “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it” and it is “the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.” Now type in the word “premiership” and you will need to add in the word “define” otherwise you will get sporting websites. Here it means, for a sporting context, “a championship competition held among a number of sporting clubs” and whereby “a victory in such a championship”. There is a huge, vast, large difference between what each of these words mean and one which for some footy fans, irrespective of who they support, and some sports commentators, seem to not understand what they really mean.
Carlton has been trounced during the JLT Community Series “practice” matches and that is all that they are, PRACTICE matches. They are a way of allowing coaches to mix it up a bit, experiment, change things around, see what works and what doesn’t. It is a way for coaches to let the rookies gain some valuable experience, for those that were injured, to ease their way back into the game. It is a way for those new to the club to learn what is expected and required on game day all under, what is for them, a new system. It is purely and simply a PRACTICE game. It holds no valuable component for the 2017 Premiership season which starts at the end of this month other than to PRACTICE.
Sporting commentators have called Carlton “bad”, “immensely bad” and have a long, long, long, long way to go, all this based on a series of matches that are, (wait for it) a PRACTICE match. We all know, I’m sorry, true supporters know that for a club, any club, that has been through the turmoil Carlton have been through, will understand and acknowledge that any success takes time. It cannot be done overnight, even over a few years, it takes time. Sure we are all itching to see that time when Carlton are back on the top, and in time, this will happen. But to take what has happened in the past few weeks as what Carlton will be like during the Premiership Season is really being blind to the whole meaning of the JLT Community series and not understanding the definition of the word Practice.
The coaches at Carlton know what is required to make the club great again and know and understand what the meaning of the JLT series means, it seems others do not. Professional commentators want to fill up newspaper space or internet space with their foresight into what they believe is what the JLT series is all about, that it is an earmark for the Premiership Season, it is not, even Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is wary of the Bulldogs performance during this series.
For those supporters who will then spout how they know better than anyone else because they either play the game or coach, or that they have an “inside knowledge” that we mere mortal don’t have, and then rant and rave about how bad the club is doing, get some perspective and understanding of the process of what rebuilding a club means. Understand what the word "practice" really means.
Carlton does not want to be a club that has an immense and sudden rise to the top, as that is only a short-term outcome. Carlton wants to be a club that is in the long-run, a top club and that takes time, patience and teaching the young players who will be a part of that rise for a long time. To mould them, shape them and make them become the players we think they have the capacity to become. It takes practice, it takes experimenting on the field and it takes time. So don’t’ read anything more into these matches.