On the weekend, everybody cringed as they saw Carlton’s Jed Lamb literally fall like a tree that had been chopped down. He was as stiff and non-responsive as that fallen tree. Matty Wright stepped away from the game to stay with his fallen comrade who got a fist to the face from a very unlikely opponent player Basher Houli.
Houli sent Lamb a message apologising for what he did but unfortunately this will not be the end of this issue as for the first time in 12 months, the MRP will sit to determine how long Houli will be out, and he will be out for a while. It makes no difference that Houli has a clean record, it matters that his action actually was unintentionally intentional. He looked back then hit Lamb, whether he intentionally wanted to hit his face is not the issue, the fact that his fist made contact with his face and the resulting concussion is the issue.
Now you could be saying that this was the biggest issue with Carlton’s game on Sunday, but it actually wasn’t. You could be saying that this would give those players who are teetering on whether they get another run with Carlton or not, a chance to fill in those boots left behind when Lamb went down. There you would be wrong.
There were players who had the optimal opportunity to show they belong at Carlton and must be given another chance at playing at Carlton next season just, well, fluffed it. They made no impression on the game other than being a bit like fish out of water. I understand that for some, their age and their experience or lack thereof, could factor in how they are playing, but there has to be signs that the player has something more to give. If they are given another opportunity to play in senior matches, then they must do all that they can to perform on the day, if not, then they are gone.
When Brendon Bolton was On The Couch last night, the panel talked about Liam Jones, a player down on form in the forward line, but blitzing it down back. Bolts said that it was not only the switch that was great for Jones, but that his mindset was to show the club that they can have faith in his ability to be a force down back and he is showing this. Bolts hinting that Jones could be offered a contact at Carlton seeing he is out of contract at the end of this year.
The stark difference is that here is a player who is doing all that he can to prove himself to a club that he obviously loves playing for compared to those who have been at the club for a while and are just not showing a gritty, determined need to become part of a team that is visibly on the rise.
There were obvious issues against Richmond, which as Bolts has said, needs to be rectified and that with each game, the players are becoming more and more attuned to what is needed and required on the field on game day. It seems that there are some players who are given a chance to shine and just don’t. It’s not that they make mistakes but that they just don’t do anything to try.
The modern is a fast-pace moving game and at any one time an opponent will stick his arm out and hit you right in the face, but you have to take the game on. For some players, they are just doing that and it shows, for others, it time to just say “Thanks for everything, but unless you are willing to take the game on and risk getting hit in the face, time to move on.”
The signs are definitely there that Carlton are heading the right direction and with a few more tweaks, we will get there but there are players who are just not up to scratch and won't be part of the rise of this great club!