The backlash from “supporters” after the match against Essendon on Saturday afternoon, was, to say the least, exceedingly disappointing. We lost by 8 points in a match that really Essendon didn’t win, we lost it. The reason that I think the comments by “supporters” were disappointing is because it seems to me that they just don’t get what the club is attempting to achieve since the start of 2016.
There are now calls by some “supporters” who believe that Bolts is not the man for the job. Are you serious? What assistant coach was asked by the senior coach to take over from him for 6 weeks while he recovered from an illness and that said assistant coach never lost a game in that time? And that same assistant coach was part of the coaching staff that led a team to win three Premierships in a row? Which assistant coach? Well the coach who is now our senior coach, Brendon Bolton.
Ask yourself this, why could a senior coach step away from a very successful club and place it in the hands of an assistant coach if he did not believe that Bolton could continue on ensuring the club would be successful? Why because Clarkson not only believed in what Bolts could do, but he also believed in the journey that he had started with the players of this group and what they had achieved. Ask yourself this then, did this success happen overnight. Answer: NO! Did it happen over 2 years, answer NO! It took time.
This is EXACTLY what Bolts and his team are trying to achieve. That same level of playing depth that will allow the club to become a success. No player can sustain a level of footy intuition of knowing what to do in every situation without experiencing it. Jack Silvagni should have taken the snap-shot at goal in the last quarter, he didn’t, and he panicked. But what will happen in the future is that he will one day face that same situation and not panic. He will know what to do and how to achieve it.
Many times in that game the younger players didn’t know how to overcome an intense pressure from an opposition that has some real quality players. With every match they play and with every mistake, they will learn what to do and how to settle their panic into an outstanding delivery of play. In order to make these younger players more able to do this they need senior game experience, which is what they are getting.
Bolts said last year that it is going to take time to get this club in a position that it needs to be in to be able to play a brand of footy that makes Carlton a feared team. He said that it will take up to 3 years for a complete re-build. We are in the second year of that, why the hell do some “supporters” expect anything else? The comments that we have not won a Premiership for over 20 years is, well true, but does that mean that there is an expectation that we have to win one because we are Carlton?
We are seeing other rival clubs overtake us in their playing ability and that is because they had player and coaching stability, we didn’t and we haven’t for quite a few years. Brett Rattan said in an interview in The Age last week that his time as senior coach at Carlton was one where he realises that he made mistakes that made him not understand what his role was as a senior coach. That his time at Hawthorn has made him understand this. Then we had, and it is getting pretty tiresome saying this over again, the disaster that was Malthouse. This put us back several years, behind those other clubs who had more stability and growth in their coaching staff and playing group than we did.
Now we have a coach who is trying to ensure longevity in the club and has had to literally start again. We have had to look at our list and work what is needed and who is needed. We have had to find the young players that will be part of the future success of the club in the next few years. We do not want to be a club that only looks at the short-term gain, we need to look at the long-term gain.
We do not want to be a club that rises to the top now only to sink later. We want to be in a position in which Hawthorn is now in. After having successes in the last 5 years and after what could have been a disastrous season for them, they are coming back with a vengeance. After all that they have achieved, I want Carlton to be in that same position in the next 5 years. This is precisely what Bolts and his team are doing. If this is not their plan then why did John Barker re-sign with the club as assistant coach for another 2 years?
The last time Adelaide won a Premiership was in 1998, Brisbane Lions 2003, Collingwood 2010, Essendon 2000, Fremantle – zero, Geelong 2011, Melbourne 1964, NM 1999, PA 2004, Richmond 1980, St Kilda 1966, Sydney 2012, WB 2016 (and theirs was only over 60 years in the making), WC 2006; Carlton 1995 (I have not included GC or GWS). Except for Hawthorn who had dominated the past 5 years, I look at this list and I know in what position I want to be in. I want to be in the position that Hawthorn is in.
There are 3 games left in this season. The games so far this year have shown what the future of Carlton will look like. It looks fantastic and with a few more tweaks in the playing group it will look even better. Those “supporters” who don’t see this, get off the bandwagon, jump on another team’s one, you don’t cut it as a real supporter of any team. Bill Shankly, one of England’s greatest football managers who took a bottom rate team, Liverpool to a powerhouse said, “If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, then you can’t support us when we win.” Do you think he achieved this over a period of a few years? It took time which is EXACTLY what Bolts and Carlton are doing. If you don’t see this, then don’t let the door hit you on your way out!