For the final game of Carlton’s 2017 season, the result was not what any supporter wanted. It was a blow-out no question, but seeing as I’m a ‘half-glass-full’ type of person, it was not the game itself that was significant, but after the game.
I was fortunate enough to be able to fly to Sydney to see that game and some comments that I had got were, well that was a waste of money and time. Not really. After the match I was privileged to have been given access to the change rooms. When the players had changed and were ready to go into their final after match briefing, they all gathered in the main area and final speeches were made.
Steven Trigg thanked those people behind the scenes that ensure the smooth running of any football game. He thanked the coaching team, led by Bolts, the players, the admins and the families and supporters of the players, and even the Cheer Squad got a mention. He then asked Bolts to say something and then Bolts presented Neil Craig with a framed collage of photos showing how much he has meant to him and to the playing group.
Craig’s response was something that struck me more than anything else. Here’s why. He said he was lucky to have been given an opportunity to be involved in the game for another two years, but more importantly that this was with the Carlton FC. He stated to the players with a clarity and understanding of all that he himself has achieved in footy, not with Carlton, that the Blues are on the right track and that Bolts is the best man and coach to lead the team to become a successful one. He said that no matter what, Bolts is a great coach because he is instilling in the playing group a sense of what it means to be part of a team. That in order to become a successful club, it is not a short-term venture but one that requires learning from the good wins and the bad losses.
All those out there in the footy world who sees season 2017 as one that has not progressed the team, need to understand what it takes to become a great and successful team. I do not want the club to become a team that performs sporadically that makes the finals one year and bombs out the next. That has the potential to be in finals one year, then misses the mark the next. I want the club to become a consistent, well performing and dynamic team that may sit on the edge of greatness one year, just to blitz it the next, and the next, and the next.
I want to the club to become a consistent force in the game. I want stability and the knowledge that the coaches understand what is required and how to achieve this. Given what I heard on Saturday after the game, this is exactly what is happening at the club. This may mean some players will go, but then other players from other clubs or rookies will join the club to make it great once again.
Our season is officially over and we all look forward to the drafts, the pre-season and all that the build-up of this entails. I am disappointed that we could not finish the season with a win, but I am more excited for the start of 2018 season. With a few more tweaks, given the current crop of young players we have, with another pre-season under their belt, they will only become better players and stronger in their abilities. I am excited to see who will join our club and who will leave and I’m excited to see those ‘naysayers’ who deride Carlton at any opportunity, to eat their negative words and speculations.
No matter what happens, the club, as Neil Craig has said, is on the right track to become a great club again. Personally, I believe, it might be sooner than you all think.