Carlton: when did they get good?
We were actually asked a question to take a look at this week! Very exciting not to have to think of a topic. So we were requested to take a look at the Blues from a punter that thought they were a team of nobody’s (he referred them quite harshly as a team of Bastinac’s) and can’t work out how they’ve out-performed expectations by so much.
At season start, we copped some flak in some quarters for being too bullish on Carlton after predicting the Blues to finish in 16th spot with 6 wins. As an aside, the less said about those predictions the better … Freo 6th with 15 wins appears to be a tad optimistic in hindsight … needless to say our model has more accuracy on short term rather than long term predictions!
So who is behind the rapid rise for the Blues … the answer is obvious – coaching and cattle!
We won’t spend too much time on the coaching as this has been done to death in the media. However, it is undeniable that Brendon Bolton has the Blues playing with a far more systematic, possession based game style with the ball and, perhaps more importantly, a well organised defence without the ball. However, you can have the best coach in the world and they’ll go nowhere if they don’t have the cattle – so what has changed at the Blues player wise? Who has been the catalyst behind their success? Well we have identified six players that we believe more than anyone else have led the Blues rapid rise up the ladder:
Jacob Weitering – Traditionally talls take time to adjust to AFL … that is not the case for Weitering. The number one draft pick has slipped seamlessly into AFL, holding down a key position with aplomb whilst also providing unexpected rebound. Weitering’s performance in the Round 3 clash against Gold Coast was ominous as to the headaches he can provide for opposition teams for years to come.
Sam Docherty – In just 10 games, Sam Docherty has risen nearly 100 places in the TipBetPro rankings to be just outside the Top 200 now. Docherty has done this on the back of averaging nearly 25 disposals and 110 SuperCoach points a round in what has been an outstanding season. The intercept ability of Docherty has him as a possible All-Australian contender should he retain this form over the 2nd half of the season.
Patrick Cripps – What a star this kid looks! 32 games and 21 years of age isn’t traditionally anywhere near enough to compete with the big bodies inside and compete at the clearances. Cripps isn’t just competing – he’s thumping the best in the game (think the likes of Kennedy, Priddis, Selwood, Neale and Viney) to be the number 1 clearance player in the competition!
Bryce Gibbs – Not necessarily a new star … but a star returning to his best. In fact not just returning to his best – this is the best we’ve ever seen Gibbs. Career high averages in possessions, tackles and goals has seen Gibbs make the step up into the elite of the competition. Enjoying a career high ranking of 33 in TipBetPro’s player rankings and has now surpassed Marc Murphy as the number 1 ranked Blue.
Ed Curnow – Where has this Ed Curnow been? Probably the definition of a “Bastinac” before this season – Curnow has turned into a suddenly more than handy midfielder averaging comfortable career highs of 25 disposals, 6 tackles and 100 SC points a game
Sam Kerridge – A new addition to the Blues – Kerridge was previously known as a Crow who played one good game in his career (shout out to North Melbourne supporters - http://www.footywire.com/afl/footy/ft_match_statistics?mid=5629) As a Blue, Kerridge has been transferred into a prolific ball winner averaging 22 possessions per game – double his previous average at Adelaide. Oh and he still dominates North Melbourne – with a career high 29 disposals his highlight game of the season.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our look at the Blues. If there is any analysis on teams, players or trends in AFL you would like us to take a look at please let us know.