Lets get things started shall we. A few questions to ask: 1.. Will Walshy get up? 2. Will Motlop miss? 3. Do Williams and Kennedy come in? 4. Do we play TDK and Pitto or TDK and H? 5. Does/Can Marchy come in or is he hurt also?
A lacklustre performance tonight to say the least, but I'm reliably told its a praccy match and so just ignore it.
From what I saw of Young tonight, Durdin plays if he is fit. Despite H hurting my eyes in the ruck, Pitto made him look like Big Nic. I think Williams and Kennedy need to come in for sure.
Cant see us beating the Lions up there, but Ill wipe tonight from my memory and say you never know.
The List Manager: Jon Ralph runs the rule over Carlton’s current group, its future and everything in between The Blues won’t have a better chance to end their flag drought than 2024 with how their list is placed. Jon Ralph dives deep into where the Carlton list is right now and how it could change.
It’s go time. Nearly 30 years on from the 1995 premiership win, Carlton will never have a better chance to hold the cup aloft than in 2024.
It wants for nothing on any line, has assembled an array of match-winning stars that eclipses any team in the competition and enters 2024 brimming with momentum.
In the late-season charge that included 11 wins in 13 games (including two finals victories) the Blues conquered Sydney, Port Adelaide, Collingwood, St Kilda, Melbourne (twice) and the Suns (twice).
With any luck the Blues will hit round 1 with Harry McKay, Zac Williams, Sam Walsh and Jack Martin fully fit after various injuries through 2023.
And they should believe the premiership can be theirs next year.
TRADE PERIOD OUT OF TEN
Carlton admitted its salary cap was close to overflowing so it prioritised retention, an improved draft hand, points for 2024 father-sons Ben and Lucas Camporeale and a trade for No. 7 draft pick Elijah Hollands.
It ticked all of those boxes, even if the shock of the trade period was Hollands’ drug charge that only emerged the day after the trade period.
Carlton has done its due diligence on Hollands – and approval from the coaching group, leadership group and board – and believes he is not a rotten apple but rather a young kid who will learn from his mistake.
The Blues traded pick 17 and eventually turned it into picks 22 and 28 as part of the Zac Fisher move to the Roos, also clearing cap space.
They cleared inside mid Paddy Dow for very little but believed they owed it to him to find his preferred home.
Carlton will back Hollands, brother Ollie, Matt Cottrell and second-year mid Jaxon Binns to fill Dow’s role and Lachie Cowan, Zac Williams and Alex Cincotta to fill Fisher’s role, with neither of Dow or Fisher playing a final last year.
The Blues 2024 national draft hand has them stocked with a trio of back-end picks, so they have accrued enough points if both Camporeale boys are taken in the top 30 of the draft.
Then came the throw at the stumps – a two-year deal for injury-prone Orazio Fantasia that has plenty of upside and not much risk.
Carlton has talent to burn on every line.
The midfield has elite match winners (Patrick Cripps, Adam Cerra), outside pace (Sam Walsh, Ollie Holland), and depth (Matt Kennedy, George Hewett).
Michael Voss has a pair of complementary rucks (Marc Pittonet, Tom De Koning).
The backline has a defensive pillar (Jacob Weitering), a strong interceptor (Mitch McGovern), three more talls competing for spots (Brodie Kemp, Caleb Marchbank, Lewis Young) and a bevy of lockdown and rebounding smalls.
And the list demographic is spectacular with Ed Curnow’s retirement meaning only Nic Newman and Sam Docherty are 30 or over.
The stars are all in their sweet spot – Cripps at 28, Weitering only 26 in November, Harry McKay 26 in December, Cerra 24, Walsh 23, Charlie Curnow 27 in February.
While there are only 14 players under 24 on the list many of them have real promise – 22-year-old Kemp, 19-year-old Jesse Motlop, 19-year-old Ollie Hollands, 21-year-old Corey Durdin, 21-year-old Elijah Hollands, second-year outside runner Jaxon Binns.
Elijah Hollands and Fantasia will both play half forward to add experience to a group of small and medium-sized forward that hasn’t had an on-field leader since Eddie Betts and is probably the one area that needs improvement.
So to frank this spectacularly talented list Michael Voss needs to turn individual finals cameos into entire 2024 campaigns.
Tom De Koning could be a top-five ruckman in the comp if he can replicate his semi-final against Melbourne – two goals, 15 touches, 12 contested possessions, profound influence.
And Harry McKay doesn’t need to be the 58-goal hero of 2021, he only needs to play his part as he did selflessly handing goals to Sam Docherty and Charlie Curnow early in the elimination final victory over Sydney.
The Blues would love to move up from picks 22 and 28 but don’t have the draft capital so will likely take only those two picks, put Orazio Fantasia on the primary list and take one selection in the rookie draft.
The beauty of having such a balanced list is Carlton can keep adding depth without having to reach for any particular type of player.
Last year it was an elite running mid in Ollie Hollands (pick 11), a flint-hard defender in Lachie Cowan (pick 30), a quality mid in Jaxon Binns (pick 32) and a project forward in Harry Lemmey (pick 47) plus summer rookie Alex Cincotta.
With the Camporeale brothers coming in for the 2025 season as hard running mids and flankers next year, the Blues could consider taller prospects this year including 203cm key position player Archer Reid.
WHO’S UNDER THE PUMP?
Zac Williams has played only 23 games across three of his six contracted seasons because of injury, tearing his ACL in February after an excellent summer.
Carlton still has high hopes for him but there will be pressure to perform and competition for spots with Adam Saad, Sam Docherty, Nic Newman, Brodie Kemp, Alex Cincotta and Lachie Cowan all keen to play as small or mid-sized defenders.
Dean Bailey once said the Demons would open the “bi-fold doors” to a premiership window given how wide it could be, but it is Carlton in that position.
The Blues should set themselves for a five-year window where their stars are all at the peak of their powers.
THE TOP 100
PLAYERS WHO MADE THE TOP 100 IN THE AFL PLAYER RANKINGS IN 2023 AND A 2024 BOLTER
Charlie Curnow (31st), Adam Cerra (40th), Patrick Cripps (54th), Sam Walsh (63rd), Jacob Weitering (89th), Adam Saad (91st).
Harry McKay was the 353rd ranked player this year as he battled injury and form.
As above, he only needs to play his role. But he has pledged to put in place an off-season goalkicking routine overhaul that should get him back into the top 100.
TRADE TARGETS FOR 2024
Something would have to go badly wrong for the Blues to need to splash the cash on a big-name free agent and their picks will be taken up by the Camporeale boys.
The Blues can again consider low-cost big-upside plays like Orazio Fantasia, set to join them this week as a delisted free agent.
SALARY CAP SPACE
Mid-season the Blues looked to have cap space to spare but was surprised when both Tom De Koning and Jack Silvagni stayed, with David Cuningham, Lachie Fogarty and Caleb Marchbank all winning new deals.
So the Blues are again fairly tight in the cap but will have some space for the kind of targeted acquisitions that brought in Acres last year and Hollands this year.
Carlton admits it is top-heavy in wages with the Blues not getting much change from $3 million from McKay, Curnow and Cripps’ deals next year.
Walsh, Williams and Weitering are among those on $800,000 a season but the Blues will go to the draft this year and next so while they are in retention mode they have their cap issues in hand.
Mitch McGovern’s $800,000K a year deal finished last year while Jack Martin’s lucrative five-year deal of $600,000 a season was front-ended and expires at the end of 2024.
Give full back Lewis Young all the credit in the world for realising he had to work on his weaknesses rather than asking for a trade when pushed into the VFL.
But if he can’t find a spot in the back six he is too good to continue playing VFL in 2025 despite a three-year deal to 2026.
Carlton believes Marc Pittonet and De Koning work perfectly in unison – Pittonet bashing up his opponent then De Koning jumping over the top of them.
So it would take De Koning going to another level for Pittonet to be pushed out of the side, which would spark trade inquiries.
CARLTON CRYSTAL BALL
2024 FINISH 1st. Going all in on the Blues but what do they want for in talent?
2024 BEST AND FAIREST Sam Walsh. Was Carlton’s best finals player and finished eighth in the John Nicholls trophy despite missing eight games.
2024 LEADING GOAL KICKER Charlie Curnow. How can you go past him?
PLAYER ON THE RISE Matt Cottrell. A point of difference in the midfield with his speed. 17 possessions at 91 per cent efficiency and seven score involvements in the Sydney finals win. Can he churn out eight games of that standard?
PLAYER ON THE EDGE Jack Silvagni. Blues fans were thrilled he signed on, but now comes the challenge of establishing himself as a regular best-22 player.
AFL 2023: Which teams fit the Champion Data premiership profile
Recent premiers have all had the same hallmarks to their game, so who has the credentials to win the 2023 premiership, and who’s dropped off a cliff? See the Core Four ladder.
Beware the unbridled Blues. Yes, it’s real.
Key statistics from the past six weeks indicate that Carlton– unlike ladder-leader and premiership favourite Collingwood, which has fallen away – is displaying the ultimate premiership profile as the finals series looms large.
Champion Data’s Core Four formula, which evaluates a team’s performance both with and without the ball, has analysed every team’s status throughout the season, with a focus on form over the past six weeks.
Over recent years, the eventual premier has ranked in the top six teams in the competition in three of four key elements in securing the flag – work with the ball, without the ball, at clearance and post-clearance.
Champion Data considers work without the ball the top priority.
And for Carlton, which sits inside the game’s top four in all core flag criteria, the past six weeks are a clear indication that things are tracking positively for Michael Voss’s Blues in a marked difference to when alarm bells were ringing at Ikon Park earlier this year.
The chain to score percentage has been boosted by an in-form Charlie Curnow and the likes of Jack Martin skirting in front of goal, while skipper Patrick Cripps’ return to clearance beast has reached a crescendo over the past month with his clearance numbers at a season-high.
After a mid-season dip in clearance numbers, Cripps’ stoppage work has delivered just under 10 clearances per game in the past four weeks.
The only other teams to currently fulfil the ideal premiership ratio of being situated inside the game’s top six teams in three of the four categories are Brisbane, Geelong and St Kilda.
In the first six rounds, the Blues were among the worst teams in the competition for points from clearance differential, sitting 15th.
They’re now first.
Across all four categories, the Blues sit atop the game in a stark warning to rivals.
“If they were fourth (on the ladder), we’d be stamping them,” Fox Footy analyst David King said on Wednesday on Pure Footy.
“They’re going to challenge and go against history.”
Righto, 3 wins in a row, now we play a big dog. To contend you have to beat contenders, so can we? What I know for certain is we must: - Be the hunter again - Pressure on the oppo ball carrier has to be even higher this week
This is going to turn into a crap strorm once the billionaires family get a hold of it. Sounds like it was disasster waiting to happen with many predicting it given the lack of checks and balances on this thing. How anyone can think using off the shelf items and xbox looking controllers for a sub down to 4km is a good idea is beyond me. Even sadder is the fact that the 19 year old didn't even want to go, he was only doing it for his father.
Has there been a more high profile bloke than Harry that's gone from champagne to crape as a result of marrying a dead set skank. This bloke gone from being one of the most popular and loved members of the Royal Family to persona non grata. I liked him because he was a fairly loose young fella and went against the establishment a bit. Since he met this imbecile, its turned to cacca for him.
Just a question, is the medal named after anyone? If not then what about the Vivienne Kerr or Jeanne Pratt medal? Clearly we haven't had any great passed woman footballers but our club has certainly had some powerhouse woman administrators/benefactors that have helped shape our great club.
How's me of all people starting a World Cup thread? I know SFA about the game but follow it whenever the Aussies play. From the untrained eye such as mine, our squads looks like one of the worst we have ever gone in with. I'm sure they'll give it there all but the talent compared to other countries just isn't there. One of our best players in Rogic isn't even in the squad, something isn't right there. Would have preferred Ange as coach, Arnold comes across as a battler who is just in the same league as other coaches. We'll make up numbers and surely this will be curtains for him. Would love better than to knock off the Frogs on Wed morning, Ill be up watching. Go the Socceroos.