Curnow in limbo, but extra tall forward line is no problem: Bolton


“We think we can play with the talls,” Bolton said at Princes Park ahead of training on Friday.

“It’s about making sure they’re all on different layers, sometimes they’re an exit kick out of defence, sometimes they’re in that middle tier and deep tier.

Charlie Curnow is in doubt but his return against Hawthorn would make for a very tall Blues forward line.Credit:AAP

“It’s more an awkward look when we’re not presenting at the ball and we’re all on top of each other and sometimes when youngsters muck up those patterns, that’s what you see, so it’s about making sure they’re on different layers on the ground versus all being on top of each other.

“They’re a work in progress, they’re just new together. What are they, five games together as a group? You’ve got to remember Harry’s only played a handful of games, and ‘Gov’ [McGovern] has played 50, Charlie around the same, so I think every week we should just see little steps forward.”

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Curnow hasn’t kicked on from his breakout 2018 season, kicking just two goals from three games this year. While Bolton wasn’t going to use his knee issues as an excuse for his poor form, the Carlton coach acknowledged they might be playing a role.

“Players that don’t have good pre-seasons or [injury] interruptions, it just takes a little while to settle … continuity is critical at AFL level,” he said.

Another youngster who has been exciting Carlton fans is No.1 pick Sam Walsh and Bolton wasn’t sure if there had ever been a player who had produced a stronger first five games of a career.

“I can’t think of one,” Bolton said. “His gut-running and his ability to play inside and outside is what he’s got, and a maturity above his years … it’s pretty exciting what we’re seeing.”

Carlton’s next assignment isn’t an easy one as they prepare for a Hawthorn side on the rebound down at their Launceston fortress where they have won 31 of their last 35 games.

For the Blues to achieve consecutive wins for the first time in almost two years, they simply need to play “smart footy” against the Hawks, according to Bolton.

“They’re very well-structured,” Bolton said of Hawthorn.

“I don’t think playing one way the whole way is the answer because they can adjust in-game. They’ve got some terrific interceptors, so using the ball intelligently is important.”

David Cuningham was also added to the Blues’ squad this week and Bolton said he was “right in the mix” to play his first game since round one after overcoming a bruised kidney suffered at training a month ago.

Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.

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