Baby Blues sent to the slaughter


Carlton trudge off Giants Stadium after their latest humiliation on Sunday.Credit:AAP

The problem with that was that once Cripps could not get first hands on the ball and shovel it out to the spritely pubescent teammates dancing on the outside, then those teammates just looked like pimply kids as they were shrugged away by men.

Cripps went to compete at the centre bounce 28 times for Carlton on Sunday – rightly, the most by any Blues player.

But consider the roll call of partners he had in the centre with him. Zac Fisher went to 17 centre bounces. Paddy Dow went to 15 of them, Sam Walsh went in nine times and Will Setterfield was in there eight times.

Marc Murphy, meanwhile, was off with a shirt full of broken ribs – all legally cracked, as it turns out.

These are just boys. What did Carlton expect as they watched the ball waltz out of the middle time and again?

These are just boys. What did Carlton expect as they watched the ball waltz out of the middle time and again? Where was the support?

Why has Ed Curnow played on flanks all year when opposition teams are having their way with the P-platers in the middle? The logic of investing time and games in players in the middle is worthy, but when they are being assailed and assaulted as they were on Sunday, why was there no relief? Curnow could at least have helped around the ball.

Furthermore, why was his brother Charlie not thrust in the middle even as a disrupter to cause some havoc? Charlie Curnow has been treading water this year with only sporadic moments of excitement interspersing long periods of nothing. This should have been his breakout year, but he looks like a player who thought that too and has waited for it to happen.

Matt Kennedy is the big-bodied midfielder the Blues recruited to be in the middle for just such a concern over body size. On the weekend, he muddled around in the VFL, not in western Sydney.

Carlton's Zac Fisher gets taken down by GWS' Matt De Boer.

Carlton’s Zac Fisher gets taken down by GWS’ Matt De Boer.Credit:AAP

He had an interrupted pre-season which, as a heavy bodied athlete that already struggled for pace, has meant he battles even more to get across the ground.

This is the shorthand version of where Carlton are ar. They have cut deeply with the list … but so did Brisbane.

They were heavily undermanned behind the ball, and on the ball Cripps was shut down, Murphy got injured, Bryce Gibbs is playing for Adelaide, and promising kids were just that.

Carlton on Monday started and will continue to do a searching review of what happened on Sunday and how it got to the point they had so many kids out there and thus offered so little resistance.

Doubtless that search will conclude that, four years in, the coach must wear responsibility for what happened on the field.

But it also must conclude that he is not alone in shouldering that responsibility over the players he had at his disposal.

Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.

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