The performance on Saturday by the Carlton FC players was exactly what supporters, coaches, and even media commentators wanted, even if they didn’t get the four points. Yet what stood out for most was the incredible performance of one of the club’s up-and-coming star of the game: Patrick Cripps. With Murph out for a while, he took over the role of captaincy and showed what a spectacular player this person is and is going to be in the future. Yet through all of these accolades, everyone needs to remember and understand that this was not something that happened overnight. It took time and this is exactly what the rest of the young players need in order to develop into the players that Bolts and his team know that they will be capable of.
Number 9 – Mr Patrick Cripps was selected in the first round Draft Pick at number 13 in 2013. His debut happened in Round 14 in 2014. In 2014 he had a total of 27 disposals, 5 marks, no goals, 10 kicks and 17 handballs. In 2015, a total of 471 disposals, in 2016, 566 and in 2017 despite being injured during the season, he had a total of 374 disposals. After five rounds this year, he has had 138 disposals, an average of 27 per match.
Number 2 – Paddy Dow was selected at number three in the 2017 Draft. So far, he has played 5 senior games with a total of 62 disposals, 29 kicks, 33 handballs, 14 tackles. After the year he was selected, he has played in every match. Then there is Harry McKay, picked in the 2015 Draft at number 10. He has unfortunately been thrown a few curve balls when it comes to his growth and injuries. As someone who is very tall and still very young and growing into his body, so far, this year he has had 10 disposals, with 4 goals. In 2017 he had a total of 10 disposals, 3 goals.
Then we look at Bolts who is in his third year of coaching the team, who stated right from the beginning that the club is in a complete re-build. He, together with his assistant coaches and recruitment team, including SOS, have understood and know EXACTLY what it is they are looking for when it comes to player selection for the team for now and for the future. This means for now, that Carlton will not be a contender for the top 8 – yet. Given that it took a player like Crippa to become the amazing athlete he is, should we expect anything else from our other younger players?
Jacob Weitering, picked at number one in the 2015 Draft Picks is only 21, yet we expect him to be in the exactly the same position as Crippa, but he is two years younger. He is still growing into his body and if we look at his stats, in 2016 where he debuted, he had 291 disposals with 164 kicks and 127 handballs. In 2017, 301 disposals, 198 kicks, and 103 handballs. This season, for him it has not been a great start, but he is only 21 and we have to understand that the nature of a person’s growth differs with each person. He probably needs to realize that it might take just a bit longer for him to grow and develop into the player that we know he can be.
Caleb Marchbank is quite different again because he had two years of intermittent playing at GWS and really came to the fore in his game in 2017. 2018 is proving to be a real eye-opener as he is only just starting to make an impact on the game. It has taken him four years to get to where we know he is going to be.
What is my point? The point is, we cannot expect every player to develop at the same time, at the same pace and in the same way. There are young players who simply need time to grow not only into their bodies but to understand the game in every aspect, not panic and learn what it takes to be a great player. It will happen, it will come, but, the supporters must understand that Bolts and his team are doing absolutely everything to ensure that the club has a long-term playing group to play great footy for the future. If we expect anything else, then we will only be continually disappointed, but continually calling for the heads of disunity in the club. We don’t want that, it does not make for a coherent, consistent and a great club.
P.S. Flipper was outstanding in his role and to see Sam Rowe back and show how important he is in the backline, is for another time and another article.