Carlton’s senior players have successfully negotiated their first intra-club hit-out in sweltering conditions at Visy Park.
Newly-appointed Carlton Senior Coach Michael Malthouse, wired for sound and watching on from the Gardiner Stand wing, would have been satisfied with the performances of all players as together they adhered to the structures in place for the “Blues” versus “Whites” contest.
“There are still a few things to work on, but this was the first hit-out and the boys generally did pretty well,” said Northern Blues coach Luke Webster, who deputized as Whites coach for the match with Rob Wiley’s Blues.
“The day was all about trying to get the structures right and we had a chance to practice them in a match situation. The boys have jumped on Mick’s gameplan and the way he wants them to play.”
Though Eddie Betts, Lachie Henderson, Michael Jamison, Chris Judd, Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland, Kade Simpson and Jarrad Waite were amongst the notable absentees, the standard of play was of a refreshingly high standard. Those to impress included the club’s most recent national draftees Tom Temay and Nicholas Graham (who just hours before the contest tweeted “fair to say I’m pretty nervous”), together with Kane Lucas, Matthew Watson and Pat McCarthy, the latter having been locked into a terrific one-on-one contest with Levi Casboult.
Brock McLean was typically prolific with his possession-gathering as the rotations were constantly activated and players were employed in a variety of roles. Jeff Garlett bobbed up on a wing and pushed into the back half in an obvious break with tradition, while Sam Rowe contested the centre bounces when not presenting across half-forward.
Clearly the Senior Coach has his players playing the Malthouse way. As Murphy was drawn to say at half-time, much of the emphasis over summer has involved “making the boundary our friend”, but of also bringing the footy inboard whenever opportunity demanded.
“A lot of the blokes are trying to impress the new coach,” Murphy said. “We’ve obviously been training pretty hard through the pre-season and working to the new structure and gameplan and that’s been a big focus for the boys.”
Murphy, who expects to play in the club’s next intra-club game at Visy Park on Friday week, was amongst the onlookers, together with the 18-game former Carlton midfielder and 2006 Magarey Medallist Brett Backwell, who was there as the players completed the hit-out at the old stomping ground.