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Carlton Plays of the Day - R5

4:12pm  Apr 23, 2014

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11:57am  Apr 22, 2014

Blues working on forward formula

Ben Collins  April 27, 2013 10:15 PM

EddieRobbieArticle_620X370.jpg

Eddie Betts, Jeff Garlett and Rob Warnock celebrate another goal. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Carlton has won successive games against 2012 finallists but coach Mick Malthouse is considering reshuffling his forward line to find more viable marking targets.
 
Malthouse was pleased that the Blues shared the scoring load with 11 goalkickers in their 32-point win over Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night, but wasn't so enthused by the performances of key forwards Shaun Hampson and Sam Rowe.
 
Between them, the pair managed just 14 disposals and three marks.

Rowe was the only one to trouble the scorers, contributing a behind and two scoring assists.
 
The Blues' small men once again did the damage in attack, with brilliant speedsters Jeff Garlett (four goals) and Chris Yarran (three) leading the way, and midfielder Brock McLean snagging two majors while amassing 29 disposals in a role that found him forward of the centreline 80 per cent of the time.
 
"Neither of those lads would be happy with their game," Malthouse said of Hampson and Rowe post-match.
 
"We want a contest. We don't plan on a lot of goals (from them), but none is disappointing. And they know that.
 
"If you are highly competitive down there, then others end up with goals. When we mark them down (for) a goal assist, I don't care. But when we can’t add too many of those, we've certainly got to look at that side and see if it's functional.
 
"We've got players playing tomorrow who we'll have a close look at and see whether we need to shuffle this side around. But (Hampson and Rowe) have served us very well so far."

Malthouse was more positive about the efforts of his mosquito fleet up forward, comprising Garlett, Yarran and the returning Eddie Betts.

"I don't see any reason why it can't work," Malthouse said of his bevy of small forwards including Betts, who returned to the fray on Saturday after recovering from a broken jaw.

"They all work hard; they're smart players; they're interchangeable players; they can all go through the middle.

"One can go back, two can go to the wing and that's some of the criteria of our team - to have that flexibility."
 
On Sunday, injury-prone star Jarrad Waite will play his first game for the season in the VFL after overcoming a calf complaint.
 
Luke Mitchell is another forward option who could be considered for promotion from the Northern Blues, while usual defender Jeremy Laidler has also been trialled in attack in the VFL in recent weeks.
 
McLean defended the tall duo, suggesting the Blues' occasional over-use of the ball at times made it difficult for them.
 
"It probably doesn’t help our two big blokes up forward because they get in good positions and we might be flipping it around and all of a sudden they've got to cope with two or three defenders rather than being one-on-ones," he said.
 
Malthouse said lapses, which had cost the Blues dearly in the opening three rounds, were still a concern.
 
"We've played some pretty good football sides, stayed in the game on most occasions for a long time, but when we lapse we're lapsing badly and we've just got to get better," he said.
 
"But the lapses were shorter and restricted to one, or maybe two, quarters. So we are getting better."
 
Malthouse said he would likely know on Sunday the extent of a hamstring problem suffered by Bryce Gibbs, who was subbed off at half time.
 
"All I've been advised is he's got a tight hamstring. I wasn't going to take any gambles at half time with Eddie Betts on the bench, so you don’t run the risk," he said.