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Bolton: Youth no excuse

Post-match | Brendon Bolton Listen to Coach Brendon Bolton's post-match press conference following the Round 10 loss to North Melbourne.

A forthright Brendon Bolton won't be satisfied with Carlton suffering gallant defeats, but still expects short-term pain to come with blooding so many young players. 

Bolton's Baby Blues were on track to be the second club in as many weeks to recover a 40-plus-point deficit when they shot to the front early in the final term on Sunday.

North Melbourne instead swung the momentum in the nick of time to consign Carlton to a seventh defeat in 10 rounds and see the Blues slip to 17th on the ladder.

The Blues conceded seven first-quarter goals and 11 of the first 14 and Bolton said that start eventually came back to haunt them. 

Highlights: Carlton vs. North Melbourne

"The reality is we are a young team and we have been on a reset and we're a year-and-a-bit into that," second-year coach Bolton said.

"But it's really important that our players understand standards are incredibly high and we will not shy away from that – both the players and us as coaches.

"Our players, in particular, hear that message loud and clear and I'm sure our supporters, who I'm talking to now, want to hear that loud and clear. 

"We're trying to fast-track this as quick as we can. Yes, there's a reality we're young, but we'll never hold that as an excuse." 


One thing Carlton has succeeded at this season is restricting rival sides' efficiency from their inside-50 entries, but the Kangaroos were ruthless in that area in their blistering start.

North managed 5.1 from its first nine inside 50s to put the Blues to the sword.

"They got us in and around stoppages," Bolton said.

"I think they kicked 8.6 for the game from stoppages and many of them in the first quarter-and-a-bit, so they won the ball on the inside and got us on the outside. 

"We regrouped at quarter time, the coaches made some structural changes, the players reset their minds and worked really hard in those middle two quarters, but by and large they got us inside and outside the stoppage game." 

Bolton praised his leaders' performance through the first 10 rounds, with Bryce Gibbs, Sam Docherty and Matthew Kreuzer the best of them against the Roos.

There were also further glimpses from Carlton's young crew, including Charlie Curnow, David Cuningham and Zac Fisher.

"I thought our leaders, including Kreuze, have had really good starts to the year," he said.

"You saw Bryce's game today – pretty powerful on the stats, as was Kreuze – and a lot of our leaders are leading from the front.

"Our youngsters are trying hard and these scenarios they're in, as much as we want the win, will pay us back in time. I think we had six teenagers out there and nine or 10 under 21."

One youngster who will have to continue to bide his time is developing key forward Harry McKay, a top-10 pick in 2015 whose rookie campaign last year was ruined by back stress reactions.

McKay has kicked eight goals in five VFL games in 2017.

Bolton said the highly touted 19-year-old was learning his forward "craft" and he hoped he would make his senior debut before the season ended.