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Bolton: Blues lacked 'learned readiness'

Sarah Black, AFL Media  July 24, 2017 10:39 AM

Post-match | Brendon Bolton Brendon Bolton fronted to the media after Carlton's loss to Brisbane in Round 18.

Brendon Bolton has introduced a new term into the football lexicon – "learned readiness".

Coming up against the 18th-placed Brisbane Lions, Carlton had an excellent opportunity to get a win on the board, but conceded 12 goals in the first half and eventually lost by 30 points.

In the post-match press conference, a flat Bolton said on several occasions the Blues' inability to hold the Lions early was due to a lack of "learned readiness".

When asked to explain the unusual term, Bolton said it was in relation to interstate matches.

"What I'm saying is, when you travel interstate it poses a lot of challenges, whether it be here [the Gabba] or Adelaide Oval," Bolton said.

"It's a different environment and it only takes you to be one per cent not quite there and you can get hurt. It's a learned skill, that's what I'm saying."

It was certainly an inexperienced line-up taking on the equally young Lions, with Bolton saying it was pleasing to get games into nine players from the past two drafts, seven of whom are teenagers.

One of the young Blues was debutant Harry McKay, the tall forward kicking a goal and taking six marks in an eye-catching performance.

Watch McKay speak post-game

"Some good little signs, he has first goal in AFL footy, got his first taste. He's still got lots to learn," Bolton said.

"Samo [Sam Petrevski-Seton] shows little dashes and signs, Charlie [Curnow] can take a good grab, Jack [Silvagni] got a different look at the game from half-back, so they are all things that we think will pay us back.

"As harsh as it is to say, readiness and a learned readiness to play interstate is another lesson for us and the more you live it, the more it will pay you back."

There were a few intriguing battles in the midfield, with Tom Rockliff holding Bryce Gibbs to just eight touches, well down on his season average of 29.

On the flip side, Lion Dayne Zorko, who has been successfully tagged in the past few weeks, was deadly in the first half, tearing the Blues' midfield apart and setting up the win.

With regular tagger Ed Curnow out with a bruised larynx, no Blue could subdue the rampaging Lion.

Watch the match highlights

"We were trying to play really accountable. [Zorko] had a really great first quarter, he set a really good tone for them. We had people going to him, just didn't get it completed," Bolton said.

The Blues fought back in the second half, cutting the lead to just 11 points during the fourth quarter, before fading late.

"I don't think we had enough presence in defence, particularly in the first half. They attacked the game in offence which is full credit to them, but again we didn't get any delay on the ball to the level we set for most of the year.

"We got that in the second half but the lead was already there."