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Bolton: No quick fix

Marc McGowan, AFL Media  July 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Post-Match | Brendon Bolton Brendon Bolton spoke to the media after Carlton's loss to Geelong in Round 19.

Carlton's "bumpy" journey with youth – including a sixth straight loss on Saturday night – will pay off in the long run, according to coach Brendon Bolton.

Second-year mentor Bolton is saddled with lifting the Blues back to relevance and acknowledged after the 65-point defeat to Geelong that it would not be a quick fix.

"I think there'd be five or maybe six games we were in front in the last quarter and with more maturity and games into our young group, we may have won those games," Bolton said. 

"But they're all ifs, buts and maybes. You've got to live it, and learn it. It's bumpy and we don't like losing, but this year will pay us back, as will last year. 

"We changed the list demographic in the last 12 months significantly and we did what we said we were going to do – we went to the draft. I'd love it to be fixed in wins and losses overnight, but it just won't be."

Bolton was unable to quantify where the current Carlton side had progressed from the seven-win version of last year, other than to say the increased youth sprinkled through the list was a positive.

That has publicly been reflected in the club-record season haul of five NAB AFL Rising Star nominees – Caleb Marchbank, Sam Petrevski-Seton, David Cuningham, Jack Silvagni and Charlie Curnow – but the victories are yet to flow. 

The five to date have the Blues in second-last place, but the record would look brighter if not for defeats by 20 points or fewer to St Kilda, North Melbourne, Adelaide, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. 

Bolton said improving Carlton’s midfield depth was a priority and his forward group remained "young and raw".

"There's no secret – people know where we are," he said.

"I don't look for the (wooden) spoon or give that a consideration. All we do is go and look at what lessons we can learn from games … it's easy to be really, really critical when you lose, but we'll go and look at it really strongly and learn from it."

Petrevski-Seton, 19, was among Carlton's positives, compiling 20 disposals, four clearances and 10 tackles with greater midfield time in the absence of Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow. Charlie Curnow also again showed his prodigious talent with seven marks, including four contested. 

"We'll try and win every game – our supporters need to hear that. But we're also playing the long game here," Bolton said.

"We called it a journey for a reason. It's a little bit bumpy at the moment. But what they are getting to see is a young group get exposure and, given our situation, they're getting a lot of exposure in positions, like Samo, and that's good for us. 

"I think (Petrevski-Seton) had 20 touches today and 10 tackles playing more midfield, which he probably wouldn't get as much time if Crippa and Ed were there. 

"Young Harry (McKay) didn't touch the ball a lot, (but) you can see he has some class. He kicked a couple of goals – that gives him a little bit more confidence at the level."

Matthew Kreuzer suffered "mild concussion" after his head hit the ground in a tackle from Brownlow Medal favourite Patrick Dangerfield in the third quarter. Bolton did not see the incident, but said the ruckman would be monitored during the week.