Main content

Trigg: Growth 'measurable'

Cold hard facts | Round 20 Hear the cold hard facts of our Round 20 match against Essendon, presented by OnTime.

With the Blues blooding seven debutants for the 2017 season so far, Carlton CEO Steven Trigg believes the Club’s youth policy will make the inexperienced side better for the long-term. 

Speaking ahead of the Blues’ clash with Essendon on Saturday afternoon at the MCG, Trigg said the Blues had expected there could be "an element of vulnerability from time to time on the scoreboard" in 2017 after the club went from being the 10th oldest team on average age in 2016 to the third youngest, and from 12th to 17th in average games played. 

Sam Petrevski-Seton, Harrison Macreadie, Tom Williamson, Zac Fisher, Cameron Polson and Harry MckKay, as well as Jarrod Pickett have all made their senior debuts this season.

"We're being challenged on the scoreboard at the moment, but in just about every other way our growth is measurable and palpable," Trigg said.  

"There are plenty of indicators of that: seven first-gamers this year and five Rising Star nominations (Caleb Marchbank, Petrevski-Seton, Charlie Curnow, Cuningham and Silvagni), you know the story.

"We'd all love to have a few more wins, but we know we're progressing. We remain really confident on where we're going."

Meanwhile, as industry speculation grows about the upcoming trade and draft periods during the off-season, Trigg said Carlton would only trade its 2017 first-round draft pick for an elite youngster. 

Under list manager Stephen Silvagni, Carlton has invested heavily in the draft over the past two years, taking first-round picks Jacob Weitering, Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow and Sam Petrevski-Seton, along with promising prospects such as Jack Silvagni, David Cuningham, Zac Fisher, Harrison Macreadie and Cameron Polson. 

Trigg told Carlton would again be a big player at this year's draft, with its first pick off limits save for exceptional circumstances. Although Trigg didn't mention emerging GWS star Josh Kelly, the Blues are one of the 22-year-old midfielder's keenest suitors and would presumably, for example, be prepared to offer pick No.2 as part of a trade for him.

"We do need to go to the draft again but we do need at the same time to find just a bit more maturity when we're tested for depth, particularly in the midfield at the moment – and that's the balancing act we've got to get right in this upcoming draft and exchange period," Trigg said. 

"Thereafter, we're contemplating getting that balance right."

After winning five of their first 12 matches this year, the Blues have dropped their past six games. In that losing stretch, the club's injury list has continued to grow, with Patrick Cripps (fractured fibula), Ed Curnow (bruised larynx), Sam Rowe (knee), Andrew Phillips (foot), Cameron Polson (shoulder) and Patrick Kerr (hip) all ruled out for the rest of the season. 

Carlton has been without experienced midfielders Cripps and Curnow over the past three rounds and their absence has been keenly felt. 

"At the moment with a dozen or so injuries we're being tested depth-wise, particularly in the midfield," Trigg said.

"We've got a young group that is challenged by the week-to-week grind and it's only going to be better for it, but that just doesn't quite manifest on the scoreboard.

The Blues have won five games this season and face a tough task to match last year's return of seven wins in coach Brendon Bolton's first year in charge, with their final four games against finals contenders Essendon, West Coast at Domain Stadium, Hawthorn and Sydney at the SCG.