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2017 season review

Howard Kotton, AFL Media  September 8, 2017 11:40 AM

The Journey | S2E6 Season 2 | Episode 6. In the sixth episode of Season 2 of The Journey, go behind-the-scenes for history lessons, a long-awaited debut and a heartfelt goodbye. Presented by Virgin Australia.

AFL.com.au's Howard Kotton reviews Carlton's 2017 season:

IN A NUTSHELL

While the Blues won one fewer game than last season, there is strong evidence to be bullish about the future with the plethora of talented youngsters on the list. 

WHAT WE SAID IN THE PRE-SEASON

The Blues needed their better and more experienced players to have injury-free seasons. Skipper Marc Murphy, Levi Casboult, Sam Docherty, Bryce Gibbs, Kade Simpson, Jacob Weitering and Matthew Wright played every game and Matthew Kreuzer and Lachie Plowman missed only one, but they could not cover the losses of Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow in the midfield.  

WHAT WORKED

Plenty. The resurrection of Liam Jones as a key defender was one of the feel-good stories of the season. Caleb Marchbank proved a solid acquisition in the back half and Kreuzer thrived on the workload of carrying the Blues' ruck division. The development and improvement of youngsters such as David Cuningham, Charlie Curnow, Zac Fisher, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Jack Silvagni and Tom Williamson was most pleasing. 

WHAT FAILED

The injuries to Cripps and Ed Curnow late in the season underlined the Blues' lack of depth in the midfield. But their biggest problem remained their inability to kick enough points for a winning score. They failed to top the century in any game.  

THE COACH

While the Club is still in a developmental phase, it was disappointing to lose so many close games (six matches by under 20 points) and Brendon Bolton has acknowledged he hates honourable defeats. He has brought a defensive mindset in the past two years but scoring needs to become a priority. Under his agreement with the Blues, he is on staff and not tied to a time-sensitive contract.

AFL 2017 Round 22 - Carlton v Hawthorn 
Brendon Bolton and Kade Simpson celebrate the Blues' Round 22 win over Hawthorn. (Photo: AFL Media)

THE LEADERS

The Blues would be pleased with the output of their more experienced players. Murphy, Docherty and Kreuzer were most consistent, Gibbs put in several outstanding performances while Simpson was not as prominent in the second half of the season after a solid start. Missed Cripps and Ed Curnow desperately late in the season with their grunt in the midfield.  

MVP

Matthew Kreuzer

Where would the Blues have been without him? Carried a heavy responsibility in the ruck and produced the most consistent season of his career. Should be All Australian ruckman. 

SURPRISE PACKET

Liam Jones

His career appeared over as he languished in the reserves, but a switch to defence proved a masterstroke, earning a new two-year deal. Looked comfortable and backed himself in marking contests, showing excellent judgment.

GET EXCITED

Charlie Curnow

Has shown enough this season to suggest that he has the ability to become one of the game's brightest stars in the near future. Athletic youngster who takes big marks and has the pedigree to play in the midfield.

AFL 2017 Round 06 - Carlton v Sydney
Charlie Curnow excited Blues fans in 2017. (Photo: AFL Media)

BEST WIN

Round 12: Carlton 10.11 (71) d GWS 9.16 (70) at Etihad Stadium

The Blues outlasted the highly fancied Giants in a thriller. In his 150th game, Kreuzer was outstanding and Jones relished his new defensive role, well supported by Docherty, Simpson and Marchbank. 

LOW POINT

The injury to Cripps against Melbourne in round 16. The Blues lost that game narrowly and struggled to cover his absence. They are much better with him in the team.