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Rutley: Execution the issue

AFLW Highlights | Carlton v Brisbane The Blues and Lions clash in Round 3 of the AFLW.

CARLTON'S interim AFLW senior coach Nick Rutley says his side’s execution has let it down, after it crashed to its first defeat of the season against Brisbane last night.

The 22-point loss was riddled with errors for the Blues, as they had a disposal efficiency of just 50.9 per cent, well below Brisbane’s mark of 66.8 per cent.

Speaking shortly after the final siren, Rutley said that poor kicking made it hard for his team to stay in the game.

“Their ball use was probably a lot better than ours across the whole night… we gave up four goals to three in terms of turnovers - that’s the ball-game there,” he said.

“If you just keep giving the ball back it becomes deflating, it just keeps going back over your head.”

There had been criticism over the opening two weeks about Carlton’s defensive style of play, but Rutley said he was happy with the game-plan despite the loss.

Jess Wuetschner celebrates another Brisbane goal. (Photo: AFL Media)

“If you look at us structurally, I thought the plan was there, it was there to be won, it was there to be played out,” he said.

“I just go back to execution: you just can’t win games of footy and execute the plan you want when you do that.”

Part of that game-plan appeared to include multiple defenders behind the ball, but Rutley said that had more to do with Brisbane’s strategy than Carlton's.

“We don’t have to go up to the stoppages just because the opposition do, and if we stay and hold our ground that’s OK,” he said.

Last night was Carlton’s first game without captain Brianna Davey, an undisputed superstar of the competition and an inspirational leader.

She will miss the rest of the season after rupturing her ACL last week, and Rutley confirmed that her absence was a big factor.

“(It was) huge, it did impact the group. She’s an enormous figure down back, as a player and a leader, so it definitely impacts,” he said.

While Rutley has stepped up admirably in the absence of senior coach Damien Keeping, he said that Keeping was recovering well from his illness and should return soon.

“He’s OK, he’s out of the woods in terms of any really nasty stuff,” Rutley said.

“As far as I’m concerned he’s back next week in his coaching capacity. I think the doctors are encouraging him to get back to work and embrace what’s happening.”

And he said that the club has been outstanding in working through the adversity of Keeping’s sickness.

“The club has been amazing, from outside the playing group, and then the playing group themselves,” he said.

“To just galvanise and rally the way we did last week and then again through training this week, (with) still a bit of unknown about Damien and how he’s going throughout the week.

“They still turn up and get the job done at training. With our rehab and going into this game, they were amazing.”