“SOMETIMES we can surprise ourselves when you back in people to do their job, seeing what they can achieve.”

Backing in strengths and perfecting the fundamentals will form the basis of new Senior Assistant Ashley Hansen’s approach to life at IKON Park.

Focussed on allowing Michael Voss to “be the best coach he can be”, Hansen said the exact details and processes of his role would be fine-tuned in the coming weeks in readiness for pre-season. 

However, his basic values and ideals which saw him become highly touted during his time at the Western Bulldogs won’t change.

07:42 Mins
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Hansen: The next exciting chapter begins

New Senior Assistant Ashley Hansen spoke to Carlton Media on his first day at IKON Park.

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In his early conversations with the Senior Coach, Hansen said initial actions would be on the basis of building connection among the playing group, as well as coaching and wider staff.

“It was more around what his vision is, how we want to bring the group together, get them playing for one another and really invigorate them with energy and direction,” Hansen told Carlton Media.

“As coaches, you play a massive part in that.

“If I can take some responsibility off of [Voss] which also furthers my growth and allows me to impact the program, that’s the way the direction is heading. It’s full support of him and allowing him to do the best job.”

Change isn’t something which Hansen isn’t particularly used to: he was a premiership player at West Coast in 2006, and only coached at one club - the Western Bulldogs - in a variety of roles. 

Starting out as a development coach, he progressed to become a premiership coach at VFL level, before graduating into a line coaching position to oversee a potent Bulldogs attack. 

Coming to IKON Park, Lewis Young is a familiar face from Whitten Oval, while Head of Football Brad Lloyd was his manager back in his playing days. 

The rest is a clean slate.

“The playing list is in a really good position with some exciting young talent that’s really eager to see what they can achieve,” he said.

01:50 Mins
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Quality people and coaches: Lloyd on assistants' strengths

Head of Football Brad Lloyd spoke to Carlton Media on the appointments of Aaron Hamill, Tim Clarke and Ashley Hansen to the assistant coaching panel.

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“[At the Bulldogs], they were a really diligent group that worked really hard and were exciting players. I see the same here. 

“To work with the calibre of players [at Carlton] and develop others around them is going to be an important part of our game style. 

“They’re young, they’re hungry and they want to work really hard. When you’ve got those attributes throughout the squad, they’re going to be pretty easy to coach.”

Coming from a system which saw the Dogs ranked in the top three for points scores in each of the last three seasons, Hansen said connection across every line would be crucial for 2022 and beyond.

Having coached his own side at Footscray and the forward line in a strong system at the Dogs’ AFL side, he knows the importance of every line being in sync. 

“The key word is balance. Every phase is so intimately connected,” he said.

“If you’re not attacking well, you can leave yourself vulnerable in defence if you’re not defending well, you’re missing out on opportunities off turnover.

“Your stoppage game to get those opportunities to begin with your field position is critical. A balanced approach is really important.”