A BALANCING act.
For Carlton in 2024, Nic Newman says there is a sense of acknowledging the expectations surrounding his Club, but also being able to put it aside when necessary.
Coming off a career-best season in 2023 where he finished runner-up in the John Nicholls Medal count, Newman knows exactly what is projected for the Blues in 2024.
“I think you'd be crazy not to understand that there's a high level of expectation playing for Carlton,” Newman admitted.
“I think it's been there long before I've been there and now obviously coming off a prelim, it's well and truly at the forefront for a lot of fans.”
Being able to close out tight games was a hallmark of Carlton’s game style last year, but Newman and the Blues are well aware of the perils in leaving your run too late.
Holding on in close moments did give the Blues a sense of confidence, but Newman says now the determination and drive are stronger than ever after living out those big moments several times in 2023.
“It definitely drives you being a part of finals,” he said.
“Playing in those big games is an addictive feeling and I think everyone got that bug about them we want to get back to playing those big games.
“At the end of the day, your whole season can come down to little moments and we’ve been working pretty hard to get back to that position.”
Newman agrees that hiding from the external pressure won’t help the Blues in the long run, but they need to ensure they can handle it in the big moments and not let it overcome them.
Lauding the leaders of the Club for keeping the group grounded, the defender believes that Carlton are taking on a good mindset heading into the 2024 season.
“I think part of it is welcoming [the expectations] and part of it is also being able to acknowledge it and then put it to the side,” he said.
“We really put our energy into the things that we value and we control and ‘Vossy’ and the leaders do a fantastic job of [pushing] that.”