THE FEEDBACK the team and coaches needed. 

Carlton assistant coach Aaron Hamill said the team “got what we wanted” from the match simulation with Geelong, which saw the Blues fall by 17 points at IKON Park.

Speaking on the Blues’ backline mix, the performances of individuals and the preparation for the season ahead, this is what he had to say.


On the overall outlook on the game:

"We got what we wanted. We got through unscathed and got some feedback around our contest and how we move the ball. Geelong always tests you defensively, so we got some good feedback about that. We had a look at a couple of different structures around personnel and team-wise, so we got what we wanted."

On the performances of Ashton Moir and Orazio Fantasia:

“With these sorts of games, you get a couple of free hits — Ashton is one of them. He’s had a really good block as a first-year player: it stems a little bit from the injury to ‘SOS’, how we can inject Ashton in there. There’ll be some good moments for him . . . He’s certainly got some work to do as a first-year player, of course, but for him to be picked today, we like what he has done and we saw little bits of improvement today which is what we’re after.

“We know Orazio is quite clever in front of goal and puts on a lot of pressure for us. He can hit the packs at the right speed and got good footy IQ: we wanted to get him through the game, and he did that. We liked what we saw from him.”


On Harry McKay’s showing up forward and pinch hitting in the ruck:

“We liked him. We know what he does forward of the ball, but he had stints in the ruck which gives us another option. It certainly does give ‘Vossy’ and the coaches another lever to pull with Harry going in there: we liked his follow up and second efforts, plus his ability to stretch the ground at both ends and support. 

“It’s another good stepping stone for Harry, it just gives us an option.”

On how many markers Zac Williams needs to tick off:

“Not too many. He’s got to get through a couple more milestones physically with what he’s doing, but he’s had an excellent couple of months. We won’t be in any rush with him, but when he’s right and the high-performance team are comfortable with him ticking all the indicators, then we’ll inject him into the game. 

“He’s not far away, Zac.”


On how the defence fared without Jacob Weitering:

“’Weiters’ is such a dominant force for us back there, but it gives other opportunities with Kemp, Lewis Young - who’s played there quite often for us - and Sam Durdin is another one. They’re still working on that chemistry with ‘Gov’, as those hybrid key backs. 

“There’s a bit to go to work on, but they’re working on their chemistry and others have to step up without Jacob there.”

On Jordan Boyd’s showing:

“We liked ‘Boydy’. He came in for the prelim against Brissy with very limited prep. That high running back, if we can adding some bounce with him off half-back, because defensively he’s quite sound. 

“We like what he has to offer there, with him and Adam [Saad] and Nic Newman around the ball, plus their ability to defend quite strong for us. We’re trying a couple of different mixes, and when Zac’s right, he’ll slot into that as well.”

On where Sam Docherty will play his football in 2024:

“’Doc’ was playing more midfield. He can play in most positions, he’s quite flexible and has a really good understanding of the game. In the midfield, what he does running-wise on the outside, he can also play wing and he’s been an All-Australian defender. 

“We’ll throw him around where we need to.”

On Ollie Hollands’ pre-season:

“For a second-year player, Ollie has been outstanding for us. His running capability is what sets him apart, he’s got a really good understanding of the game for such a young player. 

1”We like him on the wing, we can throw him inside where he’s done a little bit more midfield work with Cerra, Cripps, Walsh, Hewett and Kennedy. It’s a good baptism of fire with him, and if we can keep developing his game, it’s only going to help us long-term. We still want to have him be flexible with us, rather than just pigeonhole him as a winger.”


On how the game played out from a defensive standpoint:

“Stats-wise, they kicked five [in the first term] and four were from defensive-50 turnovers. We weren’t able to absorb their pressure and they scored off our turnover: it wasn’t transition or actually us having the ball in transition, it was purely from us not absorbing their pressure well. That wasn’t ideal for us, so that gave us some feedback around their pressure and contest work which they’ve been great at for a decade. 

“The connection part is something we want to keep exploring, particularly off turnover and going fast at the game at the right moments.”

On bringing players in under injury clouds for Opening Round:

“We won’t take any risks. It’s a long year, we ask a lot of the players. There’s always risk management with them, and if that means they’re not right, they won’t play — regardless of the break [Round 2 bye]. 

“We need 23 fit ones out there, and if it falls into the category that they’re not right, we’ll hold them off and they won’t play. That’s more of a high performance question around milestones and knowing the player.”