EARNING the right.

Carlton AFL Senior Coach Michael Voss has been consistent with his messaging all year about the Blues chasing excellence, and Friday night was another step towards that.

In the Blues' most complete showing of the season so far, they lead from start to finish in the 63-point win over Geelong, marking the Club's first win in an AFL Carlton Respects Game in the process.

This is what Voss had to say.


Before the press conference started, Voss took a moment to speak on Carlton Respects:

“Obviously tonight was a really important night for us as a football club. Carlton Respects has been a really important program for us since 2016. To be able to play in games like tonight really fit in the sweet spot around our purpose and how we want to continue to bring joy to people, to inspire and create change. 

“Tonight made it really important because it obviously put front and centre the things we need to change and the things we need to get better at as a society. It was a fantastic display from our football club tonight, to be able to do that activation before the game itself. 

“The plan to come in here tonight was to try and get $200,000 and raise some much-needed funds to continue that education process. It looks like we’ve been able to raise about $350,000 in the very early days, and it might end up being a bit more than that. 

“As a club, I just want to extend out a thank you to all of you, the media, for being able to give us a platform and a presence to be able to communicate that message. It means a lot to us that you were able to do that, and being able to embrace what the night was about. From all of us at the Club, I just wanted to pass on that thank you.”

On what a win in the AFL Carlton Respects Game meant to the football club:

“We’ve spent a lot of time in this space, around winning being one thing but also what do we want to become? That’s really important to us. It’s one thing to have these really important occasions that we take on as a club. It’s very important we have that strong community presence. 

“You get games to be able to do that, and we haven’t had a winning ledger in this game. To be able to come in tonight, get the win and have that as a purpose to play for, it was really important. We win games as a team, but you want to win games as clubs: for us, I felt we had a win as a club today.”

On Carlton’s identity shining through:

“It’s a great way to sum it up in one word. We’ve had lots of games where we know what it feels like, we’ve had games where we know what it doesn’t feel like. It all goes into the pot to find out what you ultimately want to be. We’ve been getting after that pretty hard over the last few years, but particularly in the first half of the season. 

“We had a much more balanced profile in our game today, we weren’t necessarily relying on one particular area. The pressure we were able to bring in the game forced Geelong into errors that maybe they wouldn’t normally make. We were able to capitalise the other way.”

On the Blues’ style of play:

“It was probably the most balanced game we’ve had across all our phases. In early parts of the season, we’ve had moments where we’ve been good in transition but our stoppage play hasn’t been great, we’ve had some where the contest stuff has been alright but the clearance isn’t going so well so we’ve had to win in a different way. 

“We had much more balance in the way we played. We weren’t necessarily relying on one area. We had stoppage dominance, we had pressure on the ball, we were able to set the game up in our front half: all the things you want to be able to have, we were able to execute. 

“We’re still preaching that consistency message. That momentum hopefully started three or four weeks ago, and after the bye we’ve been able to pick it up straight away which is pleasing to see.”

On Tom De Koning’s performance:

“There have been individuals that have stepped up, but more importantly, they’ve got their roles done. We’ve had a fairly settled line up for the last little while as well, so that cohesion and connection, it gives you a chance to go away at training and get better at things. 

“No doubt there are individuals, and in Tom’s case that has certainly been the case. He’s giving us a lot of drive out of the middle, we’ve structured up a little bit differently forward of the ball. With a couple of different looks, we’ve found a couple of different things.”

On Tom De Koning’s consistency in performance:

“It probably sits in that basket of consistency and what he’s been able to do, what he’s had to build up over a period of time. We know rucks take a long time to do that. 

“They’re involved in an enormous amount of contests, there’s a time they might be able to do that for one game, but can you turn up next week and in Round 8 and in Round 15 and in Round 23. We ask a lot of them. His resilience now, not just to be able to go quarter to quarter but game to game, has been where he’s stepped up.”

On the De Koning brother battle:

“I’m okay to celebrate people and what they’re doing, we should when they’re in great form. I get the theatre around it. I understand that’s a byproduct of it all. It’s a great talking point for everyone to take some interest in, even a little bit of bumping during quarter-time breaks. 

“In reality, I think he’s just so focused on being able to play a certain way. He’s certainly taken his game to another level, he’s taken his training to a completely different level as well. It’s not complicated where he’s found himself, but he’s certainly persisted, and he’s getting some great reward at the moment.”


On Alex Cincotta’s role on Tom Stewart:

“We rate Tom really highly, I’m sure the rest of the competition does as well — he’s just a superb player. He gives them a lot of drive and composure, he sets up so well behind the ball, he’s so hard to beat. The type of player to play on him takes a bit of thought. 

“With ‘Cinc’ and the role he’s been playing for us, he’s powerful, he’s big, he’s quick. We felt like it was the right match-up. We had to make some adjustments around our midfield, because that’s been a slightly different role, but to be able to execute it was really important for us.”

On another crucial performance from Cincotta:

“He is a hungry dog, he is desperate to be part of the team. I tell you, you love coaching those players. They’re just prepared to do everything. I’ve spoken about what the Navy Blue jumper means to him, it runs deeper for him. 

“It's not just about playing AFL, it is about living out his boyhood dream and doing what he's doing. I go to him every week and tell him the role, and he just says ‘no worries, I'll get it done for you.' It’s pleasing to be able to have, he’s proven hard to beat. It has been good addition to our team, there’s no doubt about that.”


On Lachie Cowan’s showing:

“He showed a little bit, we mainly went there because of his job on [Nic] Martin late against Essendon and he was able to do a pretty good job there. A young man that’s been able to come in and get his task done. 

“The things we celebrate a lot is the status to the roles. We give them presence, we celebrate it, our leaders celebrate it and we’re trying to build that culture of next man up, squad mentality and getting your job done. So far, that energy has been really positive for us.”

On welcoming players back in the coming weeks:

“Form always determines that. We still think we’ve got a couple of people we can add in to that, but the form has been really strong. The cohesion with the group being settled has certainly helped, and that helps with the consistency. 

“I thought tonight was a really powerful performance, the most powerful we’ve played for the year. We’re a settled side getting to work on ourselves and the familiarity with the roles we’re asking them to play.”


On Carlton’s quest for consistency:

“We’ve always seen it that way. I don’t want to keep saying it, but the reality is we haven’t proven over time — that’s what we’re busy trying to prove, in some ways. We’re still trying to earn the right, we’re still chasing excellence. 

“We certainly don’t feel like what we’re doing right now will be the final version of what that looks like, whether that’s personnel or the way we’re playing. Hopefully we can consistently apply it. From Opening Round to now, that’s been a real focus of ours: to turn up on Monday, review it really well, have consistency in our week, work out how to get better and turn our attention to our next opponent. I think the boys have done it really well.”

On where Adam Cerra fits in the team:

“It’s interesting, if you asked me on Thursday I might have had a different response to Friday. He’s a wonderful player, we’ll find a spot for him! But it’s great to see so many guys in form, we’re not relying on one or two to get the job done. 

“We’re a connected team and we’re playing that way at the moment, but we also don’t take it for granted. As quickly as it comes, it disappears just as quick, so we’ll stay on edge with that.”