CARLTON’S form at the back-end of 2019 was typified by players doing their job — even if it wasn’t one they were typically used to.
Under David Teague, a number of players underwent positional changes in the season’s final rounds with positive results.
So, with almost a full pre-season under the belt, where exactly will those players play?
In the example of Matthew Kennedy and Sam Petrevski-Seton, the two were earmarked as midfielders for the majority of their careers to date.
However, come the final six weeks of last year, they were at opposite ends of the ground: Kennedy was up forward, while Petrevski-Seton was patrolling across half back.
In Petrevski-Seton’s case, he had shown some promising signs in the middle. However, Senior Coach David Teague told SEN that the Halls Creek Cowboy was plying his trade down back this summer.
“We saw some really good signs, especially with some of his ball-use,” Teague said.
“He still had a lot to learn in terms of his craft playing in the back line. Now that he’s had a pre-season down there, he’s really grown.
“We know we can play him through the midfield and on the wing but he’ll start the season looking to more down across half back.”
In Kennedy’s case, inconsistency with injury saw him out of the side in the first half of the year.
Named for Carlton’s trip west to Fremantle, the Blues threw caution to the wind and swapped Kennedy with Jack Silvagni.
The move proved to be an inspired one, and it’s continuing this season.
“He definitely knows the craft as a key forward: he protects his space really well and he’s a really nice mark and kick,” Teague said.
“He played in a senior premiership as a 16-year-old as a centre-half-forward.
“We’ve probably always thought of him as a midfielder before last year. He’s got a bit of flexibility in that he can compete inside, and he’s got the craft and smarts to play as a forward.”
Then, there’s the curious case of Levi Casboult.
"I felt like I was halfway out the door... It’s a scary thought to think that at some stage, it’s going to be gone."— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) February 6, 2020
A Boult from the Blue, back from the brink. Big Levi opens up about a defining 12 months.#BoundByBlue
The veteran played in just about every position on the ground in 2019, whether it intercepting down back, kicking goals up forward or competing in the ruck.
While being open to his positional flexibility once again, Teague said Casboult will find himself in familiar territory — at least initially.
“He’s be forward at the moment… he’s been our shining light down there. He’s had a great pre-season,” he said.
“We thought he had a good pre-season last year but he has grown with confidence. The respect he has earned from his teammates from the way he competes and gives a contest is something that is really good to watch.
“To see him grow as a man and see how valued like he is now, it’s something he deserves. It’s something he’s worked really hard for.”