THERE were positive takeaways from Sunday’s performance for Carlton Head of Football Brad Lloyd.
Speaking to TAB Sports Radio Perth, Lloyd said that the effort of the playing group couldn’t be questioned, despite the 22-point loss to the in-form Eagles on their home turf.
Lloyd echoed the sentiments of Senior Coach David Teague, who said Carlton was simply beaten by a better side despite producing quality football at times.
“We fought it out with them for the majority of the game and the effort was certainly there,” Lloyd said.
Intensity and tackling pressure also received a tick from Lloyd.
The endeavour was reflected in the numbers, with the Blues amassing 77 tackles for the match – the most of any team in a single game this season - while 18 of those were laid inside forward 50.
Ultimately, Lloyd conceded it was an elite West Coast midfield who got moving in the latter stages of the third quarter to take control of the game, led by influential big man Nic Naitanui.
With perhaps no greater test for a ruckman, new Blue Marc Pittonet and the promising Tom De Koning put up a formidable fight.
Pittonet accumulated 17 hitouts in limited game time, while De Koning finished with 11 in just his third game at senior level.
“I was proud of our midfield group – the way they went up against them – I thought Pittonet and De Koning competed really well against Nic Nat,” he said.
While admitting that it was a difficult task to contain a side for the full four quarters – particularly one of the calibre of West Coast – the ability to minimise damage during periods of opposition dominance remains a priority.
“In my time, I think we’re in games so much more than we have been,” he said.
“There’s been huge growth and huge improvement.”
Lloyd recognised the importance of remembering this growth but identified the Club’s third and final match in the West Australian hub - against Fremantle on Saturday night - as an opportunity to take the next step.
It will be a familiar opposition for Lloyd, who served a lengthy tenure in the Fremantle football department.
“We’ll take a look at them closely, as we do with all the teams we have coming up and prepare for that game later this week.”