CARLTON Senior Coach David Teague is challenging his Blues to level up after a final round loss to the Brisbane Lions.
Lamenting the 17-point defeat due in large part to a goalless second quarter, Teague believes the group has growth to come in order to be in a strong position in 2021.
However, he said that the team had “a lot of work to do” come the resumption of pre-season.
“As much as I’m really positive and optimistic and we’ve improved, we know that we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to become stronger in the key moments. We need to stand up more when we’re under pressure, “ Teague said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, so as much as this group has grown and we have a lot of belief in this group and the playing group have a lot of belief, we’ve got to get better.
“We expect to be playing finals and that’s what we come out to do: to play finals. We believe we’ve got the game style, we believe we’ve got the talent, we just need to get better to make sure we’re playing.”
Despite the disappointing finish to Carlton’s 2020 campaign, the highlight for Teague came when veteran Kade Simpson took his opportunity to finish with a goal in his retirement game.
The major came early in the third term, with the veteran’s dash through the centre ending the Blues’ second quarter drought.
“I’m not going to lie, I loved it. I was just looking forward to all the players getting around him,’ he said.
“This game, as brutal as it is out on the oval and as competitive as it is, it’s also entertainment and it’s bringing joy to a lot of people and I thought that moment alone would have brought a lot of joy to not only Carlton fans but to fans of the game.”
Calling time on a 342-game career, Teague was lost for words in sharing what Simpson means to the Club.
With Simpson retiring alongside veteran ruck Matthew Kreuzer, the Senior Coach believes the time is now for his young Blues to live up to the departing legends.
“I’m not great at putting things into words and I struggled to put ‘Simmo’s’ career into words, but he bleeds Navy Blue,” he said.
“He is what the Carlton Football Club stands for: he competes, he turns up every week, he gets his job done, he’s such a great mate to his teammates and he’s not a big man but he competes.
“Matthew Kreuzer as well, I know he didn’t get to finish this year but he’s another that our players have got to learn from. I think they have, and we need to take that forward and we need to respect what they’ve done for this club and now it’s up to the next generation.”