ASSISTANT coach Cameron Bruce rounds out our pre-season report cards, casting his eye over a number of Carlton's forwards looking to elevate their game this pre-season.
If you missed John Barker's report on a selection of Carlton's inside midfielders, click here.
If you missed Brent Stanton's report on Carlton's midfield speed, click here.
If you missed Dale Amos' report on Carlton's defenders, click here.
3. Marc Murphy
He’s been outstanding for the forward line group. He’s brought a real sense of leadership, game understanding and experience. He’s really appreciating the craft to be an effective forward and he’s really invested in that: he understands the importance of running the right patterns to have the most effective system we can.
He’s having an enormous influence on the group, he’s a real leader. His ability to cover the ground is first class and we know that when the ball is in his hands, something will happen. He’s going to be a great influence as a forward, which of course he’ll complement with some midfield time.
10. Harry McKay
Harry is another one who has had an interrupted career in terms of pre-seasons but this has been his most consistent pre-season since I’ve been at the Club. He’s developed his physical stature, he’s a big strong unit and he’s adding some craft to his game. He’s still quite raw in terms of the key forward role, but he’s spending a lot of time on that as well as his natural physical talent.
He’s worked really hard on his goalkicking and his finishing which hopefully he can put to use with a hell of a lot of shots on goal. The match practice we saw the other day, he was very influential and we’ve got to give him as many looks as possible because it looks like when the ball is in his area, he’ll make something happen. He’s taking a lot of career ownership which is great to see.
Harder, better, faster, stronger.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) February 18, 2021
For just the second time in his career, Harry McKay has a full pre-season under his belt. Playing catch-up no longer, he's ready to launch. ??
11. Mitch McGovern
This is the best pre-season he’s had since being at the football club. He’s been very consistent on the track and some of his GPS numbers are as good as we’ve seen: he’d be the first to say that he wants some consistency. We know we’re a better side when he’s playing well and he’s absolutely putting in the work to give him the base he needs to help us be a threatening side.
There were two weeks before Christmas for the younger guys and he was back early given the shorter pre-season, he identified how important it was to get a good training block. When he’s been able to get good consistency in training, he’s a much better player for it and we’re a much better team for it.
25. Zac Fisher
Supporters would have seen his influence when he got into the senior side. He’s really bought into and is investing in becoming an elite small forward. The craft of that role is an area he’s putting a hell of a lot of time into and he’s working extremely hard to become a damaging small forward for us. He’s got awesome speed and skills and he reads the game really well: something generally happens when the ball is in his hands.
He’s setting himself up. He’s spent a fair bit of his previous pre-seasons as a midfielder and he probably had his best summer last year before getting injured in Round 1. What this pre-season allows him to do is the repeat efforts we're after: we’ve got an expectation of our small forwards to work up the ground, provide outlets and work back to goal and be threatening in attack. It’s a high work-rate role and he’s giving himself every chance to succeed.
29. Corey Durdin
We were really excited to have Corey join our club: that specialist small forward role was something that we identified as an area where we wanted to add to our stocks and he certainly does brings those qualities. He’s played senior footy at SANFL level and he does what all good smalls forwards do, in terms of having a goal nous as well as outstanding defensive pressure and great speed to go with it.
He’s a kid who loves to get all the information off of his teammates and coaches and he loves asking questions, he’s determined to get better. He’s seeing every session as an opportunity to improve his game which we love to see, he’s shown in training and match practice that he can hold his own.
44. Matthew Owies
Matt is someone who got a really brief taste last year and he’s definitely improving, he’s had a consistent pre-season. He’s a player who has done every session and his work-rate numbers are always in the top few throughout the pre-season. He embraces the small forward role and the craft to get better, he’s always watching vision and tape and he’s constantly asking questions about how to improve.
That specialist small forward craft is something he’s investing in which is giving us great depth in the role, which we haven’t had in previous years. The best sides have a good bunch of small forwards and we feel like we’re really developing in that space to threaten the opposition.