DON’T lose sight.
That was the message from Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty, who said the playing group “wasn’t shying away” from its final-quarter fadeout against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Blues had the game on their terms for the majority of the contest at Marvel Stadium, before they had no match for a blistering Bulldogs showing in the final term.
Speaking on RSN’s Inner Sanctum, Docherty said the fact the Blues had shown how damaging they could be was the source of even greater frustration in the wash-up.
“The majority of our games is stacking up against any team in the comp, which is a positive in itself,” Docherty said.
Jacob Weitering was one of three Blues to receive AFLCA votes.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) May 10, 2021
“There was a fair bit of frustration post-game to put in three quarters of some really good, tough footy that matches it with one of the best sides in the comp, but there’s a very big element of frustration in terms of that last quarter.
“We’re not shying away from it, it’s pretty bloody obvious that’s what is happening. We just need to do what we do for longer in a game.
“It’s a positive that the way we play stacks up, but it’s that one quarter at the moment that’s frustrating.”
Docherty was one of the Blues’ best in the weekend’s three-goal defeat, amassing 31 disposals and 850 metres gained in a performance which also yielded a coaches’ vote.
When the Dogs got their tails up, he said the Blues went too slow after breaking open a 27-point lead on the back of a fierce pressure game which saw the ball locked inside their forward half.
He said that there was a middle ground which the team needed to identify in the moment when momentum was going against them.
“What we did over the weekend for a small period was we went quite slow, but the Dogs were winning the contest at that stage of the game. By going slow, we were putting the ball back into a contest which was actually suiting them,” he said.
“There’s a mixture between the two. You don’t want to go super slow so it’s in a contest and they’re in a position to go back at us again, but you don’t want to go full breakneck speed where the ground is completely open and any turnover is going to be a score.
“It’s a bit diplomatic, but we’re trying to be better than we were last week and we had a lesson on the weekend.”
With the upcoming challenge presenting the undefeated Demons at the MCG, Docherty said the Blues would need to back in their strengths and the style of football which stacked up against the Bulldogs for a long period of time on Sunday.
“When you look at the win-loss, we’re 3-5 and it’s easy to get seduced by that,” he said.
“We’ve put in some good performances and we’ve put in some poor ones. That’s not shying away from where we are at the moment: that’s the team we happen to be right now.
“Our challenge at the moment is when we’re shifting away or teams are getting momentum on us, we aren’t holding up. That’s the difference between the really good sides and the teams just below them.
“We’re a team that’s below them at the moment.”