IT’S NOT all lonely at the top according to big man Marc Pittonet.
The injured Blue has spoken positively about the relationship developing among the ruck group at IKON Park, believing that the trio of talls are building a foundation for future success.
Speaking before Saturday’s Round 18 win against the Pies, Pittonet shone light on the relationship he had developed with the group and their willingness to help each other develop and grow under the watchful eye of former Blue Matthew Kreuzer.
“We’ve got De Koning, big 'Kreuz' our ruck coach and Mirkov who we picked up in the mid-season draft. We sort of see ourselves as a bit of unit,” Pittonet said.
“There are not many positions in football that are the same, so it’s one of those things the type of people we are. In my opinion as a ruck, you’ve got a choice.
“You can either be someone who is not about the team and where you’re going, you can be a selfish individual and not help each other, or you can think about the bigger picture.
“Ruck is a position where it’s unlikely that you’re going to play 22 games every year, so you need the whole ruck group to be as good as possible for the betterment of the team and where you hope to be going.”
De Koning has shouldered the majority of the ruck load over the last few weeks, building consistency and developing his craft in the absence of his fellow talls.
Of course, at the beginning at the season, it was Pittonet's responsibility, with De Koning on the mend from a back injury sustained in pre-season.
The young Blue’s athleticism around the ground and ability to transition forward to provide a strong-marking option has left Pittonet contemplating how valuable the combination of a two-pronged ruck attack might be once he hopefully makes a return from injury later this year.
“In my opinion if you can get 10 or 20 goals from us playing in the same team... I’d hate to be rucking against someone like me who tries to crash and bash and hit bodies, and then have De Koning who jumps over the top as ruck you’re going to have a bit of a tricky time in that regard,” he said.
“I’m only 25 and he’s only just turned 22, so we think we’ve got a lot of football that we can play together going forward. We see it as a big asset.”
Pittonet was joined on the sideline this week by injured co-captain Patrick Cripps, with the midfielder missing the win due to soreness.
However, Cripps’ absence gave more opportunity for Carlton’s other midfielders, with Paddy Dow and Matthew Kennedy continuing a run of good form.
The duo combined for 43 disposals and 11 clearances, finding a cohesion and understanding which Pittonet sees as a testament to the hard work they have put in on the training track.
“Dow has just been working on getting back to his powerful best and I think that’s shown. Especially against [Fremantle], the first quarter he was just unbelievable: I think he had seven or eight touches, a couple of clearances and a goal. He just showed what he can do,” he said.
“Matt Kennedy, especially since he came back in against GWS about a month ago: there’s not many blokes that we have that are tougher and harder than him.
“You know we’re in good hands with the pressure and that in-and-under grunt. It’s hard to cover 'Crippa', but if there’s two blokes I’ll trust to get it done, it’s them.”