Carlton’s “insidious” display against Adelaide on the weekend suggested it had “pop-up problems everywhere”, according to AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson, ahead of a fight to remain in the top eight.
But Brownlow Medalist Gerard Healy believes there’s been an overreaction to the loss, claiming some Blues fans “want to death-march their team to ninth spot on the ladder”.
Carlton suffered a shock 29-point loss to the Crows on Saturday night, leaving Michael Voss’ side vulnerable inside the top eight with three tricky home and away matches left. The Blues need one more win to guarantee them a finals spot, but games against top-four sides Brisbane, Melbourne and Collingwood will make it no easy task.
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“It was really insipid. Most Carlton people would say that,” Robinson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 when analyzing the Blues’ performance against Adelaide
“Adelaide, fantastic performance… But this mob (the Blues) let themselves down badly and they let themselves down in a couple of areas.
“They’ve got pop-up problems everywhere. I describe it like a water park where the water keeps on popping up … it’s like Vossy’s saying: ‘We’ve got a problem there, problem there, problem there.’
“They had problems on the weekend in defence, they had problems turning it over, they’ve got two players getting 40 (disposals) and only one having impact, the forward line’s struggling – Harry (McKay) is not marking the ball, the smalls aren’t kicking goals – and now we’re saying Jack Silvagni didn’t play and it had a psychological impact on the club. Well if it did, how fragile is the team if Jack’s not playing? That’s just crap.
“They had their chance and they blew it badly.”
Co-host Gerard Whateley said it was “a significant misstep” by the Blues.
“If you missed the eight from 8-3, it would be bitterly disappointing for all the work that’s gone into it,” Whateley told AFL 360.
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“I think we accept they’re a futures stock who there might’ve been a moment for now and that’s going to play a major role in thwarting the capacity to do that. But don’t be missing your spot from here.
“I don’t know whether they can take care of their business before then, but you have a sneaking glance at Carlton and Collingwood on that last Sunday of home and away football and if the Blues are scratching for it at that stage to book themselves a place … maybe they’re good enough to do it before then, but they’ll have an angry Lions to deal with (this weekend).”
Robinson added: “Part of building your future is playing a final at the MCG in front of 80,000. Even if you get beaten, it’s getting out there and building up and running out there and the expectation’s rally high and the pressure is hot – that’s part of the building. You can’t do that sitting on your ass after Round (23) when you were 8-3 at the half.”
Speaking on 3AW’s sports day on Monday night, Healy said he’d noticed a lot of negative feedback from Blues fans after the loss – feedback that didn’t truly reflect where the Blues were at.
“Yes, it was a horrible loss on the weekend, but the negative reaction to it for mine at this stage has been over the top,” he said on Sportsday.
“It seems Blues fans, or many of them, want to death-march their team to ninth spot on the ladder, despite being so good for most of the year and doing so with a lot of injuries.
“I reckon the team is entitled to a mulligan – and they got it on the weekend – and a bit more belief from those who have already written them off.
“It’s been a tough journey over the last 10 years for the Blues fans and they’re getting used to disappointment too much. But I wouldn’t be writing them off just at the present time.”
Healy said Carlton’s best footy was still at the top-end of the competition. He said the returns of George Hewett and Jack Silvagni, as well as a form lift from Harry McKay, should help turn things around.
“So much to think about for Michael Voss, but at this stage it’s still glass three-quarters full for me for the Blues, not the totally empty schooner or pot that too many Carlton fans appear to be drinking from this weekend,” Healy said .