OPINION

More turmoil lies ahead for AFL's Carlton

Some soul searching is due, with Carlton once again among the AFL's most disappointing sides this season. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Some soul searching is due, with Carlton once again among the AFL's most disappointing sides this season. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Heads will roll at Carlton as the Blues ponder another wasted season.

In the sixth year of a rebuild, they have only four wins from 12 games and are destined to miss the finals for a club-record eighth consecutive season.

Carlton expected to play finals this year, but after two full seasons under coach David Teague the Blues are going backwards.

So change must occur urgently, and a full-scale external review of the club's football department is imperative.

This should include not only Teague and his coaching group.

Players should not escape scrutiny, nor should head of football Brad Lloyd, director of high performance Andrew Russell and the recruiting staff led by head of list management Nick Austin.

The most appropriate time for this review to happen would be closer to the end of the season.

While the vast Carlton supporter base is understandably restless, sacking the coach mid-season is not the answer.

Since Teague took over in mid-2019, there have been disturbing trends in the way most games have played out.

The Blues have struggled to find the right balance between offence and defence, conceding too many goals to the opposition.

Carlton has been to the draft for many years and recruited talented youngsters such as Sam Walsh, Jacob Weitering and Harry McKay, all of whom are likely All-Australians this season.

Yet there remains gaping holes on the list, with several players developing slower than expected.

But the biggest question is, are the players and coaches on the same page?

DEES' FINANCES TAKE A HIT

Melbourne continues to kick goals on the field, but off it the Demons have taken a savage hit as a result of Victoria's latest COVID-19 lockdown.

While they sit on top of the ladder with an 11-1 record after breaking Brisbane's seven-game winning streak on Friday night, the Demons' finances are not so healthy.

Their "home" game against the Lions was scheduled to be played in Alice Springs, but had to be transferred to Sydney's Giants Stadium.

That switch cost the Demons an estimated $500,000.

They will suffer another financial blow next Monday, with the big Queen's Birthday game against Collingwood moved to the SCG.

The Big Freeze 7, an important fund-raiser in the fight against motor neurone disease, was expected to draw up to 80,000 at the MCG and earn Melbourne about $800,000.

Last year, the pandemic had a severe financial impact on the AFL and its clubs. Melbourne was one of the worst affected; its membership dropping 22.6 per cent to just above 40,000 and recording a net operating loss of $2.9 million, driven by a $17.9 million decline in revenues.

With their on-field fortunes improving significantly this season, the Demons' membership is back above 50,000.

And, with finals likely to come at the MCG, there are hopes of a bumper economic return.

Hopefully Victoria emerges from its lockdown soon and crowds can return to the football.

Otherwise several clubs including Melbourne face a bleak outlook and may be forced to lean heavily on the league.

Italian Lorenzo Musetti has turned heads at Roland Garros. Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty

Italian Lorenzo Musetti has turned heads at Roland Garros. Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty

'NEXT GEN' SHINES IN PARIS

As expected, the big three in men's tennis - Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - are through to the fourth round of the French Open, but it is a next generation trio who have caught the eye in the singles at Roland Garros.

Italian teenagers Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner have been impressive in winning their first three matches.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz continued his fine form by reaching the third round before being eliminated in straight sets by German Jan-Lennard Struff.

The last time that three teenagers reached the third round of the French Open was in 2001 when Federer, Andy Roddick and Tommy Robredo made it through.

Alcaraz, 18, came through the qualifying rounds at Roland Garros and boasts a 23-11 win-loss record in 2021 including the Oeiras in Portugal last month.

In the fourth round, the unseeded Musetti (ranked 61 in the world) and Sinner, who won the 2019 Next Gen tournament and an ATP Title in Melbourne earlier this year, face huge challenges - Musetti plays Djokovic while Sinner meets Nadal.

It will be interesting to see how the Italian youngsters shape up against the greats.

CONWAY SHOWS TONS OF CLASS

Devon Conway's incredible start to his Test cricket career is one of the year's sporting highlights.

Opening the batting at the home of cricket, Lord's, Conway made a superb 200 before being the last man out in New Zealand's first innings against England.

He broke several records on his way to the double-hundred, among them compiling the highest score by a Test debutant in England.

The South African-born left-hander, who turns 30 next month, is a late starter to international cricket.

He began playing domestic cricket in Johannesburg before moving to New Zealand and eventually becoming eligible to represent the Black Caps last year.

On debut, he could not have been more impressive against an attack headed by the experienced James Anderson and Stuart Broad, displaying a solid technique and excellent temperament.

Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59.

  • This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas
This story Howard Kotton | More turmoil lies ahead for AFL's Carlton first appeared on The Canberra Times.