The Blues were expected to improve in 2019, with a promising youth brigade coupled with older heads expected to begin the resurgence of a once mighty club.
The first half of the season certainly didn’t live up to the above expectation, with the Blues finding themselves in a rut bigger than those made by this bad boy The blues finding themselves with just one win heading into round 12.
What Went Wrong?
The aforementioned slow start for the Carlton Football Club was the worst possible scenario for the club. A relatively new coach, a glut of promising youth in Cripps, Fisher, Dow, Walsh et al, a fanbase that has been proverbial ringer, and a team that was supposed to be showing signs of resurgence. Instead, they found themselves stone motherless last.
What Went Right?
Then it happened. The “Circuit breaker” (2019’s most popular footy term) came in round 12, with Carlton coach Brendon Bolton losing the top job, being replaced by caretaker coach David Teague, sparking the ignition of the “Teague Train” (2019’s second most popular footy term). The Blues went on a tear (well, a tear as far as 21st century Carlton are concerened) winning 6 of the next 11 to finish in 16th.
Sam Walsh proved himself to be as rare as rocking-horse shit on two counts: One that he came into the side in his debut year and immediately had an impact, showing poise and an innate ability to find the ball, and two – having the closest shave imaginable. Babyface ultimately took out the Rising star award.
Round 15 vs Fremantle
Carlton entered the game as huge $5 underdogs, and it looked like the bookies were spot on to begin with. The Blues found themselves 30 points down without a bevvy of best-22 players including Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. They then turned the tide on Freo with Marc Murphy leading from the front and willing his boys over the line before sealing the game with a goal with under a minute remaining, running out 4 point winners.
I would 100% chop off at least part of one of my fingers/toes to have this man at my club. Part Bull, part Gazelle and part Terminator, Cripps had a huge 2019. He won games off his own bat, he lead from the front, and, dead-set, if those Thai kids were stuck any longer in that cave I reckon the next best bet was to send this bloke down there to get them.
Just dominant. There was no better performance than his game in round 12 against the Lions, who were flying at this stage. Bolton had been given the arse that week, they had one win from 11 games, and they were 40-odd points down. Enter co-captain Patrick Cripps. The terminator-hybrid notched 38 disposals, eight clearances and four goals to lift the Blues to an unlikely victory, and paved the way for a more successful finish to 2019 on the Teague train.
Grade – C
The grade going into round 12 was probably an F, but with the Blues rallying under Teague in the second half of the year, the signs look ominous. Charlie Curnow’s knee injuries are a concern, they do have some aging stars on the books, and they ARE Carlton, but the future at least LOOKS bright.