I'm a little loathe to go back to Carlton after my assessment a month or so back, but with their loss to the Gold Coast, how could I not?
The only real topic of interest is Ratten. Carlton lost, the players proved mentally fragile losing the unlosable game, and if anything it just backs up my earlier comments. However, I've been there and done that, I'm much more interested in Ratten.
I fully expect Carlton to sack him next week (pointless to do it with one game to go), and I fully expect Malthouse to be sounded out this week and contracts finalised so that he can be announced very soon after Ratten's dismissal. But should they sack him?
He can't coach. He doesn't inspire his troops (evidence most severely demonstrated on the weekend). He doesn't have tactical nous. He hasn't built a decent list. He relies on his best players to drag his team over the line, and he may well hinder them. His team has gone backwards from 5th last year to out of the 8 this year. Carlton doesn't suffer disappointing results and the coach is always at fault when they happen.
There is no doubt that Carlton will be disappointed with the season that has befallen them, however perhaps its their disillusionment that they should rectify, not their coach.
You know what, Ratten actually took this list to 5th. That is quite impressive when you think about it, and it was without Kreuzer as he was recovering from a knee injury. Speaking of injury (and depth) when they lost Murphy and Carrazzo for a long stint in the same part of the season they lost 2 of their best 4 mids (Judd and Simpson being the others). Murphy had stepped from Judd's shadow to become their best player, and Carrazzo had continued to raise his game to the almost elite level. Part of that is their own talent, but maybe, just maybe part of it is coaching. Needless to say those two injuries, more than any others they had, caused the beginning of the end. And neither was Ratten's fault.
When the Blues just looked about back on track they lost Judd for 4 weeks and all looked lost but its a credit to him that they actually did OK. They won 3 of 4 beating the Dogs (As they should have), the Tigers (which was an excellent win), Brisbane (as they should) and lost to Sydney which is no shame whatsoever. Judd comes back and they wipe the floor with Essendon...4 wins from 5 matches. And lets not forget Simpson was missing for some of those too.
Then they lost to Gold Coast. It quite simply shouldn't have happened. But was it Ratten's fault? No, it wasn't. The blame falls squarely onto the players. They are the ones who got ahead of themselves and they are the ones who couldn't execute skills. 31 scoring shots to 23 and they lose (by 12 no less), 74 more disposals, 21 more hit outs, 23 more inside 50s! This is a game that should not have been lost, but it was, because of the players....
This is a Bomber Thompson moment for the Carlton footy club. Will they back their man in and respect that it isn't his fault and they've overrated the list massively, or will they make the easy cut?
For the record he doesn't deserve to go on the back of this season, but if Malthouse is available, he has the runs on the board and the Blues should get him.