So today is the third day of a new year and the start of the lead-up to the AFLW season and the AFL season in a few months’ time. The trade and draft period saw an old favourite player leave and some quite extraordinary new players join the ranks of the Carlton FC.
Seeing Gibbsy leave, was, while sad, it was an inevitable move, now that Adelaide paid the correct price to have him leave a club he really does love, to go back home. We have to weigh in what it is we, the supporters want from the club and how that is to be achieved. At a member’s forum last year, we got to see and hear from the new players. There are a few that will be fantastic for the club, but given that some thought that this crop of draft players was a bit on the lean side (in terms of ability), I was quite impressed with what we have chosen.
Our new number 12, Tom De Koning, is one such player. Watching the draft, you could see his ability to move around the ground and score goals. Having come from a footy family, his father is Terry De Koning who played for the then Footscray FC, he knows what he needs to do in order to secure a spot in the senior team. I believe, given what I have seen, he may not be the “top” draft pick, but he will someone to watch out for. Then there is what others are calling a “gift of a player” – our number 21, Jarrod Garlett. Why he wasn’t picked before has left other media commentators puzzled. He left GC Suns to return home to be with his family during his brother’s illness, which was deemed to be terminal. He gave up on a career in the AFL to be with his family during this difficult time. His brother eventually recovered, something Gartlett thought would not happen. He then wanted to re-join the AFL and begin a new start. Carlton picked him at pick 78. He is seen as an exciting mid-fielder with the ability to kick goals. Given a new chance at a new club to re-start his career, he is not allowing any opportunity to pass him by on the field.
While we have picked up other new players in the draft and trade period, for me, it is these two that I believe will make their mark on the footy field this year, for sometimes it is not those that are deemed to be the “stars” but those that sweat it out in the background, who know and understand that for them footy and playing for Carlton, is not a given, but a privilege.
We have seen this in the way Charlie Curnow, who was picked at pick 12 in 2015 who felt then that he would not be picked given his brush with the law back then, has worked hard to prove that he is worthy of the trust the club placed in him by choosing him. Likened to Anthony Koutoufides, there was a little bubbling pot brewing in 2017 that will likely boil over in season 2018 and to show what the coaches really believe Charlie can achieve.
Then there is another player, who wears the number 10 – Harry McKay. While a toe injury had kept him on the sidelines in 2017 and while he did play a few games last year, seeing photos of him now, after a pre-season training and the sheer bulk of the guy, he looks every bit ready to take on a role in the forward line.
With the start of a new year and a new season, we as dedicated Carlton supporters have every reason to look to at 2018 as being the catalyst year in terms of growth and a rise up the ladder. It makes no difference what those outside the club want to write or say, it is about what we, the supporters, the club, the team and the players want to make of this start. Let’s make season 2018 one where we stop looking back to what was and start to look forward to what can be. To stop harping on about what went on in the past and to build the possibilities for the future. We have a team that is being groomed, moulded and shaped to be the team all supporters want – a successful one. I believe that in 2018, will be the year that Carlton starts the climb up the ladder and to eventual success. Time is on our side because we have the young talent coupled with those that have more experience.
I know that with Dochers out, it seems that some are already wondering where our grunt in the backline is going to come from, but we must not be a team that relies on the few to make the club shine. This will give a player a golden opportunity to step in and show what he is capable of which when Dochers does come back, will only benefit the club. We need to be a club of depth, not single entities to make the team successful.
Let 2018 be a year when every supporter is BOUND BY BLUE and bound by the prospect of possibilities for the future, not the past.