ANALYSIS: There was plenty to like from a Carlton perspective, following Saturday night’s 36-point win over St Kilda.
Most importantly, the Blues are just one game out of the eight at a 7-8 record, and back in contention ahead of next Friday night’s must-win clash with North Melbourne.
No Jarrad Waite and the late withdrawal of Mitch Robinson raised eyebrows but the Blues held their nerve in their first win over the Saints since 2011 and just their third in the past 19 encounters.
THE NEW SWINGMAN
Those who promote Jarrad Waite as Carlton’s most important player may want to have a rethink.
On Saturday night the Blues had Lachie Henderson playing the role that they desperately need from Waite, kicking four goals in a strong-marking and disciplined showing as the Blues’ key forward.
Henderson, a strong and reliable key defender, started deep in attack and immediately had an impact, twice outmarking St Kilda tall Rhys Stanley in a five-minute burst to kick the Blues’ opening two goals.
He took 12 marks, gathered 16 disposals and finished with 4.2, presenting coach Mick Malthouse with the sort of swingman that is invaluable in today’s modern game.
Not only that, but the former Lion may very well end up stationing himself as Carlton’s permanent key forward.
Along with inclusion Sam Rowe (3 goals), the Saints’ defence struggled to contain the strong-marking pair at the rate of delivery.
LIST DEVELOPMENT THE PLAN, SAYS WATTERS
St Kilda deserves a pass mark for effort, but must exhaust every option at season’s end to bolster its list if it wishes to return to the top half of the ladder.
That was the assessment of coach Scott Watters after the 36-point loss to the Blues.
“All I’d say from a trade and draft perspective … we’re going to exhaust every opportunity, from free agency to trade, we’ll look at everything,” Watters said.
“That’s not to say we’ll do everything, but we’ll certainly exhaust every option.”
With the careers of Riewoldt, Koschitzke, Hayes, Milne, Dal Santo and Fisher fast approaching the end, Watters clearly sees the need to develop the list with the talent already there and the need to recruit well in the immediate off-season.
“We need to build some top-end talent. There’s no real secret: play the kids, pick good talent, play the kids … that’s the pathway that we’re on.”
Watters said the Saints would look at playing more youngsters in the remaining seven weeks of the season, mentioning Jimmy Webster, Seb Ross, Tom Ledger and Tom Curren.
“We’d like to expose a few more over the back end of the year, and we will, but we still want to be as competitive as we can be,” he said.