Carlton coach Michael Voss foreshadowed his absence from the coaches’ box last Thursday night as the “deluxe version” of watching football at home.
After Voss entered the AFL Health and Safety Protocols after Carlton’s Round 1 win over Richmond, he was absent from the coaches’ box for Round 2 due to a positive Covid test.
Voss handed the reigns over to senior assistant coach Ashley Hansen who oversaw another strong performance to leave Carlton unbeaten across the first two weeks to start a season in a decade.
Deluxe his experience at home was. Four different camera angles, all the stats, codes, and regular goings-on inside the coaches’ box, all fed into Voss’ loungeroom where he took in the game.
Having returned to Ikon Park along with players Adam Cerra, Jack Martin, and several other football department staffers, and re-assumed his position in the senior coaching chair after his absence from the victory over the Bulldogs, Voss said that while he had the deluxe footy watching experience, it was a “horrible” feeling being away from the box.
“It wasn’t the greatest, sitting there watching. I had everything available, the deluxe version of watching football, but when it got into the last quarter and the result was on the line it wasn’t the best experience I’ve ever had in my life,” he said on Tuesday.
“I’m just really proud of the club. We had to make a lot of adjustments throughout the week. It was probably more to do with the staff than anyone else. But the players got on with the job and the staff knew the job ahead of them. They did it magnificently.
“I think it speaks volumes to the progress we’ve made in a few areas. One of it has been resilience. They adapted well and walked away with a good victory against a good opposition.”
Voss was able to communicate with Hansen and the other coaches that were stepping in to fill the vacant positions in the box on Thursday night, but largely left Hansen and the crew on the ground to their own devices.
“For me it was important that the leadership and the decision making sat in the coaches box,” Voss said
“I tried to not interfere, I think I was pretty quiet through most of it but they did a great job.
“They were talking about all the key things that needed to be done and were making the adjustments accordingly… We ended up walking away with a good victory”
With Voss confined to his loungeroom, it’s not often that a senior coach in any sports gets forced into a different view watching an in-season game.
Asked if he noticed anything different from watching the game at home on the screens as opposed to being there live at the ground, the response was a simple “No”.
“I thought it was fairly consistent with what we’ve seen, what we’ve trained [over the pre-season and games so far], what’s becoming habitual and what we’re training,” he said.
“The coaches executed well and so did the players”
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Being able to get the job done despite the adversity at Ikon Park this week reaffirmed to Voss that belief is growing amongst the playing group.
The challenge now as Voss says is to identify areas of growth and use the positive reinforcement and important flags in the ground to continue the development of the Blues.
“It’s growing,” he said.
“I think there have been some important flags in the ground throughout pre-season and some early reward that we have had through the pre-season games, some early reward against some of the opposition we have played against with our style being able to stack up against that.
“That’s where you build your belief from. But as far as being able to still make sure we are progressing in alot of areas of our game, we still have alot of work to do. But we’re making some good ground”
Carlton will be without key defender Oscar McDonald for the clash against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday with Voss hinting that a Carlton debut for new recruit Lewis Young may be in the offing to fill the post.
Jack Martin and Adam Cerra will both be available to return from AFL Health and Safety protocols while young gun Liam Stocker will make his return this weekend from an ankle injury via the VFL.
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