It was the pressure release Carlton desperately needed yesterday at Marvel Stadium as an eight-goal second-quarter blitz setting up a 10 point win against the Adelaide Crows.
While the Blues made the result look a lot harder than they needed to be by letting Adelaide back into the game after halftime, it was a day where plenty of young blues took steps forward in their career.
Much needed steps forward.
While wins are ultimately what football fans and Carlton fans crave, they would be buoyed by the games of their youngsters in Paddy Dow, Sam Petrevski-Seton, and Liam Stocker yesterday.
In his 4th year in the system, Dow has had an up and down journey in his early AFL career. But in his 51st game, the Swan Hill product collected 20 disposals, 2 clearances, 9 score involvements, and a thumping goal from 55m out.
While it was by no means complete, there were little moments in every quarter yesterday which could make Carlton fans start to believe that they have a player on their hands.
Sam Petrevski-Seton, who is out of contract at season’s end, has spent the last 18 months deployed in defence as Carlton has looked to utilize his pin-point kicking as a launching pad off half-back.
The 23-year-old was persisted with before he was shifted up to a wing and then dropped out of the senior team, returning to the reserves where he played as a midfielder, performing strongly to win his place back.
The Halls Creek product started strongly before fading out of the game in the second half but his poise and ball use around the contest was enough to suggest that he remains a viable midfield option moving forward after shifting back to his natural position.
Liam Stocker has been a hot topic among the Carlton faithful.
After being recruited as a hard-nosed midfielder, Stocker earned his spot in the Carlton senior team in the backline after some strong VFL form.
Stocker has been tasked with matching up on some of the game’s most dangerous small forwards in recent weeks but was a strong performer against the Crows, keeping high flyer Shane McAdam scoreless, and improving his disposal count and efficiency off half-back in recent weeks.
Carlton young gun Sam Walsh praised the efforts of his young teammates who had worked their way back into the side and played a key part in yesterday’s win.
“They were great yesterday,” Walsh said at Carlton’s recovery session this morning.
“It was so good to see them both go back [to the VFL], that’s a challenge in itself.
“For them to perform and then come out the way they do, I’m sure they’ll build big confidence off that.”
Walsh continued his outstanding season yesterday against the Crows. Collecting a career-high 38 disposals, three clearances, four tackles, nine inside 50s, and 578 metres gained, running 16.2kms around Marvel Stadium.
After being promoted to the leadership group in just his second season at the club, Walsh is younger than both Petrevski-Seton, and Dow, but Walsh fully acknowledges his role as a leader is to listen and embrace everyone for all their strengths.
“They’ve [both] got outstanding strengths as players and it’s my role as a leader to keep on embracing that and hopefully try to get the positive out of all the playing group,” Walsh said.
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It’s set to be a busy week with Ikon Park with the commencement of the club commissioned mid-season external review.
Walsh said that they have addressed it in-house and acknowledged that it will be playing out behind the scenes but the main focus for the playing group, coaching staff and Walsh is to get wins and get the results on field, starting with Fremantle on Saturday.
“We have addressed it in terms of, it will be going on behind the scenes but we’re not too heavily involved as yet,” he said.
“It’s more us focussing on what we can control which is us trying to play good footy.
“I feel like good organizations are looking to review what they’re doing and what they’re doing well and what they can improve on and that’s how we’re going to move forward as a club because we’re not in a position we want to be in at the moment”
At this stage, Carlton is set to travel west to play Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.