List Breakdown by position:
|Key Def||Gen Def||Mid||Mid/Fwd||Gen Fwd||Key Fwd||Ruck||Total|
Average Age: 24.6
Players In: Darcy Lang, Matthew Kennedy, Matthew Lobbe
Players Out: Bryce Gibbs
Retired/Delisted: Denis Armfield, Ciaran Sheehan, Kristian Jacksh, Daniel Gorringe, Matt Korcheck, Liam Sumner, Andrew Gallucci, Dylan Buckley
Draft Picks: 3, 10, 30, 72, 95, 96
What They Got/Lost:
Heading into the trade period, the Blues had one primary target in the form of Matthew Kennedy, who they eventually snagged on deadline day. The road to achieving that trade was far from smooth, however, with the Blues losing star midfielder Bryce Gibbs to the Crows to help fund it. That trade in itself can’t be seen as anything but a win for list manager Steven Silvagni though, with Carlton securing their desired fee of two first round picks and ensuring they head to the draft with two picks inside the top ten. Darcy Lang and Matthew Lobbe also made the move to Princes Park for some much needed squad depth, but it is without doubt their position on the board in November that was the big victory.
What They Need:
Same as 2016 – midfielders, midfielders and more midfielders, with the loss of 200 gamer Gibbs compounding this further. The addition of Matthew Kennedy will certainly help to an extent, but he only scratches the surface of their requirements. In Kennedy they have a player that can can assist Patrick Cripps on the inside, but also provide a useful target inside 50 – hopefully playing that Luke Parker role that the Blues hoped Nick Graham could develop into. It’s plain to see that Carlton need more than that, however.
The rebirth of Liam Jones as one of the best key defenders in the competition has been a huge bonus at the back for the Blues. Jones, along with the potential of Caleb Marchbank, Lachie Plowman and Jacob Weitering and the elite talent of Sam Docherty and the evergreen Kade Simpson, gives the Blues one of the most solid looking defences in the league. Add to this the likes of Harrison McCreadie, Tom Williamson, Alex Silvagni and Ciaran Byrne, and the defence is set.
The issues for Carlton are further up the ground, with the Blues finishing 17th in the league for clearances, goals scored, and inside 50s. Bryce Gibbs finished 2017 as the club’s leader for clearances, second for inside 50s and third for scoreboard impact, so it is imperative that the massive hole he has left is filled. Kennedy will help to an extent, but the Blues may look to third year player Charlie Curnow to take the next step in his development. The Rising Star nominee took a massive stride forward in 2017, and has all the hallmarks of player that could become one of the Competition’s elite. While he has excelled in the forward arc, he could be potentially devastating through the midfield, and some time up the ground could well be on the cards. They may also look to Sam Docherty to spend more time in the middle, with the amount of talent they have available in the back line affording them that luxury. Although he certainly would add some experience and quality ball use in that area of the ground, he is clearly best behind the ball, however, so it could almost be considered a ‘waste’.
They can expect further development from gun recruit Sam Petrevski-Seton and fellow rising star nominee David Cuningham, but there is no doubt the Blues will be looking to the Draft to plug the hole.
On the Radar:
Pick three guarantees the Blues one of the best players in this year’s crop, but who they get will be very dependent on Brisbane and Freo ahead of them. With two interstate teams ahead of them, the two Country players at the top of the list, inside midfielders Paddy Dow and Luke Davies-Uniacke, may well be snapped up first which would leave the Blues with a very tricky choice. That scenario would mean that Cameron Rayner would be on the board, and although not exactly the ready-to-go midfielder they would benefit from, the powerful half-forward/inside mid would be hard to turn down. They may instead choose classy Eastern Ranges midfielder Adam Cerra, however, who looks every inch a 200 game AFL A-grader. If Rayner is snapped up in the first two picks, it would be a nice dilemma to have between the others.
Having two picks inside 10 gives the Blues some flexibility and the potential to take a ‘best-available’ selection. At this point, with a blue-chip mid in the bag, they could take a punt on a player like Sam Hayes as a long term successor to Matthew Kreuzer – knowing that they can bolster their midfield further with pick 30. The mobile ruck is a more than capable key forward, being named All-Australian as a bottom ager playing the role in 2016, and has the athleticism to impact around the ground. We all know clubs’ reluctance to take the big men early these days though, so the odds are that they will look to take another midfielder. At this position there may be the option to gazump Adelaide and plump for South Australian Darcy Fogarty. Fogarty was long considered by many to be the pick of this year’s crop, and would offer a player ready built for the rigours of AFL footy. At pick ten he would be a steal, and he may well be off the board by then. Others around the mark could be Northern Knights captain Nick Coffield, or Dandenong Stingray’s Dangerfield-like Aiden Bonar, who has rocketed up the draft order.