The reborn Carlton Blues shocked the Fremantle Dockers with a thrilling last gasp victory that left the Dockers vulnerable to dropping out of the top eight. The inspired Blues’ third win moved them from the bottom of the ladder and have now won two of their last three games. The Dockers have lost their last two games against teams sitting in the bottom three on the ladder and will rue their second quarter, where they allowed Carlton to dominate the game for long periods.
The death knell sounded after Round 10 when Carlton president Mark LoGiudice spoke on Melbourne radio station 3AW, telling listeners that the club was committed to Senior Coach Brendon Bolton. After the Round 11 loss to Essendon, Mark LoGiudice, CEO Cain Liddle and head of football Brad Lloyd met with Bolton and his manager late Sunday night to relay the news that Bolton's tenure was over. Bolton broke the news to the players the next morning.
Bolton will receive a one-off payout. Bolton took over as coach in August of 2015 but the team has failed to show any consistent improvement during his time. The Blues have won just one match in 2019 so Bolton's record stands at 16 wins and 61 losses. LoGiudice was on the board when the club sacked Brett Ratten and hired Mick Malthouse in 2010. Being president since 2014, he has overseen the axing of Malthouse and now Bolton.
Just days after the conclusion of Round Eight, Tiger Shaun Grigg announced his immediate retirement. Grigg, a member of the 2017 premiership side, has been struggling with knee and hip injuries this year and had yet to play a senior game. Grigg said he had a "horrible preseason" and knew he would be unable to get himself right to play. After discussions with Coach Hardwiick and medical staff, it was up to him to make the decision whether or not he could continue, “... As much as I would love to get back out there … I just couldn’t do it.”
The roof was open for today’s Saturday afternoon match at Marvel Stadium. The conditions overcast but comfortable and a good crowd rolled in through the first quarter. For those that didn’t make it until quarter time they missed eleven goals and eight lead changes. Quarters two and three were uneventful as the Swans slowly edged away before a final quarter that saw the Blues open up a window of opportunity but were unable to climb through it.
With Melbourne still under daylight savings the season opened during twilight at 7:25 PM at the MCG. A minute’s silence for the Christchurch massacre silenced the crowd before the 85,016 fans in the house roared at the first bounce. The Tigers would pour on the pressure through the likes of Graham, Cotchin and Martin from the start and the Blues would show little apparent improvement from their wooden spoon effort of 2018 in the first quarter.
First SSP Signings
The Blues have become the first club to sign replacement players under the recently introduced SSP (pre-season supplemental selection period) rule. With another season ending knee injury to defender Sam Docherty and the unexpected retirement of Tom Bugg, the Blues had two places open on their list. VFL star Michael Gibbons and Dandenong winger Matthew Cottrell, who have been training with the club, have been signed as rookies.
Carlton recruit Tom Bugg has put his burgeoning business ahead of his footy career, announcing his retirement. Bugg, 25, began his career with the Melbourne Demons in 2012 but was later traded to GWS. He played a total of 96 games for the two clubs. Cut by GWS, he was given a lifeline with Carlton in last November's rookie draft.
Bugg posted on Carlton's website, “My life ... has changed in a very short period of time which has been the reason behind this tough decision ... The players and staff ... have been so welcoming and supportive ... Everyone is working incredibly hard to take the club back to where it needs to be, you see that every day when you walk through the door.”
Bugg has a social media and "influencer" agency to which he wants to devote more time.
The AFL clubs continue to clear roster space ahead of the draft and another US basketball player will give it a go. Here's the latest:
Carlton delisted Sam Rowe, Jed Lamb, Sam Kerridge and Nick Graham. Rowe, 30, was a defender who played 99 games. He hopes to find another AFL home. Kerridge (42 games), Lamb (66 games) and Graham (48 games) will also look to seek opportunities elsewhere. Kerridge played 27 games with Adelaide 2012-2015 before being traded to the Blues.
Defender Liam Dawson has been delisted by Brisbane. Dawson, 22, played 18 games for the Lions in four years. He played only one game in the past two seasons but failed to add to that tally in 2018. Rohan Bewick, Claye Beams, Jake Barrett, Marco Paparone and Tom Bell have also been delisted while Cian Hanley has retired.
Bewick, the nephew of former Essendon 1993 and 2000 premiership player Darren, played 103 games for the Lions in eight seasons. Bewick, 28, celebrated his 100th AFL game milestone in 2017 and kicked 71 goals for the Lions throughout his career. In 2018,, he played three senior games.
Clubs which didn't make the post season have begun the process of releasing players they don't feel they need next season and opening spots on the roster for draftees. This is known as delisting. This is the second article in a series.
Essendon informed Brendon Goddard he would not be offered a new contract. Goddard, 33, was shocked at the decision while Coach John Worsfold admitted that it was a very tough call to make. An emotional Goddard, who has played every game this season, informed teammates ahead of the final game of the year.