2015, Carlton rolled in to 2016 with a sense of optimism and hope, driven not just by the influx of good young players seeking opportunities but by the coaching and positivity of new coach Brendon Bolton and his Assistants.
A pre-season without a win didn't dampen the hope, and a promising Round 1 loss to 2015 finallists Richmond continued the theme, before a few losses in Rounds 2, 3 and 4 had us zip and four and the naysayers were out in force. For sure, a new list, but we'd let a lot of talent go and were starting a long way behind.
But the boys found something. Tight wins over Freo and the depleted Bombers showed some promise, if not rough-edged and a little painful, before a breakthrough - as in, measured, controlled and clearly a better team - win over the Pies had us winning 3 in a row for the first time since 2013! A stunning win against Port the week after had us 4 and 4 and set for early flag favourites North, which despite a big loss, didn't seem to set us back or demoralise the troops; so much so that we defeated Top 4 team Geelong in Round 10. 5 and 5 after 10 had us a game out of a very competitive top 8, and a 6th win against Brisbane brought smiles across the faces of Bluebaggers everywhere. How good was Bolton! How wonderful was the new List Manager? Could we make the top 8?
After the perhaps naïve hope of this point of the year, the Blues started to fall away. 9 losses in a row; some close, some devastating, knocked the smiles off our faces, for now. As we settled in to a bottom 4 finish with 6 wins, all eyes progressed to the last two rounds of the year at home at MCG, with an additional win against the Dees bringing us up to 7 for the year.
A better year; a trial of new Blues; a new Coach .... but a renewed Club for sure.
The pre-season would carry much hope for Bluebaggers everywhere....
Coach: Brendon Bolton
Assistant / Development Coaches: Neil Craig, John Barker, Dale Amos, Tim Clarke, Mathew Capuano, Josh Fraser - Northern Blues
Captain: Marc Murphy
Leadership Group: Kade Simpson (vc), Bryce Gibbs, Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty, Ed Curnow, Andrew Walker
President: Mark LoGiudice
Jacob Weitering, Charlie Curnow, Jack Silvagni, David Cuningham
Club Debuts: Sam Kerridge, Jed Lamb, Andrew D Phillips, Matthew Wright, Lachie Plowman, Liam Sumner, Daniel Gorringe
Rising Star Nominees: Jacob Weitering
250 Games: Kade Simpson
200 Games: Bryce Gibbs, Andrew Walker
200 Games (AFL): Dale Thomas
150 Games: Michael Jamison
100 Games (AFL): Matthew Wright
100 Games: Zach Tuohy, Ed Curnow
50 Games (AFL): Sam Docherty
50 Games: Sam Docherty, Andrejs Everitt
Retirements: Michael Jamison, Andrew Walker, Cameron Wood
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