The 2023 AFL season has turned from a field of dreams to a paddock of nightmares for the Carlton Football Cub.
After missing finals in 2022 by the narrowest of margins, largely due to their inability to stay composed, the Blues entered this season with a belief that finals were inevitable. I have to admit, I thought they’d be playing in September, as well.
However, as the season has unfolded, there have been glaring weaknesses in their lineup and gameplan, exposed for all to see. Harry McKay has been lambasted by the faithful for his lack of output, but there have been other, less newsworthy issues, as well. The midfield is the least dangerous cohort in the AFL, without any player who can hit the scoreboard on a regular basis. Last year, Patrick Cripps kicked over 20 goals for the season. At Round 13 of the 2023 season, he has one to his name.
The best of the Carlton mids have three apiece – Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra.
The club is once again on its knees, or at least hunched over and looking anything but a finalist. At the moment, they’re resembling more a bottom-four team than a finals chance, and at the time of writing, the Blues sit in 15th position on the ladder. Any way you slice it, this year has been a disaster to this point.
So, how do the Blues go about rectifying this?
Do they hit free agency again, or sidle up to the trade table looking to plug holes in their team? Before they do any of that, we must look at the recent acquisitions and how they’re performing. Do we trust Carlton to make the right choices? Do they continue to take the “best available” talent and hope they fit somewhere in the team, or do they start looking at targeted recruiting to fill their needs?
Here are the recruits remaining on the Blues’ list they have acquired from other teams. How are they faring and where do they fit?
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