Carlton coach Brendon Bolton admits he’s only just starting to understand how immense the AFL club’s rivalry with Collingwood is.
Bolton came to know the pressure of expectation during his stint at Hawthorn as one of Alastair Clarkson’s assistants.
But getting a close look at the rivalry between two of Melbourne’s most storied clubs, who face off at the MCG on Saturday, is something that has opened the fresh-faced mentor’s eyes.
“Just the supporters and those coming to watch training, it’s spoken about … I’m really just starting to understand it but that’s exciting,” Bolton said on the eve of the MCG clash.
“Rivalries are a great thing in footy clubs and it’s just a little bit more special with the Peter Mac Cup.
“It’s a really special occasion.”
Little was expected of the Blues this season – Bolton’s first in charge – but they’re on the cusp of recording a third straight win.
The Magpies, who, like Carlton, have recorded a 2-4 start to the season, have had a horror run with injuries.
Tom Langdon (ankle) and Ben Sinclair (concussion) are the latest additions to their injury list.
Both sides are coming off a six-day break but the Magpies have also had to deal with the effects of a trip to Perth.
Captain Scott Pendlebury and fellow midfielder Steele Sidebottom were restricted to running laps at Thursday’s training session.
Bolton rejects the notion it’s an ideal time to tackle the Magpies.
“I wouldn’t think (they’re) vulnerable,” he said.
“We’re going to face a really determined Collingwood, there’s no doubt.”
The Blues were forced to make two changes of their own because of injuries.
Rising Star favourite Jacob Weitering hurt his shoulder in their last-start win over Essendon, while ruckman Andrew Phillips tweaked his hamstring at training.
Both Weitering and Phillips are set to be on the sidelines for at least a fortnight.
Bolton backed Matthew Kreuzer to handle the additional ruck work in the absence of Phillips.
“He’s a seasoned campaigner and has got a great engine so we’re really confident in Kreuz,” he said.