Blues coach urges bold AFL recruiting

Outgoing Carlton coach John Barker wants some adventurous recruiting at the struggling AFL club to fix an alarming lack of depth on their player list.

The Blues’ 57-point loss to Hawthorn and Brisbane’s surprise win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday meant Carlton finished last for the fourth time since 2002.

It means they will have the No.1 draft pick, with tall defender Jacob Weitering and key forward Josh Schache the main candidates.

Barker was asked after Saturday’s season-ending loss whether the Blues should go for a defender or forward with the top pick.

“We need to be bold,” he said.

“We’ve talked a lot about what’s required … for the team.

“We need both, to be candid.

“What you saw over the last six or seven weeks, when we started to lose senior players, was a good look at what our depth looks like.

“And there’s a helluva lot of work to be done with our depth.”

Barker also remains confident that ruckman Matthew Kreuzer will stay at Carlton.

Kreuzer is about to be out of contract and has been non-commital about his future.

Barker said Kreuzer, Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty and Dylan Buckley were the sort of young players who could be the foundation of Carlton’s rebuilding.

“He’s a very good player, he’s important to the club and I think he’s a Carlton person – and will be, going forward,” Barker said of Kreuzer.

Barker took over when Mick Malthouse was sacked and has earned widespread praise for his work.

He narrowly missed out on staying senior coach, with Brendon Bolton winning the job.

Barker will finish at Carlton in the next couple of days and then spend time with his family before deciding on his future.

“What I need is a little bit of clean air,” he said.

Barker also remains keen to become an AFL senior coach.

“It’s a massive task, it’s a massive job, but it’s one I think I’m up for,” he said.

Barker also had high praise for Andrew Carrazzo, who was their best player in his retirement game.

“He’s a warrior, always has been,” Barker said.

“There’s a lot of talk in AFL, but we see through action what people stand for.

“He talks with what he does.”

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