Blues need more AFL goalkickers

Carlton’s lack of forward firepower proved crucial in the AFL season-opening loss to Richmond.

The Blues dominated early and led by 23 points in the second term, before sliding to a 27-point loss on Thursday night.

It will probably not be the last time this season that coach Mick Malthouse laments Carlton’s inability to make the most of scoring chances when they have control of the game.

Losing star utility Dale Thomas with a dislocated shoulder in the opening minute certainly hurt, but even with him in the team Carlton would lack goalkicking clout.

Thomas will have scans over the Easter weekend and is likely to miss several weeks.

Malthouse noted that their leading goalkickers in the last three seasons – Eddie Betts, Jeff Garlett and Jarrad Waite – are now at other clubs.

But plenty of Malthouse-coached teams over the years have prospered without boasting a star key forward.

He said Carlton need to find a couple more players who can kick 20-30 goals a year.

“Someone will win it (Carlton’s leading goalkicker) this year and hopefully by doing so he has three or four blokes who are just underneath him in terms of number of goals scored,” he said.

“It’s a matter of time – I still think (Liam) Jones will give us a terrific contest in the air.

“(Lachie) Henderson … he causes trouble – but we just want (him) to put some scoreboard trouble on, not just marking the football.”

But Malthouse was adamant forward Levi Casboult did not deserve to play in round one after a quiet pre-season.

“He’s been out of form … Levi has played three games in the NAB Challenge and hasn’t kicked a goal,” Malthouse said.

“He’s a terrific kid and I’m sure he will fight back.”

One big win for Carlton was utility Simon White, who tagged Dustin Martin and restricted the Tigers star to only 13 possessions.

After playing just 26 games in his first four seasons, White managed 19 last year.

Malthouse watched Martin play three weeks ago, pondered how well White had trained in the pre-season and then opted to go with the surprise matchup.

“It (the matchup) didn’t just appear … I have great faith in him and I think a kid like that needs to know you have faith in him.

“He’s not the greatest skilled (player), but he’s worked on his skill.

“He didn’t have the greatest stamina, he’s worked on his stamina.

“He always had strength and he has great strength of character.

“For Whitey’s sake, it was a great effort.”

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