As the Blues get closer to full fitness, Carlton ruckman Cameron Wood says Mick Malthouse’s sacking has underlined no-one’s future is guaranteed at the AFL club.
Malthouse was axed last week, leaving the Blues struggling with just one win for the season.
Injuries were cited by the veteran coach as a chief reason for their lacklustre start to the year, which continued on Friday night with a 60-point loss to Sydney.
But brighter days could be ahead for the Blues, with an emptying of the club’s treatment rooms.
Matthew Kreuzer is off the club’s injury list and is likely to play his first AFL match in 15 months on Saturday against Adelaide after again impressing in the VFL.
Against Box Hill last Sunday, Kreuzer had 32 hit-outs and 14 possessions, with the Blues declaring him in the mix for senior selection with a string of other big names.
Carlton’s football boss Andrew McKay said both skipper Marc Murphy and Chris Judd, who missed the Sydney game, needed to pass fitness tests but were in the frame.
“Murphy’s calf stiffened up a week ago so we didn’t want to risk him (against Sydney),” McKay told Carlton’s website.
“He’s certainly training okay this week … we’re pretty confident he’ll be in the team to play Adelaide.
“Judd is very likely, he had a bit of knee soreness but that’s subsided a lot.”
Chris Yarran should shake off a rolled ankle to play on Saturday, with Troy Menzel on track to overcome a knee knock suffered in the 10-goal loss.
McKay had less positive news on Bryce Gibbs, who will be given a fortnight off with back soreness and prepare to return after Carlton’s bye in round 11.
Should that group pass their fitness tests, it will leave the Blues with an injury list of just five: Gibbs, Michael Jamison (calf), Ciaran Byrne (hamstring), Cameron Giles (foot), and Ciaran Sheehan (groin).
Kreuzer’s return could sideline Wood, who said the players were moving on and were right behind interim coach John Barker.
Wood said the team didn’t plan to waste the remainder of the season and recognised some would be playing for their careers.
“I guess when the coach gets sacked you start to wonder about yourself but hopefully that makes you play better,” he said.
“We’re not going to waste the next 13 or 14 weeks.”
Wood said there was a simplified approach from Barker.
“JB came in and we had some pretty simple things we wanted to achieve and effort and tackling pressure were there,” he said.
“There was an increased effort but that was just the baseline and we want to be competitive in every game.”