Carlton coach John Barker has blasted a group of players at the struggling AFL club, accusing them of going through the motions.
While Barker praised captain Marc Murphy and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer for their tenacity after the 64-point loss to North Melbourne, he was scathing about some unnamed teammates.
The Blues improved in the wake of last week’s record loss to Hawthorn and only trailed North by four points approaching halftime.
But Carlton fell away badly in the last term, with the Kangaroos kicking six goals to one.
“There’s a handful of players who are now just not displaying that sort of grit that we talked about a bit earlier (shown by Murphy),” Barker said.
“One going through the motions is too many, but at the moment I think maybe we have ourselves a handful, which is disappointing.”
Barker made sure the team addressed the issue immediately after Saturday night’s game at Etihad Stadium.
“We’ve had a good discussion about what I thought occurred out there and there was some (agreement) in the room,” he said.
“The mark of a man, the mark of a group is how you respond and how you dust yourself off.
“I was expecting a bit better tonight for the full four quarters.”
While Barker would like to drop the players in question, he said there are too many injuries.
“It would be nice to turn them over, but we’re starting to lose some of our levers at match committee because of 14-15 who are unavailable,” he said.
“We’re running out of soldiers.
“It would be nice to use that lever.”
By contrast, Barker could not fault Murphy or Kreuzer.
“I take a couple of positives out of that (loss),” he said.
“We have some players who are digging in, rolling their sleeves up and our captain’s leading from the front.
“But he can’t do it by himself.
“He can’t do it with Kreuzer, Cripps, Simon White – we can’t do it with a handful.”
Kreuzer came off second best against North ruckman Todd Goldstein – as have most opposition ruckmen this season – but could not be faulted for his effort.
“I’m always happy with Matthew Kreuzer, because he doesn’t pick and choose – he’s unconditional,” Barker said.
“Todd Goldstein is a great ruckman and is obviously a bit taller than Matty.
“He probably has a few physical capabilities that shade him (Kreuzer) a little bit.
“But Matthew Kreuzer has a massive ticker.”