Coaching great David Parkin believes Carlton’s 2016 AFL list is even weaker than that of an Essendon side missing a dozen banned stars, predicting the Blues will need up to five years to become truly competitive again.
Last year’s wooden spooners have undergone a root and branch rebuild under new coach Brendon Bolton, adding 12 new players to their senior list and trading out the likes of Chris Yarran, Troy Menzel, Lachie Henderson and Tom Bell.
Parkin says former Hawthorn assistant coach Bolton is the right man for the top job at Carlton.
“What they’ve been able to do is sell some hope, and they couldn’t have charged a better person,” Parkin told AAP.
“Brendon is a teaching coach, and that’s what they need because they are starting probably with the worst list of an AFL club, including Essendon who’ve lost half their players.
“He’s stripped the thing right back, and he’s going to teach from day one.
“I thought they were competitive against Hawthorn last week (in the NAB Challenge) in the way they played, which is a good sign.
“But it’s a rebuild, not a renovation.
“It’s a rebuild of significance, and that can’t be done in two or three years.
“Even if they recruit right and develop right, it’s a four- or five-year process to become competitive.”
Despite this, Parkin anticipated that new Essendon coach and good friend John Worsfold would have to work even harder than his Carlton counterpart because he had the unenviable task of amalgamating a broad spectrum of new recruits.
The Bombers have signed eight of a maximum 10 top-up players to replace the 12 – including Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley – who are serving season-long anti-doping suspensions.
The new faces include Geelong premiership players James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley and Sydney premiership midfielder Craig Bird.
“John is a really solid citizen to bring in a variety of players … who’ve had various histories of success and non-success, bring them into the bunch that’s there and collaboratively bring them together to play,” Parkin said.
“My goodness, that’s not like Brendon starting with a group and saying we all go together – this is a melting pot.
“I’m hoping John can work a miracle.
“I haven’t spoken to him in the last few weeks to know how it’s going, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
“He was excited about it when the job was offered, but he didn’t know he was going to lose half of his team.”
AFL Hall of Fame member Parkin coached Hawthorn to the 1978 premiership and also won three flags as a Carlton coach in 1981, 1982 and 1995.