Positives? Yes. Satisfied? No.
That was Brendon Bolton’s message in a nutshell after Carlton came agonisingly close to causing a major upset against Richmond in Thursday night’s AFL season-opener.
The first step in what had been billed as a painstaking rebuilding process was surprisingly entertaining for Blues fans who saw their hard-working side rattle the Tigers before giving up a late 10-point lead to go down by nine points in front of 75,706 fans at the MCG.
Bolton was buoyed by the many positives in the performance but said Carlton would never be content with a fighting loss under his guidance.
“High-performing teams need to think that way,” Bolton said.
“We’ll analyse the game with a real balanced approach … we’ll look at what we did well and what we need to improve on but our conversion late in the game was a missed opportunity.
“There were some really good things there to build on – we had enough (midfield) supply, some of our ball movement troubled them and I thought our defensive action was really sound – but we just need to continue to work on our polish.
“There’s lots of positives but high-performing teams need to look at what they did well and challenge what they didn’t – we’ll do that.”
Levi Casboult can expect a challenge after he continued his maddeningly inconsistent ways in front of goal. The key forward again presented strongly in the air but managed just two behinds.
Jacob Weitering, one of five players making their Carlton debut, will hold no such fears heading into the coach’s review after the top overall draft pick slotted into defence seamlessly with most of his 18 possessions executed with poise beyond his years.
“He was really composed,” Bolton said.
The Blues didn’t suffer any new injuries during the clash, with skipper Marc Murphy among his side’s best players despite a limited preparation due to off-season shoulder surgery.