While it’s Carlton’s next-gen draftees that get Blues fans most excited for the club’s AFL future, coach Brendon Bolton has praised the old guard.
The Blues are in the middle of the league’s deepest rebuild but have cobbled together three straight wins and will gun for a fourth against Port Adelaide on Sunday.
Bolton believes the Blues’ leaders are playing a pivotal role – both on and off the field – in making that happen.
The first-season coach was criticised for not handing Marc Murphy an extension to his captaincy on his arrival to the club.
Bolton told Melbourne radio station SEN it wasn’t about making Murphy sweat or deliberately feel uncomfortable, it was about establishing a process, a culture.
“Early days it would have been just quite easy to nominate Murph as captain but he and I both had an honest discussion that that’s not the right way,” he said.
“Good organisations aren’t afraid to be uncomfortable and have those conversations.
“I didn’t know Murphy. Murph didn’t know I. Over time … there was no doubt he was the best fit.”
Murphy was front of mind when handing out credit for the Blues’ better than expected start.
“Gibbs, Murphy, (Kade) Simpson and even (Sam) Docherty, Andrew Walker … I can’t fault them.
“It’s really important that they’ve become extensions of the coaching staff … our leadership has bought into that approach.
“What I’m most impressed with was their want to embrace change and invest in our youngsters.”
That’s not to say the Blues are defining their year solely by their win-loss record.
Bolton said tallying wins would be a “narrow way” of defining success, suggesting unity, values and the learning environment created at the club are just as important.
Carlton are going in with an unchanged team, while Port Adelaide have made just one change, dropping Jimmy Toumpas for Karl Amon.
Kade Simpson will notch his 250th match for Carlton, while Michael Jamison will notch game 150.