Bolton to ease into Blues’ AFL hotseat

Brendon Bolton will hasten slowly as he starts the enormous task of setting Carlton back on the path to AFL success.

Carlton’s new senior coach will hand over his Hawthorn assistant duties to Damian Carroll for the rest of this week and then join the Blues.

But interim coach John Barker will stay in charge of the team for the next two weekends and, in a curious twist, their last match of the season will be against the Hawks.

That will give Bolton a few days to sit back, start talking to people and get his head around what needs to be done at the struggling club.

One of his key conversations will be with Blues list manager Stephen Silvagni.

“It’ll give me some breathing space to make some informed decisions and have lots of conversations with people like Stephen Silvagni,” Bolton said.

“(But) I’m not going to sit here and talk about the list in detail, because there’re two more games to play.”

Bolton asked plenty of his own questions during nine hours of talks with Carlton before he narrowly beat Barker for the coaching job.

And he admitted on Tuesday that one of the key topics of discussion was the state of their much-criticised list.

Lachie Henderson has already gone and speculation is rife that Chris Yarran will try to join Richmond.

Bolton says the list is a blank canvas as far as he’s concerned.

“I don’t have too many preconceived ideas.”

Carlton have not put Bolton on the usual coaching contact, instead making him a club employee.

Blues chief executive Steven Trigg did the same in 2011 at Adelaide with Neil Craig.

The other unusual feature of Bolton’s ascension is that he is the only current senior coach with no AFL playing experience.

But his football resume in Tasmania and then the Hawthorn system is excellent.

His stocks rose considerably last year when he filled in as senior coach for five weeks while Alastair Clarkson recovered from illness.

The Hawks went 5-0 under him, but he is under no illusions about what is coming at Carlton.

Asked whether he can maintain his perfect senior coaching record, Bolton smiled and said: “I know the journey and development are never linear.”

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