AFL great Wayne Carey has defended Jesse Hogan after the Melbourne key forward’s lacklustre start to the season attracted some fierce criticism.
Hogan has divided opinion sharply among some of the best key forwards in AFL history after only kicking one goal in Saturday’s upset loss to Essendon.
Last year’s Rising Star winner also was having a quiet day in round one, before he helped spark the comeback win over GWS with three last-quarter goals.
Former Essendon full forward Matthew Lloyd savaged Hogan on Monday, calling the 19-year-old’s body language in the opening two matches horrific.
Another former key forward great, Hawthorn star Dermott Brereton, accused Hogan of being non-competitive when the ball went to ground in the Bombers game.
But Carey, the two-time North Melbourne premiership captain and an all-time great centre half-forward, said Hogan should be cut some slack.
“You have to remember, this kid’s 19 – he’s played 22 games,” Carey said on Seven’s Talking Footy.
“And with the body language … I think Jesse Hogan gets really disappointed with himself more so than he does (with) teammates.
“If he’s not playing well – and he hasn’t had a great start to the season – I just see that he gets really down.
“Now, can he improve that? Absolutely.”
Carey noted that Hogan has put off contract talks with Melbourne until the end of the season, amid growing speculation about whether he might stay at the Demons long-term.
“Let’s not forget, he’s just a kid and the expectations and the talk around contracts and all sorts of stuff – how’s this kid meant to handle all that at just 19?,” Carey said.
“I think he’d like to be told how he’s going – what he’s doing right, what he’s doing wrong.
“He’s a very proud young player who’s set a pretty high standard already.
“I think it’s more about him rather than his teammates doing something wrong.”
Melbourne onballer Bernie Vince added that players up the ground were not doing Hogan many favours with how the ball had been delivered to him so far this season.
“I’d be pretty frustrated, too … we just need to get it in better, it’s probably our fault,” Vince said.