Mick Malthouse says he faces a race against time to find a winning combination from a Carlton squad hit by injuries, suspension and poor form.
The Blues have a shorter preparation than usual as they fly to New Zealand on Thursday, desperate to record their first AFL win of the season when they take on St Kilda at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Chris Yarran won’t make the trip after he was suspended for three matches for striking and Malthouse said he would take an extended squad due to injury concerns over a few players, including full-back Michael Jamison (shoulder).
“It’s an odd period, having played when we did and trying to get this right … it’s a little bit rushed,” Malthouse said on Wednesday.
“There’s no problem with that, it’s just different for us.
“It’s a little trial for us. We haven’t been to the ground so that’s another issue that we want to get out there and have a look at the ground.
“We’ve got to get as many players as we can to train on Friday.
Some don’t train on Fridays before a match. They should train Thursday but how can they train at an airport?
“Those little things we’ve got to overcome to maximise the right playing group.”
Malthouse said that Kristian Jaksch would be included in the squad to cover for Jamison should he fail pass fit.
The coach expressed his disappointment at Yarran’s action in striking Essendon’s Paul Chapman, but said he would not sanction the rebounding defender.
“It’s behind us,” he said. “I don’t think there has to be a message. The AFL has delivered the message.”
Malthouse equals Jock McHale’s coaching record of 714 games on Saturday, but he said the Anzac centenary and defeating St Kilda were foremost in his mind.
“It’s the hundredth year, it’s quite significant, so any thoughts of personal stuff is not even taken into consideration given the enormity of the event,” he said.
“When you lose a game of football you can’t wait for the next one. In all honesty that’s first and foremost.”