A defiant Mick Malthouse says he won’t walk away from Carlton, but he refuses to beg to extend his tenure as senior coach at the beleaguered AFL club.
The pressure on Malthouse ratcheted up several degrees on Friday night after Geelong inflicted a 77-point thrashing on Carlton that keeps them mired at the bottom of the ladder with just one win eight rounds into the season.
The result sets up another week of turmoil at Princes Park, but Malthouse, who is out of contract at the end of the season, remains determined to pull the Blues out of their nose dive.
“It’s not in my DNA to give up,” Malthouse replied when asked about the club’s predicament.
President Mark LoGiudice has said on several occasions that the club’s board will honour the last year of Malthouse’s contract, but will wait until the back half of the season before making a decision on the future of the coach.
On his desire to receive a contract extension, Malthouse was unequivocal.
“I’ve never crawled and I’ve never knocked on doors for a contract – they’re either given to you or they’re not,” he said.
“I’ll be the first to say if I’m not ready and I’ll be the first to say that I haven’t got the energy.
“I would never embarrass myself nor the football club and particularly my family and players, so that’s between me and the organisation.”
Friday night’s loss was a low point in a turbulent week where Malthouse put himself at odds with LoGiudice and chief executive Steven Trigg.
On Thursday, Malthouse said that publicly-stated plans to rebuild Carlton’s playing list had sapped his players of all confidence.
But the coach was at pains to get back on the same page as the club’s hierarchy after yet another disappointing performance.
“I’m in total alignment with the football club, in particular Steven,” Malthouse said.
“I totally understand where he’s coming from, I totally understand that he’s the right person to lead the club in a manner that he wants to lead us.
“I’m fully behind him because that’s where the club’s got to go.
“But I also know that when those words (about rebuilding) are mentioned to the media and supporters … the player group (also) get hold of it and that’s probably not the word that they need, but nonetheless it is the truth.
“(But) it is exactly what I think needs to happen and it’s exactly on the same line as the football club.”
The result came just hours after Trigg said on Melbourne radio that further uncompetitive performances could potentially force the club’s board to revisit their position on Malthouse.
Trigg later took the unusual step of going on Channel Seven’s post-game broadcast in a bid to try to hose down the remarks, but only succeeded in adding more intrigue to the goings on at the club.
The chief executive said that he hadn’t spoken with Malthouse to seek clarification on his comments on the club’s rebuild, which he said he’d found both surprising and disappointing.
Malthouse, however, said that such a meeting had occurred.
“I have a meeting with Steven every match day,” Malthouse said.
“There’s nothing new come out of this.
“This statement (about rebuilding) has been out for six or seven weeks – it’s not new and I totally agree with it.
“I’m just saying that the playing group themselves have felt the pinch.”