Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has denied a rift exists between himself and the club’s management after a turbulent week for the beleaguered Blues ended in another heavy loss.
Carlton remains mired at the bottom of the AFL ladder with just one win eight rounds into the season after Geelong inflicted a 77-point thumping at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
Malthouse put himself at odds with president Mark LoGiudice and chief executive Steven Trigg on Thursday by saying their stated plans to rebuild Carlton’s 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.”
Malthouse said the injury-hit Blues were like a little boy running around trying to plug holes in a dyke against the Cats.
The situation looked grim early when Geelong bounced out to a 27-point lead with just 20 minutes played, but the Blues were at least able to muster some sort of challenge to remain within striking distance, 34 points in arrears, at halftime.
Josh Caddy (23 possessions, three goals), Mark Blicavs (27 disposals) and Cameron Guthrie (22) were influential for the Cats, who had multiple options in attack, where Jordan Murdoch (four goals) and Mitch Clark (three) were dangerous.
Troy Menzel presented well for his four goals at the other end, but all too often the Cats were able to rebound out of defence with ease.
Kade Simpson put in a solid 30-possession effort across half-back, Ed Curnow lowered Joel Selwood’s colours and Chris Yarran worked hard, but Carlton needed more from Chris Judd and Marc Murphy among several others.
The night took a further turn for the worse for Malthouse’s side when Bryce Gibbs, who had appeared hampered by a back injury, was subbed out early in the third quarter.
With their backs to the wall at 58 points down, the Blues needed to show something in the final term, but couldn’t stop the Cats from cruising to a comfortable win.