Pressure mounts on Blues in AFL

A day and a half of fresh crisis at Carlton has heightened already-rampant AFL speculation about coach Mick Malthouse.

The common media discussion on Saturday was when, not if, the Blues would sack him.

Just less than a month ago, Carlton were coming off their first win of the season and Malthouse was about to break the AFL record for the most games as coach.

Nothing has gone right since.

The Blues were appalling in the blockbuster against Collingwood, when Malthouse broke the record, and they suffered an upset loss to Brisbane.

After GWS enjoyed a record win against them, Geelong also thrashed Carlton on Friday night by 77 points.

Carlton are bottom of the ladder with one win after eight games.

Malthouse also sparked an off-field drama on Thursday when he said in his weekly media conference that talk of rebuilding was affecting the confidence of the players.

Blues chief executive Steven Trigg admitted on Friday that Malthouse’s comments had surprised him.

Trigg then dropped a bombshell in the pre-game radio interview, saying their disastrous season could worsen to the point where Malthouse would not see out the season.

Trigg took the unusual step of giving two post-game TV interviews – before Malthouse had even spoken to the media – and watered down that explosive quote.

For his part, Malthouse insisted post-match that he and the Blues are on the same page and it is not in his DNA to give up.

It was left for captain Marc Murphy and fellow senior player Bryce Gibbs to face the media on Saturday.

After speculation about their futures a few weeks ago, the pair separately said senior club officials had assured them they would not be traded.

But they had no answers for the club’s on-field woes.

And it will not become easier soon, with Carlton having another high-profile Friday night match next week against Sydney at the MCG.

Asked if he thought Malthouse would coach them against the Swans, Murphy told Triple M: “yeah I do”.

Murphy added: “at the moment, it’s not working for us.

“We’re going to keep putting, I suppose, our balls on the line and keep on having a crack at it and try to turn it around – because that’s all you can do.”

Murphy also backed Malthouse, but that means little given the growing pressure in and around the club.

“You can say all the right things during the week, but it doesn’t count for much unless you put in what you’re actually saying … on game day,” he said.

“We’re right behind Mick and I think he’s the man to take us forward.

“He’s a great coach, but the way we’re playing at the moment, we’re not playing consistently good enough footy at all.”

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