Carlton’s Levi Casboult has always attacked marking contests with reckless abandon.
GWS youngster Matthew Buntine learnt as much when he suffered a punctured lung and two fractured ribs in an AFL pre-season collision with the hulking forward last year.
But Casboult’s other parts of his game, most notably his goal-kicking, have been a source of frustration for some Blues’ fans.
On Friday night the 24-year-old played arguably the best game of his career, booting four goals to give Carlton a sniff of victory against Hawthorn.
Coach Mick Malthouse was thrilled with the key forward who spent three years on the club’s rookie list.
“He’s improving every week … I’m delighted because he does work hard,” Malthouse said.
“He probably hasn’t had the ability to believe in himself and that’s been a real effort on our behalf.
“Just to get him to believe that, one, he belongs.
“And two, he’s got that capability of being – we won’t call it a monster forward – but he’s a very difficult forward to hold when he’s up and running.”
Malthouse said the soccer convert was a prime example of persistence.
“It’s not a natural thing … he changed his style a bit in kicking and he feels far more comfortable,” he said.
Unfortunately for Casboult, Jarrad Waite and Mitch Robinson – who spent much of the clash with the reigning premiers stationed forward – their service dropped off when the game was in the balance.
“The method to get it in there (the forward line) was just far too slow, cumbersome and didn’t give us a chance one on one,” Malthouse said.
Malthouse, who is now 14 games away from equalling Jock McHale’s record of most VFL/AFL matches coached, was happy to move on from his milestone.
“I’m so pleased that number (700th game) is over, because now it means we can just focus on what we need to focus on,” he said.