Beleaguered Carlton coach Brendon Bolton admits he’s unsure when the Blues will turn the corner after recording their worst ever start to an AFL season.
The Blues on Friday night slumped to a 21-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, taking their record to 0-6.
Big things were predicted for Carlton this year but in their 120-year VFL/AFL history, the Blues have never started a season so poorly.
The 11.14 (80) to 8.11 (59) loss will be particularly tough to swallow for Blues fans given Carlton, for once, had experience on their side – they fielded 10 players above the age of 25 compared with just two for the Bulldogs.
And the Blues’ tough five-week stretch leading up to their midyear bye suggests there’s unlikely to be respite any time soon.
Carlton will travel to Adelaide next weekend to face the Crows before games against Essendon, Melbourne, Geelong and Sydney – none of which could be considered bankable victories.
“Hopefully by the halfway mark, we have got a win or two,” Bolton said.
“I’m not going to put a figure on it just now.”
Bolton has consistently said that his rebuilding team’s youth and lack of experience is no excuse for performing poorly.
But he was eager on Friday night to stress how much had changed during his time in charge.
“Three years ago, when we started the rebuild, we were averaging about four guys from 18-21 years of age,” he said.
“In the second year of this rebuild, it jumped to six. This year, it’s around nine or 10 guys.
“So we’ve increased our talent through the draft but dropped significantly in age and experience, hence you’re seeing a little bit of what’s happening now.
“But it is frustrating because we want to win.”
Bolton said he was “really hopeful” the Blues would welcome back ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (groin) for the Crows clash, as well as swingman Jacob Weitering (thigh).