Western Bulldogs v Carlton
(Docklands Stadium, 7.50pm AEST, Friday, April 27, 2018)
Followers of the AFL might be a little bit bemused by seeing the spectacle of Friday Night Football populated by two teams at the bottom of the ladder – the Western Bulldogs 16th, and Carlton 18th – and also wondering what on earth the AFL management team must have been smoking when they penciled these two teams in for a Friday night fixture.
Nevertheless, there are the two teams scheduled for the Friday night game, and it’s too late to cancel or reschedule, and we do have to provide a preview of this game.
As we’ve mentioned many times before, here at The Protected Zone, we do like to focus on the lesser games of the season, so we can correlate football with the philosophy of life, and proffer all types of cliches and platitudes. Like, “the first one now will later be last“, which conversely also means the last one now will later be first. Or, “a coach doesn’t know what it’s like to coach, until they’ve coached a team at the bottom”.
And both coaches, Luke Beveridge and Brendon Bolton, know exactly what this experience is like. Unfortunately for Bolton, he has more experience – winning only 13 games from 47 at Carlton, just 27 per cent of games. That ain’t bad, that’s lousy, but he’s really experiencing the lows. At least Beveridge has had the taste of success, having coached Western Bulldogs to the premiership in 2016, before the team fell apart mid-way through the 2017 season, and now languishing in their lowly position.
But, football does offer a level of redemption, as quite a few teams have discovered this year. Carlton almost found redemption against West Coast last weekend; Western Bulldogs got it against Essendon, and almost against Sydney, before falling in a heap against Fremantle in their last match, losing by 54 points.
Still no Matthew Kreuzer for Carlton. When he doesn’t play, Carlton lose. When he does play, Carlton also tend to lose, but they generally do have a much better chance of winning. Western Bulldogs only have nine of their 2016 premiership winning team, and that’s not a good statistic, considering it was only two seasons ago.
It seems they have lost their on-field leaders, and the younger players are still a bit too punch-drunk from their premiership success, probably having the success at too young an age, unable to appreciate the hard slog required to sustain high quality performance in the AFL.
Carlton are a different proposition, and we’ve predicted they will challenge for the premiership in the 2022 season – still some way off, but not near enough for some. We suspect Brendon Bolton will be the “Brendan McCartney” of Carlton. McCartney was, of course, the coach before Luke Beveridge at the Western Bulldogs – he took all the hard hits and developed the ’Dogs into a premiership winning formula.
There are many similarities between Bolton and McCartney – they share the same first name, albeit with a different spelling; neither have played one AFL game; and both have appalling win/loss records. Someone else will claim the next Carlton premiership, after Bolton has completed all the hard work.
Success might be in a far away place but, for Carlton, it won’t be happening in this game. Western Bulldogs should win this game, and place even more pressure upon Brendon Bolton.
- Round 17, 2017. Western Bulldogs 12.10 defeated Carlton 9.8.
- Eddy Jay: Western Bulldogs, 19 points
- Lintang Enam: Western Bulldogs, 21 points
- Computer says: Western Bulldogs, 4 points