Garry Lyon has called for Carlton veteran Marc Murphy to demand and then earn a role back in the side’s midfield.
The 33-year-old has been playing across the half-forward flank so far this season, averaging 15 disposals and five score involvements per game.
Murphy has struggled to have much of an impact, while players in similar phases of their career like Travis Boak, Scott Pendlebury and David Mundy are thriving in the midfield elsewhere.
Lyon believes the former Carlton captain should push for the move given it could spark the whole playing group.
“I’d throw the challenge back to Marc. He’s on 289 games and at the moment it looks like he’s in that inevitable limping to 300,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“He’s playing half-forward and having no impact. Throw the challenge back to him and say get back in the midfield.
“We’ll give you a couple of weeks to train hard and get some miles back into your legs.
“Travis Boak did it. They took Boak out of the middle and said ‘we’re going to make you a high half-forward’ and after a year Boak said ‘no, I’m going back in the midfield’ and demanded he went back and trained like a midfielder and is now in the best three midfielders in the competition.
“I think that would send a great message to the rest of Carlton if Marc Murphy stood up in front of the group and said ‘I am not satisfied finishing my career as a high forward getting 10 touches’.
“‘I’d rather put it all on the line and be what I was for however many years as an elite midfielder and I’ll go and help Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh and I’ll drag Sam Petrevski-Seton with me and whoever else wants to come because I’m not satisfied withering on the vine on the half-forward flank’.
“You reckon David Teague wouldn’t look at that and go ‘I love this. I love that you are challenging’.
“David Mundy is 35 and cruising around like a Rolls Royce in the midfield. I think that might be one of the first steps (for Carlton). ‘Liam Stocker you come with me, let’s get this midfield up and going’ and maybe the other pieces will fall into place.”
Tim Watson agrees, saying Murphy might have already had the conversation with coach David Teague.
“I agree with that 100 per cent. I don’t know why they are persisting with playing him as a small forward because that is not what he can do. I don’t think that fits his talent set,” he said.
“I would think as a senior player with a good relationship with the coach, he would have had that conversation (with David Teague) at some point.”
When Teague took over as Carlton coach, his first move was shifting Murphy and Ed Curnow back into the midfield after starting the season in the forward line under Brendon Bolton.
The Blues rely heavily on Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps and Curnow in the midfield right now, with Zac Williams, Matthew Kennedy and Lachie Fogarty also in the rotation.
Carlton has long fiddled with their midfield, moving Will Setterfield out to the wing this year before dropping him.
Petrevski-Seton and Zac Fisher showed promise as on-ballers at the start of their careers before being moved into different roles by Teague.
They drafted Paddy Dow at pick three in 2017 to be a long-term midfield solution, but he has not established a regular spot in the side.