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“That’s the issue”: Blues' injury woes threatening to derail best shot at a flag in decades


An injury crisis enveloping Carlton is threatening to curtail what is on paper the Blues’ best chance to win a premiership in over two decades.

At least six Blues in Michael Voss’ best team won’t be available to face Sydney in a Friday night blockbuster this weekend, with that number swelling to as many as 10 when form is considered and should Marc Pittonet (finger) and Zac Williams (glute) not get up for the clash.

Carlton has a favourable draw on the run home but could fall out of the top eight after Round 10 if they lose to the top-of-the-table Swans.

The key issue revolves around a raft of soft-tissue injuries, widely considered in the professional sports landscape to be the most preventable injuries.

The news of Jack Martin’s latest calf strain at training sees him become the seventh Blue under an injury cloud with a soft-tissue concern.

Add to that Mitch McGovern’s hamstring concern and Jacob Weitering’s calf tear earlier this year, as well as an earlier hamstring woe for Adam Cerra who suffered a similar injury in Round 9, and it’s clear to see the problem being battled by the Blues and high performance boss Andrew Russell.

“Many of those have been done at training... this is the issue,” SEN chief sports reporter Sam Edmund said on SEN Breakfast about the Blues' soft-tissue crisis.

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Nine of Carlton’s 2023 Preliminary Final side was unavailable last week, a one-point win over Melbourne.

Ex-AFL forward Josh Jenkins says it’s obvious to see there is a problem at Ikon Park – and not just “unfortunate” circumstances as suggested by CEO Brian Cook earlier this month – and called for key figures to get on the same page.

“There are people who sit in those roles who all need to come together and ensure they are all pulling in the same direction,” the former Cat said.

“They’re not doing it for the wrong reasons but clearly there is either too much loading, not enough loading, training two days in a row when they should be training two days apart…

“We went through all this (at Geelong) with young (ruckman) Toby Conway and in the end we got to a point where he needed a couple of days off in a row.

“He can’t train two days in a row. When we have a captain’s run before a game the next day he doesn’t do the captain’s run, he walks, he stands still.

“All that stuff needs to be factored in. And I’m telling you now, Carlton have more information than we do and more information than they’ll give us.”

Cook recently told AFL Nation that the Blues back in Russell, who has helped win premierships at Essendon, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn previously, and that a review of the high performance program found no standout issues.

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“To be honest, there is no clear reasoning behind what is happening. We’ve had a really good look, we’ve looked at our program and training, our players – some are more resilient than others – is it a resilience issue with players, is it our football program, or a combination of both? No doubt it’s a combination of both and we’re just trying to identify how best we can get through this now,” Cook said in early May.

While the Blues could fall out of the top eight this weekend, Voss’ troops could be as high as 3rd should results fall their way, underlying how tight the competition is through the opening two months.

Carlton hasn’t won a premiership since 1995 or featured in a Grand Final since 1999.


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