In the lead up the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming the best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Gold Coast, the next cab off the rank is Carlton.
Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 17th.
2016 was all things considered, a terrific season for the Blues. They moved on a lot of older players, got games into youngsters and had a nice run of wins just prior to the bye. However, that was where it ended as the Blues could only manage one win in their final eleven games, finishing the season in 14th place.
2017 will be much of the same. the Carlton turned over 12 list spots, bringing in more promising youngsters. It is unlikely that there will be great short term improvement, but Stephen Silvagni knows it is not about 2017, but rather a long-term plan to win a premiership.
The Blues are putting together the pieces of a promising backline. Marchbank slots straight into the side and centre half-back and Simon White replaces Zach Tuohy until Ciaran Byrne is fit. Kade Simpson and Sam Docherty are both coming off career best seasons, how neither of them made the All-Australian team is a mystery and should be remedied in 2017. Sam Rowe doesn’t make the side, but he will be an able back-up throughout the season.
Their depth is building in the midfield. Patrick Cripps is a star and should be considered a chance for the Brownlow Medal this year, he finished with 18 votes in last year’s tally. Sam Patrevski-Seton adds both speed and class to the midfield, so he comes straight in on the wing, while GWS recruits Jarrod Picket and Rhys Palmer both make the bench.
The forward line remains a problem for Brendan Bolton. Levi Casboult is the Blues only performing key forward, as Liam Jones and Kristian Jaksch continue to disappoint. I’m excited to see the emergence of Harry Mckay this season, and Patrick Kerr could get a few games up forward late in the year. Matthew Kreuzer can play a role up forward, but he is far more effective in the ruck.
There are still a few journeymen running around for the Blues that won’t be in their next premiership side. Dale Thomas is in the last year of his deal, so he will need to be on the park regularly if he is to earn a new deal. He certainly won’t be their highest paid player this time next year.
Projected Carlton 2017 round one best 22:
HB: Kade Simpson, Caleb Marchbank, Sam Docherty
C: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps, Bryce Gibbs
I/C: Dale Thomas, Jarrod Pickett, Dennis Armfield, Rhys Palmer
EMG: Dylan Buckley, Harry Mckay, David Cunningham.