Champion Data expert Daniel Hoyne and North Melbourne premiership player David King have spoken publicly about their concerns with Carlton’s current back line structure.
Carlton have let their opponents run the score up on them in their first two games of the season, letting up a total of 222 points in both round one and two.
The real cause for concern though, is the form of the players they are lining up in the back line.
Former number one overall pick Jacob Weitering is yet to find his niche with the Blues.
He’s seen it all, the back line, the forward line and yet still hasn’t looked comfortable in his position. Meanwhile, an unfortunate Liam Jones had the assignment of defending against Gold Coast Suns forward Tom Lynch, who went on to kick eight goals over the Easter weekend.
“Drafted as the number one draft pick as a key defender, and seeing him a lot as a kid, his number one asset was his ability to intercept and read the play down back,” Hoyne told SEN Afternoons.
“He was clearly one of the best key defenders that we’ve seen through the junior system for a long time.”
“Sometimes watching these players as a kid and then going in to the AFL system, I get a little bit frustrated to see them getting played out of position.”
David King believes Weitering needs to spend more time developing in the VFL system before Carlton can capitalise on his talent in the AFL.
“I agree with Paul Roos when he said you can develop players in the reserves, there’s no slight on that,” King added.
“Say he gets dropped this week, where does he play? Does he play forward or does he play back? … What if he plays two really good weeks back, has a dozen intercept marks in both games and then he’s looking for elevation? Where does he come into the Carlton team?”
King switched the topic to Carlton defender Liam Jones, who has been in poor form recently for the Blues.
“Look at the form Jones is in, he is horribly out of form!” King said.
“He is lost at the moment. I’m happy to give him a couple of weeks’ grace because he was so good last year but the numbers tell you that things are trending towards a ceasefire.
Hoyne made the point that Jones should be given the benefit of the doubt due to his impressive stint last season, earning him a new contract from the club and solidifying him a senior team position to start the 2018 season.
“His first seven games in the AFL system last year took everyone by surprise,” Hoyne said.
“He was that complete key defender for the first even game. Defending well, intercepting well, only losing 19% of his one-on-one contests and conceded only seven goals.
“But the last five games of last year and the first two of this year, there are some concerns.”
The pair could have an opportunity to bounce back when Carlton take of the Magpies at the MCG on Friday night for round three of the AFL season.