Unable to go that extra mile and convert their competitiveness into wins, Carlton has been victim to devastatingly close losses to Gold Coast, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Collingwood and the Bulldogs. The young Blues were finally able to seal the deal this weekend with a four-point victory over Fremantle.
Carlton was without Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay in the nail-biting thriller at Optus Stadium on Sunday with a goal in the final minute putting them ahead of Fremantle, seeing them victorious at the final siren.
Former St Kilda Captain Nick Riewoldt believes that this win may become a catalyst for the young Blues.
“It was a brilliant game of footy, I got to watch the last quarter after Maddie’s Match. It was just a great contest. At that stage, I didn’t know they were five goals down (in the first quarter) and that just makes the win even more impressive,” Riewoldt told SEN Breakfast on Monday morning.
“It’s so important when you travel across the county, you’re in a hostile environment and you’re under pressure, that your leaders get you going.
“You could have forgiven them at the end as well because they won it, then they lost it, and they had to win it again.
“These were the games earlier in the year when – up at the Gold Coast, we saw Mitch McGovern not providing cover at the back of the stoppage – when late in the game we saw Lachie Plowman kick sideways when he should have gone down the middle – then we saw the same thing two weeks later from Jacob Weitering.
“So all of a sudden they’ve been in these close games and they’ve found a way to get over the line. Sometimes that’s the catalyst. That will be it now.
“That will send them on their way, this young group that we’ve had such high expectations on.
“That’s why the pressure has been so immense on this group and it ultimately cost Brendon Bolton his job.
“I was really bullish on this group at the start of the year and the path they were on. I thought Bolton was doing a really good job and they just weren’t capitalising on the improvement and turning it into wins.
“It’s a win-loss industry. The positive affirmation this gives the group is enormous.”
Unfortunately, the win saw the Blues lose star Charlie Curnow early in the game, suffering a low-grade medial knee injury. The young star is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Carlton has the opportunity for back-to-back wins next week when they host Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.