'Not going to change': Carlton's bullish response to AFL criticism

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Carlton coach David Teague addresses his Blues players.
David Teague is refusing to panic despite the backlash against his Carlton side. Pic: Getty

Carlton coach David Teague has brushed off criticism from fans and fuming club great Mark Maclure about the team's underwhelming start to the AFL season.

The Blues were savaged by fans and the media after last weekend's 28-point humbling against Port Adelaide, with boos ringing out from fans at three-quarter time.

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Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said Carlton were "horrible defensively" during the clash but his criticism was nothing compared to Maclure.

The Blues began the season amid a wave of expectation after an exciting recruitment drive left fans hoping the club could finally be a genuine finals contender in 2021.

After seeing the Blues make a less than impressive 2-3 start, Maclure let rip at the club and questioned how they intended to end "20 years of rubbish" during an extraordinary rant about his former side.

“What do they actually stand for? They have to ask themselves that question – what do we stand for? What does the club stand for? It’s been 20 years of rubbish,” the former captain and three-time premiership winner told Fox Sports' AFL 360.

“They are non-competitive. They have enough talent but why are they non-competitive? I would rather have a bunch of kids who want to wrestle and scrap and stand for something than stars who think they are good.

Seen here, Carlton great Mark Maclure says his former club is desperately lacking strong leaders.
Carlton great Mark Maclure launched an extraordinary attack on his former club after their 2-3 start to the season. Pic: Fox Sports

“They need to control their own destiny, everyone has to be accountable for what they do and peer pressure is stronger than coach pressure and I don’t see it at Carlton.

“This is the essence of it, if you don’t have a group that demands it of each other then you don’t get a result and that is what I see, too many non-competitive players happy to coast. They need someone hard and demanding in there."

Having not featured in finals since 2013 - and last played in a grand final 22 years ago - Carlton fans are wondering if this season will be another wasted opportunity.

Carlton's coach - in his second full season in charge - says despite the concerns he's confident the players and club are heading in the right direction.

"I haven't seen a lot of it, the reaction, I've heard bits of it," he said.

"I've heard a little bit of blame being thrown around but I come back to what we can control.

"I'm really comfortable with the group of players that we've got going out on the field.

"I'm not going to change my tunes off one weekend.

"I understand where the fans are at, I get that. We're very lucky, we've got some of the most passionate fans.

"At some stage, it will click; ideally it's quicker rather than later but right now we're not playing our best footy."

Blues prepare for Lions litmus test

After being soundly beaten by a top-four contender, the Blues get another chance at taking on a preliminary finalist from last year.

Carlton host the Brisbane Lions on Saturday - the same team Teague faced in his first game as a senior AFL coach in 2019.

A keen observer at Marvel Stadium will be former West Coast and Essendon coach John Worsfold, who has been announced as a coaching consultant at the Blues.

Now Perth-based after leaving the Bombers last year, Worsfold returns to Carlton, where he began his coaching career as an assistant 21 years ago.

Teague's relationship with Worsfold extends to when he was an assistant at West Coast.

"He's someone who's been a sounding board for me," Teague said.

"I sat with him a couple of times last year in the hub just discussing different ideas and I really rate his opinion.

"It's more of a mentoring role ... it's more to review our processes and how we go about things."

with AAP

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