Coach gives prognosis on unlucky Blue

Carlton vs Melbourne.
Carlton star Adam Cerra will await scans on a hamstring injury he suffered during the third quarter against Melbourne on Thursday night. Picture: Michael Klein

Important Carlton midfielder Adam Cerra’s horror run of hamstring injuries continued against Melbourne on Thursday night but coach Michael Voss says his latest setback is only “minor”.

Cerra was subbed out during the third quarter of the Blues’ one-point win after suffering his fourth hamstring injury since July last year.

The 24-year-old was only two games into his return from the midweek injury which ruled him out of Carlton’s round 5 loss to Adelaide, which was among a cluster of hamstring strains that drew attention from the Blues hierarchy.

Chief executive Brian Cook said last week the Blues “had a really good look” at their conditioning program following the spate of injuries to Cerra, Adam Saad, and duo Mitch McGovern and Jack Martin, who both returned successfully against the Demons.

Voss was unsure whether Cerra’s injury was to the same hamstring as his previous complaint but was not concerned by the extent of the damage.

AFL Rd 9 - Carlton v Melbourne
Carlton midfielder Adam Cerra was subbed off with another hamstring injury during the Blues’ one-point win over Melbourne at the MCG. Picture: Dylan Burns / Getty Images

“It’s a slight hamstring, minor hamstring I should say, so we’ll get that scanned and see where that lies,” he said after the game.

George Hewett was the obvious replacement for Cerra for the round 10 clash against Sydney, after the former Swan was dropped to the sub role despite 30 disposals and six clearances the week before against Collingwood.

Voss said the decision was simply to rotate his midfielders over a long season after Matt Kennedy had performed the role against the Pies.

“We’re just sharing the load, it’s a long season, Matty Kennedy played there last week, and George took his turn … our small forwards have done the same job,” Voss said.

That’s the approach we’ll keep taking … we realise that it’s a long year, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get some more bodies back, and that hopefully will put some more pressure on players and their positions.”

Voss joked that Kennedy’s successful tagging role on Christian Petracca in the first quarter had caused the positional switch which almost won the Demons the match, as he praised the rival superstar for his “sensational” individual effort.

Carlton vs Melbourne
Carlton’s Matt Kennedy (left) won the early midfield battle against Christian Petracca (right), only for the Melbourne star to move forward and deliver a five-goal masterclass. Picture: Michael Klein

He said the disappointment of allowing Melbourne back into the game would not “take away from the positives” for the Blues.

“The start was really impressive, that was how we wanted to make sure we (got the game) really early … obviously Melbourne were off the back of a five-day break, so just trying to get the jump,” he said.

“We’ve been fighting I reckon for a good month, I think we’ve been in some good form, we’ve played against some really good sides.

“It’s been something we’ve been chasing hard … to absorb 20 inside 50s in the last quarter and to still be able to hang on – I’m sure we’ll look back at it and say there’s moments we’d like to do better, we’d like to have some better composure, but generally across the whole game, I was really impressed with the win.

“We’ve been talking about the phases of the game and how we want to defend as a team, and I saw a real shift there, so we’ll walk away pretty happy with the result.”