The Blues leave the field after last week’s loss to St Kilda. Pic: AAP
The Blues leave the field after last week’s loss to St Kilda. Pic: AAP

Time for Blues to swallow pride

ASK any long-suffering Carlton supporter how they would like Brisbane's Alex Witherden in the Navy Blue next year and wait for the salivating to begin.

Witherden, part of Brisbane's next Fab Four midfield alongside Jarrod Berry, Hugh McCluggage and Cameron Rayner, is the second favourite to Collingwood's Jaidyn Stephenson in this year's Rising Star award.

Witherden is the last player to have been taken as a priority pick, which the Lions were awarded in 2016, ultimately taking him at No. 23 after some shuffling saw the Geelong College product move from the No. 19 originally granted by the AFL Commission at the end of the first round.

So how do the Bad News Blues of 2018 compare with the Lousy Lions of two years earlier?

Carlton is on the record as saying it won't apply for a priority pick.

Football director Chris Judd even stated "my personal view is the priority pick should be a thing of the past".

 

 

Alex Witherden was selected with a priority pick. Pic: Getty Images
Alex Witherden was selected with a priority pick. Pic: Getty Images

Try selling that to those Carlton supporters who have bled through repeated seasons of mediocrity.

So why not at least put in the request to the AFL Commission? One view is that the club doesn't believe they would be successful, but there isn't a sane person in the game who would blame them for trying.

If Brisbane of 2016 is the comparison, then the Blues would have a case for wrongful dismissal if their request was denied.

THE POLICY

"The provision of special assistance is ultimately a matter for the commission's discretion and will be awarded only in exceptional circumstances. The decision will be based on a club's on-field performance in recent years and any other matter the commission regards as relevant."

PREMIERSHIP POINTS

Carlton (2015-2018): The Blues are one win (2018) six 2017), seven (2016) and four (2015, when wooden spooners).

Brisbane (2013-2016): Three wins (2016), four (2015), seven (2014) and 10 (2013).

Should the Blues remain with one win, they will be the first since GWS in 2013 and Fitzroy in its last year of 1996. As it stands, Carlton has 18 wins, Brisbane 24.

 

It’s been a horror year for Carlton. Pic: Michael Klein
It’s been a horror year for Carlton. Pic: Michael Klein

 

PERCENTAGE

Carlton's percentage of 60.9% is lower than Brisbane's worst from 2013-2016, as is their combined percentages over those four year periods.

Carlton: 60%, 78%, 79%, 64%; Brisbane: 61%, 67%, 69%, 89%.

FINALS APPEARANCES

Going back six seasons, Brisbane had no September action whereas Carlton originally missed the eight in 2013 before being promoted to eighth when Essendon was relegated due to the drugs scandal.

INJURIES

Champion Data ranks Carlton the worst hit in terms of games lost this year (171 to date) and in 2015 were second worst with 240. In 2016 they were 10th (170) and 2017 12th (141).

But Brisbane under Justin Leppitsch were easily the most affected side through injury, missing 294 games and not much better in 2016 (3rd, 256). In 2014 they were fifth (181) and 2013 12th (165).

Those figures show that Brisbane actually fared worse, which is more reason for the Blues to be given a priority pick. If only they would ask for it.

 

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