Charlie Curnow celebrates a goal for Carlton against Richmond.
Charlie Curnow celebrates a goal for Carlton against Richmond.

Attacking Blues herald exciting new era

BRENDON Bolton has ditched the sponge, for the switchblade.

Over the first two years of the rebuild, the Carlton game plan has been a bit dreary, and perhaps even bloody boring at times, too.

We knew what 'Bolts' was doing from a defence-first mentality, but what we saw in front of a packed MCG was intoxicating and exhilarating for the Carlton faithful on two fronts.

And we are not just talking about Jarrod Garlett, whose selection at pick No.78 in last year's draft is looking like the bargain of the lot.

Or Charlie Curnow's bustling five-goal bag.

Charlie Curnow breaks away from the pack.
Charlie Curnow breaks away from the pack.

Dermott Brereton said he could be the No.1 player in the game some day, a tag that might overwhelm some young players, but he lifted to the occasion magnificently against the Tigers, Charlie.

He just has so much mobility and marking power, that's rare to find in a young player.

Kade Simpson's birth certificate is the most irrelevant piece of paper in the game, and Patrick Cripps is a midfielder in the form of an army tank. Remarkably, 16 of his first 22 possessions were contested.

We are looking at Carlton's next captain.

Kade Simpson gets a kick away. Picture: Michael Klein
Kade Simpson gets a kick away. Picture: Michael Klein

So yes, the fresh young talent shone brightly in front of the biggest Round 1 crowd of all-time, but what was equally significant was the overhauled game style, before Richmond ran away with the win in the last quarter.

Season three of the Carlton rebuild clearly has a much more attacking and slick feel, however their turnovers by foot were costly in the end.

Richmond punished Carlton on the turnover late in the 26-point win.

But the Carlton kids are still learning, and there's more risks, lots more run, and lots more attack. And heaps of handball.

(From left) Ed Curnow, Jarrod Garlett, Marc Murphy and Jed Lamb celebrate a goal.
(From left) Ed Curnow, Jarrod Garlett, Marc Murphy and Jed Lamb celebrate a goal.

Yes there were some concerns too, on the injury front and the bookends. Big men Levi Casboult and Jacob Weitering both had quiet nights and Jack Silvagni tried unsuccessfully to tie down Alex Rance.

But from a big picture perspective, these previously kick-first Blues are reborn, and are now much more prepared to link-up by hand and get on their bikes up the middle of the ground.

We called their old game plan "the sponge" because it mopped up the opposition scoring, but Carlton now want to be the ones pounding the scoreboard, with 51 first-half points.

 

And until two serious-looking injuries to Matthew Kreuzer (groin) and Matthew Kennedy (ankle) took hold, the Blues came within a whisker of upsetting the reigning premier's opening night party.

They trailed by only four points at the last change, doing well to be that close with one man down on the bench and Kreuzer battling on one leg.

But the signs positive signs were already everywhere.

When Sam Petrevski-Seton shimmied and flashed through midfield traffic early and Curnow strong-armed two goals in a spectacular opening, the Blues' faithful leapt from their seats.

Patrick Cripps dominated in Carlton’s midfield.
Patrick Cripps dominated in Carlton’s midfield.

This is the new blue era.

Yes Bryce Gibbs had gone, but the cradle of fresh talent was begging to build nicely after a whopping 40-plus changes over the past five years.

You could feel the buzz as Garlett bagged two early goals and lurked with intent around every contest.

 

Imagine if he can keep on the straight and narrow. The man originally taken No. 15 in the 2014 draft could have hardly been more impressive last night. And how about his vision. He picked off some targets with a speed and precision we didn't know he had.

In the third term, Garlett's lightning run up the ground linking up with Marc Murphy and fellow speedster Zac Fisher handed Matthew Wright his fourth major.

Paddy Dow had a quiet debut, but showed some poise in the second term turning out a neat pass to Kreuzer, which set up Wright's second.



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