Carlton president Mark LoGiudice has stated that Mick Malthouse will be the coach of Carlton for the rest of the season, but what will become of Malthouse beyond that?
Carlton could follow the lead of the Western Bulldogs, Adelaide and Gold Coast in dumping their coaches at year’s end.
However, in this case, removing Malthouse and rolling the dice with a new coach makes little to no sense.
Carlton is in a rebuilding phase and there’s no debating that: it should’ve been announced 12 months ago.
So who better to lead the rebuild than someone who’s done it numerous times before with high levels of success?
Carlton has been deplorable so far in 2015 but Malthouse can only take so much of the blame for that. The rest of the blame has to go on the playing group itself.
Carlton has a serious lack of on-field leadership, the midfielders don’t run hard defensively and their forward line last week was possibly the least-potent forward line Carlton has ever put on the park.
The Blues could have one of the greatest coaches of all time at the helm this year, and they still wouldn’t be doing any better than they are now.
Actually, wait: they do have one of the greatest coaches of all time, don’t they?
Another thing that has to be considered is if you are going to sack one of the greatest coaches of all time, who do you replace him with?
Carlton might get lucky and pull a Phil Walsh out of the barrel but at the same time, they might just end up where they were after Denis Pagan left the club nine years ago.
On top of that, the playing group has repeatedly come out and put their support behind Malthouse, so why are people jumping up and down to have him sacked?
Sacking coaches has become the norm in footy and when a club starts putting out performances like Carlton is, the footy world has become accustomed to the coach paying the price for it.
Two-time premiership coach Mark Thompson emphasised his frustration with this whole system of sacking coaches.
“Just stop sacking people,” said Thompson on Fox Footy’s Open Mike last night.
“You just get someone else in there and they’ll have a good first year because it’s all fresh and new and energised. Then the second year goes downhill and the third year goes down and then you get sacked. Then you start over again and history just repeats itself.”
Thompson’s words are particularly telling because of how close he was to being sacked in 2006: we all know how the next few years went at the Cattery.
Obviously, Carlton won’t be winning the flag next year but bringing in a fresh coach will only delay the rebuild.
Aside from club legend David Parkin (his second stint, that is), Carlton has all but followed Thompson’s script in sacking people since the days of Robert Walls.
Walls lasted four years at the end of the ’80s, Wayne Brittain only coached 44 games and Carlton fans attempt to block out the years that Pagan was at the club.
Brett Ratten appeared to be on the way to breaking the mould before his run of six years at the club was terminated in 2012.
This has been the Carlton way for decades: you either succeed immediately, or you get out.
The proof of that lies in the fact that outside of Parkin, Brett Ratten coached more games at Carlton than any other coach at the club since Ron Barassi in the ’60s.
Sacking Mick would be an all too familiar exercise for the Carlton board – it’s time they stood firm and let Malthouse coach.
They’ve brought Steven Silvagni in to fix up the recruiting side of things which has been a debacle for many years. Now, they just need to let the people they’ve employed do the things they’re employed to do, instead of jumping the gun and falling back into the new-coach cycle.
The list isn’t good enough, but there’s nothing they can do about it in round four.
Carlton needs to hold firm and look for other goals to take out of this season.
For example, Sam Docherty looks to have stepped up from last year and if they can get similar progress out of guys like Patrick Cripps, Troy Menzel, Dylan Buckley and their newest debutant Ciaran Byrne, they’ll have a platform to work with in the coming years.
Malthouse has plenty to work with and he is definitely the person to take this club forward: he just needs the machine to get behind him.