Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says he is ready for their season opener and not concerned with squad selections
Lance Franklin, Dale Thomas and Jack Martin have all been named to debut in round one, as the 2014 AFL season edges closer.
EXPECT the unexpected.
That is Carlton coach Mick Malthouse’s message heading in to Sunday night’s season-opening clash with Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.
A staggering 22 Blues players have had some form of surgery since the club bowed out of last year’s finals series against Sydney in the semis.
That fact combined with a shorter pre-season than usual has Malthouse expecting some anomalies to be thrown up in the next couple of weeks, not just at his club but across the AFL as a whole.
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“At this time of the year you’re going to find, with the competition the way it is, it’s going to have an enormous amount of players that have played (limited minutes),” Malthouse said on Saturday.
“We’ve only had the chance to play three games. A lot of our players have played two of three, very rarely have any of our players played three games.
“So this is just a continuance of the Players Association rules for the AFL to have an extended break, which meant that the time they had to come back for the first game is limited.
“Look at the game last night (between Collingwood and Fremantle). Both sides were very, very fit but really couldn’t get out of their own way. That’s just the way it is in Round 1.”
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Of the 22 players to go under the knife since last September, three — Chris Judd, Andrew Carrazzo and Lachie Henderson — were much later than their teammates.
Judd (Achilles) and Carrazzo (calf) will not play against the Power, but Henderson (knee) will despite only playing one pre-season match.
Marc Murphy ran laps at training instead of joining in with the main side, but Malthouse said that was just a part his normal pre-match preparation.
Malthouse implored fans not to worry about the players who will be sitting in the stands tomorrow night.
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“I think one of things about Round 1 is just that it throws up the unexpected,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone is going to pick (nine winners) and if they do good luck to them. Regardless of win or loss, there’s always going to be the unexpected, you just don’t know.
“That’s the built in thing of having a limited NAB Challenge series, is that it throws all these variables up.
“Are we ready? We’re as ready as we can be. If you said a week later then there might be another couple of players who get injured and then you need another couple of weeks.
“The best idea is to ignore who’s out of your side, let the medical staff look after that, just look at the players who you’ve got in your side and have the confidence in them.
“I have great confidence in our team. We are ready and we’re looking forward to it.”