North Melbourne champion David King has delivered a scathing attack on Carlton’s defenders after discovering a “staggering” moment during their loss to Melbourne.
The Blues’ season is teetering on the edge of disaster after they suffered a seventh loss in eight games, this time a dour performance against the Demons – which saw them kick fewer than 10 goals for the fourth straight week.
But it was a lack of care and effort from the defensive unit which left King, and St Kilda great Leigh Montagna, most confused.
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Speaking on Fox Footy’s The First Crack, King highlighted the Demons’ third goal of the game early in the first quarter – and the complete lack of response after it from the Blues.
“This is not about system, this is not about strategy, this is about attitude, application and setting standards – or not allowing poor standards to be part of your football club,” King said on Fox Footy.
“You see the front and square here from (Alex) Neal-Bullen – Lochie O’Brien, here’s your man. He’s your man. Don’t know where you’re going and why you’re separating.
“But let’s have a look at the conversation between the back six to eight players. A high five, a high five, nothing – not one discussion about what broke down. Not one bit of feedback or challenge to the guy who’s just let you down.
“Not one point to Lochie O’Brien saying, hey mate, we need better than that. Not high five, blah, blah, blah. Runner comes out, and he sparks a change. Not one person said anything in the breakdown of that goal.
“I find that staggering. I’m almost angry; I’m not even a Carlton fan. For a Carlton fan to see that you’d say, how invested are you, that every goal that we concede doesn’t hurt? I think the fans sometimes hurt more than the players. Now I’m not I’m not fuelling rage. I want to see someone go to Lochie O’Brien and say hey mate, come on. Come on.
“You see Melbourne conceding goals, Steven May, he’s like a soccer goalkeeper for two minutes. He goes into a frenzy to sort it out so it doesn’t happen again.
“And so if you let that play out, the same play happens the next two to three minutes. They sit you down during the week and say, hey mate, we can’t live with this. Does that happen at Carlton?
“I look at that and I say not only is it not happening, they’ve got no idea. No idea. That is awful.”
Carlton Press Conference | 03:31
Montagna was left just as baffled and believed it was another sign of why the Blues’ season is falling apart, after he initially had faith they could recover.
“I think it’s gone from their system and all this talk, to their to their body language and their energy,” he said on Fox Footy.
“It just looks like they are carrying the weight of the world. They’ve gone insular. That to me looks like a group of defenders that are thinking about themselves. What did I do, how am I going, not thinking about the team and everything else around them.
“They’ve got a lot of work to do – now it’s all in the head of the Blues. I was still bullish that their system, there were some signs there, it was stacking up with some effort some of their contested ball stuff, but now it’s mental.
“It’s all between the ears now in regards to how they want to attack the rest of the season.”