- from afl.com.au
CARLTON coach Brendon Bolton has urged his team to keep chasing that winning feeling after the Blues broke through for their first win of the season against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday.
Another reason for navy Blue optimism was Bolton’s hope to have skipper Marc Murphy available for the clash with Melbourne at the MCG next Sunday.
In the ice-breaking, 13-point victory over the Bombers – which came after a 0-7 start, Carlton’s worst opening to a season – seven Blues enjoyed their first win for the club.
“A bit of pride is the main emotion,” Bolton told reporters post-match.
“We had quite a few youngsters out there, which we have most weeks, and for them to experience that feeling of winning is really important for them.
“Now they've experienced it, they need to understand not to get too high on that. They’ve definitely experienced not to get too low when you lose, but you don't want to get too high after a win, and they've now just got to keep chasing that feeling.”
“We think – which sometimes is really difficult to see when you're not winning because the emotion can cloud it – that our players are moving forward.
“Really simply, today we played more consistent footy.”
Bolton said he would give his players a couple of days to enjoy the victory before focusing on the Demons.
“It's important they smile,” he said.
“It's a hard grind at times. When you’re learning the ropes, there’s sometimes some ups and downs along the way, which we’ve had.”
The Blues coach was full of praise for the likes of the Curnow brothers, Charlie and Ed.
Of prodigiously talented key forward Charlie Curnow, who returned after an ankle injury, took several strong contested marks and slotted three goals, Bolton enthused: “You sometimes forget how many years he’s had in the AFL. It’s his third year … As important as he is, he’s still growing and I don’t think what we’re seeing now is going to be the best of him. Fast forward a couple of years, it’ll be quite interesting what he produces.”
And of older brother Ed, who blanketed Bombers playmaker Zach Merrett and was a strong ball winner: “He’s been one player who’s played to their strengths this year and been consistent for us.”
Ed Curnow will also come under the scrutiny of Match Review Officer Michael Christian for making contact with an umpire.
“I haven't seen it to understand it,” Bolton said, “but we always should protect umpires.”
Small forward Matt Wright hurt his left ankle in the second term but played out the game, which Bolton said was “a good sign”.
Asked if he expected Murphy to return from a foot injury, Bolton almost pleaded with the footy gods.
“I really hope so,” he said.
As for how he would celebrate the win himself, Bolton immediately thought of his coaching panel.
“The only thing I can do now is be with our coaches,” he said.
“Often with coaches when it's not working, the first thing you do is look at self – ‘Is there something else we can be doing for our players?’ It's a bit like being a dad.
“Sometimes there’s not much more you can do other than just support the players.
“So maybe it’s just be with them and shake their hand.”