Malthouse takes aim at AFL free agency
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has declared his list to be “not quite there”, lashing out at the free agency system as he contemplates the best way to rebuild his side into an AFL force.
Malthouse took aim at the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA), saying they were “kidding themselves” over free agency, which would create a league of haves and have-nots.
He predicted a stream of players leaving low and middle-ranked clubs for premiership contenders, producing a competition similar to the English Premier League, which has only had three different winners in the past decade.
“Free agency creates a two-tiered system,” he said.
“Make no mistake about it – free agency will only help the top sides.
“This is a simple case of the (AFLPA) not understanding the mechanics of how hard it is for football clubs to retain good footballers and have a chance to build up the ladder.”
After a narrow loss to Collingwood on Sunday night, Malthouse said his side lacked talent.
“We’ve got some good footballers; we’ve got some players that play with a lot of heart. Perhaps the talent level is not quite right there,” he said.
He said the departures of Heath Scotland, Josh Bootsma and Nick Duigan had hurt his side’s ability to compete.
“You start getting into the list of (rookie-listed Blaine) Johnsons and (Nick) Holmans and (Patrick) Cripps and so forth,” he said.
“Sides can enter a game with one or two of those but you can’t have three or four of those because you’re going to get slaughtered.”
Malthouse said he was trying to build a culture of competitiveness at Carlton, although suspended midfielder Mitch Robinson would miss two weeks for crossing the line.
The veteran coach reported Robinson had improved dramatically as a footballer but was “very remorseful” for letting his teammates down.
“He’s worked it out that this is really hurting the team and that hurts him,” he said.
Malthouse said Blaine Johnson, who debuted against Collingwood, would keep Jeff Garlett out of the side until he improved his output.
“If you kick enough goals and don’t particularly defend, you can get away with it. But if you don’t do either, you don’t play.”
He was even tougher on key forward Jarrad Waite.
“Jarrad needs to come to grips with what we’re doing at Carlton and that is building a side that is massively competitive.”