Brian Cook "Carlton's rebuild still has a fair way to go"

Which club is more likely to win another flag first?


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dave10

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Brian Cook has recently admitted Carlton's rebuild still has "a fair way to go" in his words.


Many people are optimistic about Carlton's on field prospects in 2022, sharing a belief that the Blues have built a solid list, which was underperforming under David Teague, and that Michael Voss has what it takes to get the best out of Carlton's list, by instilling hard edge and mongrel into the players which was lacking under David Teague.

However, Brian Cook's comments indicate he's not one who shares the belief that the list is ready and a case of underperforming under the previous coach, instead acknowledging there's still a lot of work to do before Carlton's rebuild is complete. Voss may get the best out of the list and instill mongrel, but Cook knows that Carlton's list still needs a lot of work.

Cook is up there with Peter Jackson and Brendon Gale when it comes to the best CEO's in the AFL, with Cook's previous track record at both West Coast and Geelong giving every reason for fans to be optimistic about Cook being the man to turn Carlton around, in the same manner in which Jackson turned Melbourne around, and in which Gale turned Richmond around.

It'll be interesting to see whether or not Cook is the man to lead Carlton out of the wilderness, and whether or not we'll see another historically successful powerhouse club return from the wilderness, given we've recently witnessed other historically successful powerhouse clubs in Richmond and Melbourne both return from the wilderness.

Do people believe Cook is the man to lead Carlton out of the wilderness, and given Carlton and Essendon are the two historically successful powerhouse clubs still in the wilderness, are Carlton more or less likely to see a return to on field success before Essendon do?
I’m a big fan of Brian Cook. I share his view that strong football clubs are all about the strength of a clubs culture. A great club is the sum of its parts, not about having great ‘parts’.

This is where Carlton and Essendon have failed for 20 years. Both clubs have had periods in the last 20 years where their list has been good enough to play deep into September and win finals. However, they’ve failed to deliver due to underperforming culture or simply making too many critical decision errors across the club.

Example 1 - Essendon(2017-20)

Unquestionably built a list capable of winning a semi final by 2021. However, poor standards of performance, no accountability, lack of quality coaches (game plans / player development) and poor injury management led this group to under perform and ultimately fracture. The central issue was a poor culture.

Exampme 2 - Carlton 2020/1

Not that dissimilar to the above example. A carbon copy of the Essendon issue. A talented list being put together however unquestionably poor culture and a lack of quality coaches impacted player development and game day skills impacted performance.

It appears Essendon have addressed its cultural failings and operating weaknesses across its footy department and is now back on track. I understand Paul Brasher is currently wary and putting the club on notice that now it mustn’t become complacent and think success will naturally materialise. He has the club on notice, that’s a sign of cultural improvements being sustained. Early pre season training indicates this is translating onto the track.

Carlton is where Essendon was 12 months ago. It’s doing it’s reset now. If Brian Cookcant lead them to success, I don’t know who can!

I think both clubs are back on track and if they can stay on course, both clubs should see success on field in the next 2-3 years.
 

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lumpinee

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unless theyre hit by terrible injuries that club Carlton know and think anything less than making a final will be considered a fail in 2022
you can take that to the bank.

id be stunned that if theyre best talent happens to remain on the park for the majority of the year they didnt make top 8.
 

btdg

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I’m a big fan of Brian Cook. I share his view that strong football clubs are all about the strength of a clubs culture. A great club is the sum of its parts, not about having great ‘parts’.

This is where Carlton and Essendon have failed for 20 years. Both clubs have had periods in the last 20 years where their list has been good enough to play deep into September and win finals. However, they’ve failed to deliver due to underperforming culture or simply making too many critical decision errors across the club.

Example 1 - Essendon(2017-20)

Unquestionably built a list capable of winning a semi final by 2021. However, poor standards of performance, no accountability, lack of quality coaches (game plans / player development) and poor injury management led this group to under perform and ultimately fracture. The central issue was a poor culture.

Exampme 2 - Carlton 2020/1

Not that dissimilar to the above example. A carbon copy of the Essendon issue. A talented list being put together however unquestionably poor culture and a lack of quality coaches impacted player development and game day skills impacted performance.

It appears Essendon have addressed its cultural failings and operating weaknesses across its footy department and is now back on track. I understand Paul Brasher is currently wary and putting the club on notice that now it mustn’t become complacent and think success will naturally materialise. He has the club on notice, that’s a sign of cultural improvements being sustained. Early pre season training indicates this is translating onto the track.

Carlton is where Essendon was 12 months ago. It’s doing it’s reset now. If Brian Cookcant lead them to success, I don’t know who can!

I think both clubs are back on track and if they can stay on course, both clubs should see success on field in the next 2-3 years.
I think this is only a partial truth about Carlton. I don't really think that poor coaching and player development are the problem; in fact, I reckon Teague was tactically as good as any coahc. When the players were invested (2020) it was fantastic at times, and I can't remember a coach being able to flip matches and adjust games plans as well as he did. A lot of the development issues stem from other problems too, imo (injury, COVID issues) - the players who had a smooth run at it developed fine, but the cutlural piece is relevant.

Poor culture is very hard to define other that post-event; Carlton's culture is poor because we didn't do well the last two years. But if I had to define it, I would do so as an inability to remain committed, positive and strong in the face of adversity.

Carlton were solid and probably performing as expected in 2020, but faded badly in the bubble, had young players who couldn't crack the best 22 go backwards (both emotionally and in terms of performance) and were just fragile in a couple of games that could have turned things around. It really wasn't a bad year, we probably landed exactly where most thought we would, even if there was a lack of consistency and a few warning signs.

In 2021, we had a brutal run with injury: beyond the core of Walsh, Weitering, McKay, Cripps, Saad, Jones (whose performances weren't far off any top 6 in the comp) our next tier simply didn't get on the park (Silvagni, Docherty, Williams, Martin, C Curnow, Marchbank, Setterfield, Fisher, McGovern, De Koning, Pittonet, Cuningham, Newman, Casboult, Gibbons all missed 7+ games with injury, and all would have played every week if fit). That sucks, but the group was still far too fragile, and played some absolute howlers, particulalry when stacked with Covid weirdness. Biggest example was the West Coast game -they had worse injuries, the game was due to be in Melbourne but got shifted to NSW, and we utterly stank it up when a win would have put us in touching distance of the 8 (if not favourites to jump in). Instead, after that match, the place pretty much fell apart - the players quit on a couple of notable matches (ie; North - again, we played with our entire foward line missing, but also still quit on the match), the coach walked, the board had a hissy fit, etc. Good clubs ride the waves, acknowledge the adversity, whereas we just fell to bits.

That's what Cook is referring to imo. You can rebuild the playing list a be thereabouts, but there's so much more work to do. In 2020 it was COVID. In 2021 it was injuries. Next year, who knows... Aliens? But something will disrupt the season, create a bit of adversity, and we have to get better and stronger and be able to push through it and land on our feet on the other side.

Otherwise, it's pretty rare for a club to just have everything fall into place and things just magically turn around. Maybe Richmond in 2017 - they had a phenomenal injury run, seemed to get fixturing that just worked for them, etc. But... they also had a disappointing 2016 season, and rather than imploding they redoubled their efforts and landed on their feet able to take advantage, rather than giving up and starting another rebuild. As Cook said, it's not about Premierships, its about getting the culture and organisation right so that you can win premierships in the good times, and right the ship more quickly in the bad times.
 

footyfan1978

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I think this is only a partial truth about Carlton. I don't really think that poor coaching and player development are the problem; in fact, I reckon Teague was tactically as good as any coahc. When the players were invested (2020) it was fantastic at times, and I can't remember a coach being able to flip matches and adjust games plans as well as he did. A lot of the development issues stem from other problems too, imo (injury, COVID issues) - the players who had a smooth run at it developed fine, but the cutlural piece is relevant.

Poor culture is very hard to define other that post-event; Carlton's culture is poor because we didn't do well the last two years. But if I had to define it, I would do so as an inability to remain committed, positive and strong in the face of adversity.

Carlton were solid and probably performing as expected in 2020, but faded badly in the bubble, had young players who couldn't crack the best 22 go backwards (both emotionally and in terms of performance) and were just fragile in a couple of games that could have turned things around.

In 2021, we had a brutal run with injury: beyond the core of Walsh, Weitering, McKay, Cripps, Saad, Jones (whose performances weren't far off any top 6 in the comp) our next tier simply didn't get on the park (Silvagni, Docherty, Williams, Martin, C Curnow, Marchbank, Setterfield, Fisher, McGovern, De Koning, Pittonet, Cuningham, Newman, Casboult, Gibbons all missed 7+ games with injury, and all would have played every week if fit). That sucks, but the group was still far too fragile, and played some absolute howlers, particulalry when stacked with Covid weirdness. Biggest example was the West Coast game -they had worse injuries, the game was due to be in Melbourne but got shifted to NSW, and we utterly stank it up when a win would have put us in touching distance of the 8 (if not favourites to jump in). Instead, after that match, the place pretty much fell apart - the players quit on a couple of notable matches (ie; North - again, we played with our entire foward line missing, but also still quit on the match), the coach walked, the board had a hissy fit, etc. Good clubs ride the waves, acknowledge the adversity, whereas we just fell to bits.

That's what Cook is referring to imo. You can rebuild the playing list a be thereabouts, but there's so much more work to do. In 2020 it was COVID. In 2021 it was injuries. Next year, who knows... Aliens? But something will disrupt the season, create a bit of adversity, and we have to get better and stronger and be able to push through it and land on our feet on the other side.

Otherwise, it's pretty rare for a club to just have everything fall into place and things just magically turn around. Maybe Richmond in 2017 - they had a phenomenal injury run, seemed to get fixturing that just worked for them, etc. But... they also had a disappointing 2016 season, and rather than imploding they redoubled their efforts and landed on their feet able to take advantage, rather than giving up and starting another rebuild. As Cook said, it's not about Premierships, its about getting the culture and organisation right so that you can win premierships in the good times, and right the ship more quickly in the bad times.
Good post.
Also should be added the poster trying to suggest Essendon and Carlton on similar paths is way off.
Very different situations for different reasons.
I think the closest past situation I equate to where we are is Brisbane Lions after 1998 terrible season , another coach change and totally renewed with different coach, football department etc and the new coach Matthews did not have any big goal of making finals the next season. He basically just said, I'll get a wonderful coaching group and support staff for you players to assist you be the best that you can be but it up to the players themselves to really make the most of it and slowly but surely they trusted the coaches and football people around them and years later the real success happened.

I listened to a podcast on AFL site of interviews with Leigh Matthews, Jason Akermanis and Johnathon Brown a few weeks back and so much of their situation at end of 1998 reminds me of type of situation we found ourselves in at end of 2021 season.

It's great listening if you take the time to listen to all the things those three said in it. Also interesting about what Leigh Matthews said about Voss in it.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Who knows. Pretty much all depends on the new coach. If he’s good then they’ll improve straight away and go on with it. If he turns out to be a dud then he’ll set them back and they’ll have to try again like they did with Teague, Bolton and Malthouse.
 

btdg

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Good post.
Also should be added the poster trying to suggest Essendon and Carlton on similar paths is way off.
Very different situations for different reasons.
I think the closest past situation I equate to where we are is Brisbane Lions after 1998 terrible season , another coach change and totally renewed with different coach, football department etc and the new coach Matthews did not have any big goal of making finals the next season. He basically just said, I'll get a wonderful coaching group and support staff for you players to assist you be the best that you can be but it up to the players themselves to really make the most of it and slowly but surely they trusted the coaches and football people around them and years later the real success happened.

I listened to a podcast on AFL site of interviews with Leigh Matthews, Jason Akermanis and Johnathon Brown a few weeks back and so much of their situation at end of 1998 reminds me of type of situation we found ourselves in at end of 2021 season.

It's great listening if you take the time to listen to all the things those three said in it. Also interesting about what Leigh Matthews said about Voss in it.
Yeah, it's not a bad comparison.

Essendon 2020 was a different situation imo. They had injury issues, sure, but also had to contend with a player exodus that shook things up. They had built a team around running off half back and Daniher was their forward for the next decade, Fantasia the next in line... losing Saad/Daniher/Fantasia all at once sent them into a genuine need to rebuild their playing list and structure. There was a cultural piece too, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. They finished 11-12 on the year and scraped into 8th as the best of a bunch of mediocre teams, then got belted.

Unliek Essendon this year, Carlton 2021 will likely trot the same players out onto the field - minus SPS and plus Cerra, but structure, core - all the same.

Similarly, Brisbane had almost the entirety of their 2001 Premiership team on the list in '98, minus Jonathon Brown (who was 20 in 2001) and Mal Michael. But they had to stop being the Bears of the 90s and develop that internal strength and toughness first. that '99 season looks a bit of a model to me, just roll the balls out and let the players go. They were terrifying that year - absolutely belted us in the first week of finals, and ultimately went just as far as they could (losing an away prelim to Carey/North).
 

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Stabby McGee

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Seems a fair comment. A way to go but still a lot to get excited about (well not me obviously)
I think you’d find he was talking more about off field than on anyway.
His job is to get the off to help the on work and I don’t see him as the micro-manager type
 

dave10

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Yeah, it's not a bad comparison.

Essendon 2020 was a different situation imo. They had injury issues, sure, but also had to contend with a player exodus that shook things up. They had built a team around running off half back and Daniher was their forward for the next decade, Fantasia the next in line... losing Saad/Daniher/Fantasia all at once sent them into a genuine need to rebuild their playing list and structure. There was a cultural piece too, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. They finished 11-12 on the year and scraped into 8th as the best of a bunch of mediocre teams, then got belted.

Unliek Essendon this year, Carlton 2021 will likely trot the same players out onto the field - minus SPS and plus Cerra, but structure, core - all the same.

Similarly, Brisbane had almost the entirety of their 2001 Premiership team on the list in '98, minus Jonathon Brown (who was 20 in 2001) and Mal Michael. But they had to stop being the Bears of the 90s and develop that internal strength and toughness first. that '99 season looks a bit of a model to me, just roll the balls out and let the players go. They were terrifying that year - absolutely belted us in the first week of finals, and ultimately went just as far as they could (losing an away prelim to Carey/North).
I may be off the mark re Carlton, you’re the experts. I can only observe at arms length. Culture was the issue holding Essendon back.. No question.

You need to think about the reasons WHY Daniher, Fantasia and Saad left? The end justifies the means. Daniher left in part due to injury (mismanagement and lack of professionalism) and more wanting a fresh start in new environment. Fantasia (injury frustration). Saad was emblematic of the cultural failure at Essendon. You need to understand the deep issues that plagued Essendon since the ‘saga’ to appreciate the impact poor culture had on performance. It’s list build 2016-2020 should have won finals. However injuries across 2019/20 in particular were as significant as Carlton 2021 and was a factor but not THE factor. Hurley (AA CHB), Hooker (AA FB) and Daniher (AA FF) missed at least half of both seasons. Draper did an ACL. Stringer was injured and played games underdone. Fantasia hardly played... The list had 8 All Australians in 2020. 8! However, the club failed to create an environment of high performance, leading to confusion on field, lack of cohesion and connection due to selection instability week to week, chronic injury to best players and ultimately players leaving. Further, players were getting away with playing games unfit and players breaking team rules weren’t punished with being dropped. Signs of a poor culture.

The ‘saga’ necessarily created a soft and forgiving culture at Essendon. A talented list build from 2016-2020 and the promise of success papercracked the problem holding the club back. Saad, Daniher and Fantasia sensationally walking out the door didn’t ‘force’ a list rebuild, it necessarily forced the club to accept the cultural failings inside the club and fix them otherwise other players (Eg: Merrett) would follow. As a result, it decided to invest in youth at the 2020 draft, a decision that would energise a club rebuilding its culture and leveraging its identity.

Brasher has led a successful review and Mahoney is leading the implementation of a new culture across the football club. Over 40 recommendations from the review were implemented. The atmosphere in and around the club is totally different. The club has connected its past to its present. Players and coaches are buying into a new ‘blue collar’ approach and game plan, symbolic of Essendon teams of decades past. Standards have been elevated
(Eg: Stringer fitness leading to less injury / improved performance), players development is now accelerating (Draper, Parish, Laverde, Redman etc) and players are staying at the club (Merrett). The improved culture is bearing fruit.

Today, pre season training is upbeat, led by an Alex Rance who’s demonstrating what wins premierships on the training track with his 1-4 year players by leading the way himself participating in training and taking it right up to the younger players the last two weeks. 6-8 ‘senior’ players have joined them on the track, coming back earlier than expected to lead the way.

Much hard work is ahead. It has the talent on the list broadly however the club has been in this position before (2017). This time the biggest driver of sustained success appears to be far better placed as we stand today.. Strong Culture. There will be ups and downs in the next year or two. Contrary to drunken media hype, Essendon privately believe they’re still two years away from challenging top 4.
They may miss finals in 2022 in what could still ultimately be a healthy development year where coaches are still defining roles, building connection and developing its youth (Eg: Melbourne 2019, Richmond 2016 etc). Growing pains if you will. The media may demand linear growth, and it may not happen in 2022.. Essendon’s challenge will be to not get distracted by this and stay on course.

However IF the standards don’t skip, IF the club remains focussed and on course, the success will follow. Whether that’s in 2022, 2023 or 2024 we will have to wait and see.

I don’t think Carlton’s situation is totally dissimilar to this TBH. May not be as bad as where Essendon were, however Brian Cook is pretty certain that his focus over the coming period will be focussed on……. Culture!
 

Leeda

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Carlton is always banking on getting the ‘star‘ to get them through…entitlement value will not always
work…
 

Leeda

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I may be off the mark re Carlton, you’re the experts. I can only observe at arms length. Culture was the issue holding Essendon back.. No question.

You need to think about the reasons WHY Daniher, Fantasia and Saad left? The end justifies the means. Daniher left in part due to injury (mismanagement and lack of professionalism) and more wanting a fresh start in new environment. Fantasia (injury frustration). Saad was emblematic of the cultural failure at Essendon. You need to understand the deep issues that plagued Essendon since the ‘saga’ to appreciate the impact poor culture had on performance. It’s list build 2016-2020 should have won finals. However injuries across 2019/20 in particular were as significant as Carlton 2021 and was a factor but not THE factor. Hurley (AA CHB), Hooker (AA FB) and Daniher (AA FF) missed at least half of both seasons. Draper did an ACL. Stringer was injured and played games underdone. Fantasia hardly played... The list had 8 All Australians in 2020. 8! However, the club failed to create an environment of high performance, leading to confusion on field, lack of cohesion and connection due to selection instability week to week, chronic injury to best players and ultimately players leaving. Further, players were getting away with playing games unfit and players breaking team rules weren’t punished with being dropped. Signs of a poor culture.

The ‘saga’ necessarily created a soft and forgiving culture at Essendon. A talented list build from 2016-2020 and the promise of success papercracked the problem holding the club back. Saad, Daniher and Fantasia sensationally walking out the door didn’t ‘force’ a list rebuild, it necessarily forced the club to accept the cultural failings inside the club and fix them otherwise other players (Eg: Merrett) would follow. As a result, it decided to invest in youth at the 2020 draft, a decision that would energise a club rebuilding its culture and leveraging its identity.

Brasher has led a successful review and Mahoney is leading the implementation of a new culture across the football club. Over 40 recommendations from the review were implemented. The atmosphere in and around the club is totally different. The club has connected its past to its present. Players and coaches are buying into a new ‘blue collar’ approach and game plan, symbolic of Essendon teams of decades past. Standards have been elevated
(Eg: Stringer fitness leading to less injury / improved performance), players development is now accelerating (Draper, Parish, Laverde, Redman etc) and players are staying at the club (Merrett). The improved culture is bearing fruit.

Today, pre season training is upbeat, led by an Alex Rance who’s demonstrating what wins premierships on the training track with his 1-4 year players by leading the way himself participating in training and taking it right up to the younger players the last two weeks. 6-8 ‘senior’ players have joined them on the track, coming back earlier than expected to lead the way.

Much hard work is ahead. It has the talent on the list broadly however the club has been in this position before (2017). This time the biggest driver of sustained success appears to be far better placed as we stand today.. Strong Culture. There will be ups and downs in the next year or two. Contrary to drunken media hype, Essendon privately believe they’re still two years away from challenging top 4.
They may miss finals in 2022 in what could still ultimately be a healthy development year where coaches are still defining roles, building connection and developing its youth (Eg: Melbourne 2019, Richmond 2016 etc). Growing pains if you will. The media may demand linear growth, and it may not happen in 2022.. Essendon’s challenge will be to not get distracted by this and stay on course.

However IF the standards don’t skip, IF the club remains focussed and on course, the success will follow. Whether that’s in 2022, 2023 or 2024 we will have to wait and see.

I don’t think Carlton’s situation is totally dissimilar to this TBH. May not be as bad as where Essendon were, however Brian Cook is pretty certain that his focus over the coming period will be focussed on……. Culture!
I like you because you put the effort in…it means something to you
 

btdg

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I may be off the mark re Carlton, you’re the experts. I can only observe at arms length. Culture was the issue holding Essendon back.. No question.

You need to think about the reasons WHY Daniher, Fantasia and Saad left? The end justifies the means. Daniher left in part due to injury (mismanagement and lack of professionalism) and more wanting a fresh start in new environment. Fantasia (injury frustration). Saad was emblematic of the cultural failure at Essendon. You need to understand the deep issues that plagued Essendon since the ‘saga’ to appreciate the impact poor culture had on performance. It’s list build 2016-2020 should have won finals. However injuries across 2019/20 in particular were as significant as Carlton 2021 and was a factor but not THE factor. Hurley (AA CHB), Hooker (AA FB) and Daniher (AA FF) missed at least half of both seasons. Draper did an ACL. Stringer was injured and played games underdone. Fantasia hardly played... The list had 8 All Australians in 2020. 8! However, the club failed to create an environment of high performance, leading to confusion on field, lack of cohesion and connection due to selection instability week to week, chronic injury to best players and ultimately players leaving. Further, players were getting away with playing games unfit and players breaking team rules weren’t punished with being dropped. Signs of a poor culture.

The ‘saga’ necessarily created a soft and forgiving culture at Essendon. A talented list build from 2016-2020 and the promise of success papercracked the problem holding the club back. Saad, Daniher and Fantasia sensationally walking out the door didn’t ‘force’ a list rebuild, it necessarily forced the club to accept the cultural failings inside the club and fix them otherwise other players (Eg: Merrett) would follow. As a result, it decided to invest in youth at the 2020 draft, a decision that would energise a club rebuilding its culture and leveraging its identity.

Brasher has led a successful review and Mahoney is leading the implementation of a new culture across the football club. Over 40 recommendations from the review were implemented. The atmosphere in and around the club is totally different. The club has connected its past to its present. Players and coaches are buying into a new ‘blue collar’ approach and game plan, symbolic of Essendon teams of decades past. Standards have been elevated
(Eg: Stringer fitness leading to less injury / improved performance), players development is now accelerating (Draper, Parish, Laverde, Redman etc) and players are staying at the club (Merrett). The improved culture is bearing fruit.

Today, pre season training is upbeat, led by an Alex Rance who’s demonstrating what wins premierships on the training track with his 1-4 year players by leading the way himself participating in training and taking it right up to the younger players the last two weeks. 6-8 ‘senior’ players have joined them on the track, coming back earlier than expected to lead the way.

Much hard work is ahead. It has the talent on the list broadly however the club has been in this position before (2017). This time the biggest driver of sustained success appears to be far better placed as we stand today.. Strong Culture. There will be ups and downs in the next year or two. Contrary to drunken media hype, Essendon privately believe they’re still two years away from challenging top 4.
They may miss finals in 2022 in what could still ultimately be a healthy development year where coaches are still defining roles, building connection and developing its youth (Eg: Melbourne 2019, Richmond 2016 etc). Growing pains if you will. The media may demand linear growth, and it may not happen in 2022.. Essendon’s challenge will be to not get distracted by this and stay on course.

However IF the standards don’t skip, IF the club remains focussed and on course, the success will follow. Whether that’s in 2022, 2023 or 2024 we will have to wait and see.

I don’t think Carlton’s situation is totally dissimilar to this TBH. May not be as bad as where Essendon were, however Brian Cook is pretty certain that his focus over the coming period will be focussed on……. Culture!
I'm not yet convinced Essendon has turned anything around in terms of culture - lets wait for the next storm to hit, and see how things ride out.

I guess I was more making the point that 12 months ago Essendon needed a mini-rebuild due to player departures. The team was a mature team, who had aimed to compete for finals and fallen short of expectations, but more importantly, had also been built around Daniher/Saad as core cogs, along with Hurley as well I guess. They left, there was a mini injection of young talent, and that sat alongside a new coach and new roles for a bunch of players, and it was a pretty different looking team that played this year.

Carlton also need to work on culture, but our circumstances aren't the same as Essendon a year ago. We haven't had an exodus of players. Our core is still young and really just entering the window we expect to compete (as opposed to Essendon coming to the end of a run where you could have competed, and then really rebooting things a bit). I'd actualy say that 2021 was the first really disappointing year since our (planned) long rebuild began in 2015. Next year, it'll be the same players running out for the team, as close to the same roles as you'll see.

And while 'culture' is an issue for both teams, I'm not even sure it means the same thing in both cases.

At Carlton, it seems to me very much about transitioning to a 'do it now' mindset, about players stepping up more consistently and not being satisfied with mediocrity (breaking down the psychological barriers that come from being bottom 4 for half a decade). No more waiting for number 1 draft picks, for the next Judd or Barassi to turn it around single-handedly; but the players themselves committing to making the next step. Hence: a season in which we didn't win a single match as underdogs, or even with our backs against hte wall. when simply 2 wins from 15-odd games where that was the case and we play finals.

At Essendon, it seems to me almost about the opposite - as you say, underperformance (and particularly a tendency to lose matches against the bottom team), players stagnating and/or being a bit ahead of themselves, and ultimately a failure to deliver on realised talent. For Essendon, ther question is whether making finals in 2021 is something that gets built on further or whether its back to 11th spot stagnation again after a few injuries rock the boat a little.

To sum up: for Carlton it's about changing mindset and actually launching somethign rather than waiting for it to just fall into place. For Essendon it's about not dropping standards and for once continuing to build, rather than accepting a lucky/unexpected finals berth be something that effectively prevents real growth.
 

BruceTempany14

Loving the Eagles and Cats Salt
Aug 4, 2016
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I’m a big fan of Brian Cook. I share his view that strong football clubs are all about the strength of a clubs culture. A great club is the sum of its parts, not about having great ‘parts’.

This is where Carlton and Essendon have failed for 20 years. Both clubs have had periods in the last 20 years where their list has been good enough to play deep into September and win finals. However, they’ve failed to deliver due to underperforming culture or simply making too many critical decision errors across the club.

Example 1 - Essendon(2017-20)

Unquestionably built a list capable of winning a semi final by 2021. However, poor standards of performance, no accountability, lack of quality coaches (game plans / player development) and poor injury management led this group to under perform and ultimately fracture. The central issue was a poor culture.

Exampme 2 - Carlton 2020/1

Not that dissimilar to the above example. A carbon copy of the Essendon issue. A talented list being put together however unquestionably poor culture and a lack of quality coaches impacted player development and game day skills impacted performance.

It appears Essendon have addressed its cultural failings and operating weaknesses across its footy department and is now back on track. I understand Paul Brasher is currently wary and putting the club on notice that now it mustn’t become complacent and think success will naturally materialise. He has the club on notice, that’s a sign of cultural improvements being sustained. Early pre season training indicates this is translating onto the track.

Carlton is where Essendon was 12 months ago. It’s doing it’s reset now. If Brian Cookcant lead them to success, I don’t know who can!

I think both clubs are back on track and if they can stay on course, both clubs should see success on field in the next 2-3 years.
Sorry disagree entire on Essendon. Their issues have not been resolved and they’re 2021 season was hard to watch . They literally fell into the 8 as other sides stumbled for a variety of reasons . When playing in the finals showed their true abilities. I’m An convinced they’ll be bottom 6 in 2022 . They’re only as good as the herald sun makes them out to be , the disappointment that will be 2022 will only be more painful by the absolute propaganda piece aired on Fox.

But Carlton , it’s worried me for a long time that they’ll come good . Two big reasons they will deliver this year: McKay and Curnow on the park at the same time , and if Fisher gets his sh$t together that’ll spell bad news for me ! I hate Carlton so much but if properly coached , man they will be an excellent team . Big if , but with new coaching regimen, the opportunity for improvement is obvious . Top 6 minimum 2022 IMO , with the sky the limit 2023 onwards.




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footyfan1978

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Ryan Burton would have loved for such a stance to be felt for him...
 

dave10

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Apr 26, 2004
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I'm not yet convinced Essendon has turned anything around in terms of culture - lets wait for the next storm to hit, and see how things ride out.

I guess I was more making the point that 12 months ago Essendon needed a mini-rebuild due to player departures. The team was a mature team, who had aimed to compete for finals and fallen short of expectations, but more importantly, had also been built around Daniher/Saad as core cogs, along with Hurley as well I guess. They left, there was a mini injection of young talent, and that sat alongside a new coach and new roles for a bunch of players, and it was a pretty different looking team that played this year.

Carlton also need to work on culture, but our circumstances aren't the same as Essendon a year ago. We haven't had an exodus of players. Our core is still young and really just entering the window we expect to compete (as opposed to Essendon coming to the end of a run where you could have competed, and then really rebooting things a bit). I'd actualy say that 2021 was the first really disappointing year since our (planned) long rebuild began in 2015. Next year, it'll be the same players running out for the team, as close to the same roles as you'll see.

And while 'culture' is an issue for both teams, I'm not even sure it means the same thing in both cases.

At Carlton, it seems to me very much about transitioning to a 'do it now' mindset, about players stepping up more consistently and not being satisfied with mediocrity (breaking down the psychological barriers that come from being bottom 4 for half a decade). No more waiting for number 1 draft picks, for the next Judd or Barassi to turn it around single-handedly; but the players themselves committing to making the next step. Hence: a season in which we didn't win a single match as underdogs, or even with our backs against hte wall. when simply 2 wins from 15-odd games where that was the case and we play finals.

At Essendon, it seems to me almost about the opposite - as you say, underperformance (and particularly a tendency to lose matches against the bottom team), players stagnating and/or being a bit ahead of themselves, and ultimately a failure to deliver on realised talent. For Essendon, ther question is whether making finals in 2021 is something that gets built on further or whether its back to 11th spot stagnation again after a few injuries rock the boat a little.

To sum up: for Carlton it's about changing mindset and actually launching somethign rather than waiting for it to just fall into place. For Essendon it's about not dropping standards and for once continuing to build, rather than accepting a lucky/unexpected finals berth be something that effectively prevents real growth.
We can only work with what we know. Brian Cook is clear that addressing and reworking culture is central to his first period at the club, to me that supports what I see in Carlton from afar.

On Essendon. 2022 isn’t about necessarily solely playing finals and replicating its 2021 finals campaign with another finals campaign. Sure it wants and aims to win finals.. However, that linear progression is an arbitrary KPI that rarely comes to fruition and is driven by a media narrative that becomes the expectation. Once the narrative is formed, it become the KPI a club is judged on. Not just Essendon, all clubs. That’s the industry. Bad clubs get distracted by this, deviate off course and make poor decisions that see them fail. The Dons arguably achieved ahead of expectations and played finals in 2021. I can tell you, the internal view at Essendon is that 2022 is another development year. Another year of discovery. That may not be sexy or ‘the narrative’, but that’s the truth. It believes winning finals more than likely requires its playing list to have played between 60-80 games together. 2022 is about further developing its youth, building cohesion and improving game plan execution. It’s back 6 have played 22 games together! It still isn’t sure where Cox and Reid’s ultimate positions are. Jones and Draper are still raw, Perkins needs preseasons to build a tank, Durham is raw etc. Thatcore group, with the more experienced players needs more time together.

It goes without saying it’s success in cementing culture will be judged on winning finals. However, it’s going to take time to do this. That’s the reality. If it stays on course it will get there because it’s list is talented enough.
 

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