CARLTON AFL Senior Coach Michael Voss spoke to media from IKON Park on Friday ahead of the team’s trip to South Australia.
With the Blues set to take on the Crows tomorrow night from a venue the team has yet to taste success at, this is what Voss had to say.
On last night’s team selection:
“The squeeze is on now when it comes to team selection. We’ve spoken about the personnel that have been missing, and we’ve got some personnel that are now returning: it puts us in a somewhat healthy position.
“Now it’s up to us to work out the dynamics of the group and the roles we want them to play. In some ways, it gives us an opportunity as coaches to look at something a little bit different.”
On Jack Silvagni’s omission:
“‘SOS’ has been really good for us in terms of the role he has played. It’s pretty clear that we’ve decided to play the two rucks, and that means one of them [De Koning or Pittonet] is going to have to spend more time forward.
“Nothing has really been taken off the table. One of the advantages – if you want to call it that – is we’ve been able to explore what we look like structurally. We’ve had to go to work really hard with some key personnel missing.
“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves so we feel like we’ve got a couple of things where if we need to go with it, we’ll go with it.
“This is a good problem to have. You take a squad mentality into the season.”
On Silvagni’s reaction:
“There was obvious disappointment. Whenever you talk to a player saying they’re not in the team, there’s obvious disappointment.
“But he appreciates that we’re in a healthy position and hopefully in our experience, it pushes people to be better again. That’s what we want to be about as a group.”
On the position of the team:
“There’s an obvious challenge there that wherever we end up is on our boot. We’ve got some big challenges coming, but we don’t take our eyes off what’s straight in front of us.
“We’ve got a side that’s going to Adelaide Oval where we don’t have a great record in recent times.
“[The Crows] are providing a lot of pressure on the opposition and we expect it to be a tight, hard-fought battle. The mistake would be taking our eyes off what’s straight in front of us.”
On Marc Pittonet’s return:
“We’ve been able to gradually build his load over the last few weeks. We feel like he’s in a really great spot.
“He adds a lot to us in terms of his toughness, aggressiveness, his first use to the footy. It’s been a real plus to be able to have him [available].
“We’ve got to give him the time to get familiar again. He’s been out for a very long time, so I’m sure there’s going to be a combination we’re going to keep working with in terms of his connection with his ground-level players.
“It’s timely, because it gives us a chance to build that connection over the next little while.”
On George Hewett’s outlook:
“He hasn’t got himself going yet, so we’re probably still a wait on that one.
“We’ve got to go through a few things next week to see what the next stage looks like.”
On making mention of Carlton’s record at Adelaide Oval:
“Well, I haven’t. What we have focused a lot on is what we want to create.
“We’ve been really invested in the conversation around the identity we’re after. Part of that identity is about being the same no matter where you play.
“It’s a mentality we’ve taken in Melbourne with us in the games we’ve played here, but also the games we play on the road. That’s the bigger agenda for us, instead of the venue we’re playing at.”
On this group being more equipped to embrace the challenge of the run home:
“It’s really difficult for me to speculate on other years: I’ve only got this year to work with.
“What I have seen this year is there have been significant points where we’ve seen enormous growth in our group. The more weeks that go by, the more reliable we have become as a football team.
“But we also know there’s another level we can go to. If we’re able to find that, we can challenge any opposition… we’ve still got a fair bit of work to do as a footy team.
“If we deserve to be there, we’ll be there. If we don’t, we won’t. I don’t want to make it as black and white as that, but they’re the realities we face.”