‘I better get a few cliches in’: Bolton responds to criticism

"I am too busy to worry about it to be honest," he said. "The one thing is, we make no apologies as a footy club to be really well planned. My job is to be well planned, all other coaches are the same. Got to be well planned for setting up the players for how they need to go about it, the coaches as well, that's what high performance is."

Not concerned: Blues coach Brendon Bolton.

Photo: AAP

Despite the media criticism and the presence of figures within the club who would like Bolton to speak more freely, it appears from the press conference on Friday he will not change his approach.

The theme of his message was "opportunity", something his young Carlton side will have at the MCG on Saturday against West Coast given the absence of Matthew Kreuzer (groin), Matthew Kennedy (ankle), Jacob Weitering (thigh) and the continued injury woes of Marc Murphy (plantar fascia).

On Saturday McKay will play his third game since being drafted at pick no.10 in the 2015 draft, and his first game since round 19, 2017. He debuted the week before.

"Harry [McKay] is knocking on my door every day just about," Bolton said. "He has worked incredibly hard. But the story doesn't change. He didn't have a lot of continuity.


"He has now had a few games in the VFL uninterrupted. He kicked a couple of goals on the weekend, took some strong contested marks so we get the opportunity. It's no more complex than that and we were really looking forward to seeing what he brings.

"He has got an appetite in the air. He is a strong contested mark player, he has got agility for a big guy but bare in mind he is playing the most difficult position which is at full forward/centre half forward and he is so new because he just hasn't had a lot of continuity due to injury."

Bolton also said the side would be buoyed by the return of Sam Rowe from a 2017 ACL injury and by promising young ruckman Andrew Phillips, who would be shooting for a "nil all" draw in the ruck against the Eagles' Nic Naitanui.

Rowe could be greeted back to AFL football with an afternoon against two-time Coleman Medal winner Josh Kennedy.

"Rowe brings some bubble," Bolton said. "When a guy comes off 12-month injury with knee he is really eager but also the playing group want him to do well and welcome him back. He is a big older mature body."

The coach said he hoped to give both Phillips and McKay an extended run in the side, but that depended on their form and their opposition.

He also said the club had never wavered from it's focus on defence, despite being scored incredibly heavy against in 2018. Carlton were tough to score against in 2017 but had flagged a more attacking attitude in 2018.

"We have never gone away from it [defence]," Bolton said. "We have started and trained some layers of offence there is no doubt about that.

"The one thing all quality teams and organisations have is ongoing stability. Unfortunately just due to circumstance we reset the club with 42 list changes … the continuity to train a defensive system just hasn't been there."

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Anthony Colangelo

Anthony Colangelo is a sports and breaking news reporter at The Age

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