Carlton Blues make a play for former Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch


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Carlton’s pursuit of Leppitsch comes as senior club figures have raised concerns around the team’s coaching panel heading into 2022.

The same concerns were voiced at the end of last season, but the club opted to remain with the same assistants for another season at the request of Teague.

Dale Amos (defence), Cameron Bruce (forwards) and Brent Stanton (midfield) are Carlton’s line coaches. John Barker – who was interim coach when Carlton sacked Mick Malthouse in 2015 – is a long-time assistant at the Blues and is currently stoppages coach.

Former Brisbane champion Luke Power is said to be impressing as development boss.

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It’s not the first time in recent seasons that Carlton have sought a senior coaching figure to support Teague.

At the end of 2018, the club had all but secured the services of then Collingwood assistant Justin Longmuir, a long-time friend of Teague’s.

But that plan was railroaded when Longmuir was appointed as Ross Lyon’s successor at Fremantle.

Collingwood, meanwhile, are also on the lookout for a new crop of assistant coaches and Leppitsch has been at the top of Graham Wright’s wish-list.

Both the club and coach Nathan Buckley are yet to publicly commit to the 2022 season, but club sources have told The Age a contract extension is likely to be offered.

The club has already endured major upheaval this year. Wright has taken over from Geoff Walsh as football boss, Ned Guy has resigned as list manager and new president Mark Korda may soon have to deal with an early challenge from former Nine boss Jeff Browne.

Meanwhile, Blues midfielder David Cuningham has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Carlton in a statement on Monday night said scans confirmed the injury that the 24-year-old suffered in the opening minutes of Sunday’s match against Melbourne.

Cuningham will now undergo surgery.

David Cuningham was injured when he landed during a marking contest. Credit:Getty Images

“David worked extremely hard to earn his place back in the 22 this season and was really
putting together some solid football in recent weeks,” Carlton head of football Brad Lloyd.

“This news is always tough to hear but we know what David brings to this football club and we will support him fully throughout his recovery.

“We have no doubt he will now translate that work ethic into his rehab and ensure he is
back out in the navy blue next season.”

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NSW Waratahs lean on Wellington Hurricanes for tips to beat Auckland Blues


Gilmore – who is in charge of the team’s defence – wants to see accountability from his side at training this week. “We put ourselves in the frame but we missed a golden opportunity there on Friday night,” he said.

“If we make three tackles out on the edge, we stop three tries and win the game of football. We have to be mentally tougher throughout the footy team to give ourselves our best opportunity.

Hoskins Sotutu rumbles forward for the Blues against the Rebels.

Hoskins Sotutu rumbles forward for the Blues against the Rebels.Credit:Getty

“We were probably getting too narrow in defence and giving space on the edge and then it just comes down to individual accountability.

“When you have your body in front, you miss and they go straight through, there is nowhere to hide and no one else to blame.”

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While the Waratahs, Reds and Rebels were all well beaten, the Brumbies and Force offered glimmers of hope for Australian rugby fans.

Gilmore pointed to the next fortnight as the litmus test for the five franchises.

“You need to watch the next couple of rounds to see where it lands,” he said.

“The Reds didn’t start their best team. The Force and the Brumbies competed hard, which was good to see, but against the Kiwi teams you just have to be as direct as you can.

“The Aussie teams that did that on the weekend looked their best. As soon as you try to get too intricate against them, that’s when you get into trouble.”

The Tahs were hoping to hand star recruit Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco a debut against the Blues but he is yet to recover from an ankle complaint picked up at the conclusion of the Japanese Top League season.

Jack Dempsey is considered a chance to return from a foot injury.

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West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows; Melbourne Demons v Carlton Blues; Essendon Bombers v Fremantle Dockers; round nine fixtures, results, tipping, tickets, draw, odds, tickets


Melbourne extended their undefeated start to nine games with a solid win over a wounded Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.

Every other season that the Demons have gone 9-0 has seen them win the premiership although all those seasons came between 1941 and 1964 so it means little in the modern AFL.

Alex Neal-Bullen, James Harmes and Kysaiah Pickett celebrate a goal.Credit:Getty Images

But what this win showed what they can fight out a game in tough conditions and against a side like the Blues who were wounded, clearly second best but still fighting for every possession.

Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch kicked three goals a piece while Clayton Oliver and Christian Salem had 29 disposals each.

The Blues lost David Cuningham to a knee injury which could be serious while who knows whether Harry McKay’s injured shoulder will end up seeing him miss matches or whether he will just play on through the pain.

He kicked three goals while clearly hurting.

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Rebels vs Blues Tips, Odds and Betting – Super Rugby Trans-Tasman 2021


AAMI Park will play host to Saturday”s
Round 1 Super Rugby game between Rebels and
Blues. The game kicks off at 7:45 pm with Blues heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Rebels vs.
Blues
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Saturday May 15, 2021 at 7:45 pm

Where: AAMI Park

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Rebels vs Blues Odds

Rebels vs Blues Preview

While the Rebels have not been overly convincing over the last few months, the line in this game looks far too high considering the Blues struggles as well.

With new boss Kevin Foote at the helm, he will ideally be in a position to fire a rocket shot at his side and get them motivated for this tournament.

As for the Blues they stumbled badly on their run home, blowing a prime opportunity to qualify for and host the Aotearoa Grand Final.

I’m not expecting a whole lot of points in this one which should allow the Rebels to at least stay in the vicinity of the visitors here.

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Rebels vs Blues Tip

We’re tipping Blues to win at $1.15 odds.





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Sam Weideman to return for Melbourne Demons against Carlton Blues, says coach Simon Goodwin, but Nathan Jones was hurt at training.


However, it wasn’t a good day for Jones, the former skipper straining a hamstring at a closed training session. He was sent for scans, which revealed the strain as minor, and the Demons say he could return as early as next weekend.

Jones played his 300th match against Richmond in round six, and was the medical substitute a week later, but was dropped ahead of last week’s clash against Sydney.

Weideman’s return means the Demons continue to have several options, including McDonald and Ben Brown, to help skipper Max Gawn in the ruck. Gawn has spent more time drifting into defence in recent weeks, ensuring plenty of room for Bayley Fritsch (18 goals), Kysaiah Pickett (14), McDonald (13), Christian Petracca (9) and Brown (5) to work up forward.

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While the Demons chase a ninth straight win, the Blues are struggling with a 3-5 win-loss record and now must contend with an elite defence. Where the Blues continue to struggle to stop opposition run-ons, having conceded three goals in a row 15 times this season, the Demons’ selfless approach to team defence and working hard without the football has been a feature of their remarkable surge.

Goodwin said this mantra had been a work in progress over three years and the players were now “cohesive” and being rewarded for their efforts.

“You see the best teams over the years defend without the ball to a really high level,” he said.

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Melbourne Demons vs Carlton Blues Tips, Odds and Teams – AFL 2021


MCG will play host to Sunday”s
Round 9 AFL game between Melbourne Demons and
Carlton Blues. The game kicks off at 3:20 pm with Melbourne Demons heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Melbourne Demons vs.
Carlton Blues
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Sunday May 16, 2021 at 3:20 pm

Where: MCG

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match HERE

Melbourne Demons vs Carlton Blues Odds

Melbourne Demons vs Carlton Blues Preview

Surely I’m not the only one who finds it hard to believe that Melbourne remain undefeated after 8 rounds of footy.

They’re going to lose one soon but should have the measure of Carlton here. The Blues dominated the Bulldogs for 3 quarters last week but couldn’t get the job done. I don’t think they can get it done here either.

Melbourne to win here, what a season they’re having.

First Goal Scorer

First Goal Scorer:

Ben Brown at $9.00.



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Carlton Blues’ Patrick Cripps has been playing with fractured back


Sources said the fracture had continued to improve and had healed in recent weeks, with Cripps confident he was close to returning to his best form.

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He has had statistically his leanest season since his first couple of years in the system, according to Champion Data, which observes he is trailing off in impact in the second half of games in particular.

Cripps’ numbers in the second half of games have dropped this year. In his most prolific season in 2016 he averaged 16 touches in the second half of each game. This year it is down to 11.6.

His clearance numbers in second halves are down to 2.5, which is the least since his debut season. And he is not laying the tackles in the second half of games the way he had previously – just 1.9, which is the fewest in any year of his career.

Earlier this season, Neale would not confirm the specifics of his injury, but nor did he suggest that it wasn’t significant.

“To be honest, I’m battling a fair bit. But once I put my hand up to play, I’m the same as everyone. I’ve got to go out there and perform. I thought the first half I was OK. I was labouring a little bit late and I am pretty sore,” Neale told The Age.

“I’ve got a bit going on but I’m sure there’s other guys in the competition that are a bit sore as well. It’s something that I’ll deal with and hopefully it doesn’t keep me out of any games.”

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Carlton Blues capitulate as Western Bulldogs kick eight straight in stunning comeback win


At 27 points down deep into the third quarter, the Western Bulldogs would have been forgiven for thinking that this was just another one of those days against a Carlton side that has had the Dogs’ measure in recent times.

But these Dogs are made of sterner stuff, and proved it with a rousing and stunning comeback to win 16.11 (107) to 13.13 (91), which put Carlton in their place and ensured a week of soul-searching about another dramatic in-game fadeout.

Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli celebrates a goal during his side’s clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium.Credit:Getty Images

The Bulldogs played an awe-inspiring half an hour of football, booting eight consecutive goals. Just as he had in a similarly epic match against West Coast in round two, Marcus Bontempelli hauled his men on his shoulders, dominating in the midfield and up forward where he, Josh Bruce and Aaron Naughton ran riot. Caleb Daniel also lifted heroically in the last quarter, however this was a team-wide effort from the Dogs.

They should probably have been further ahead at quarter-time, having won the territorial battle and regularly found loose men forward of the ball.

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But after Bruce put his side two goals ahead 70 seconds into the second term, the Blues surged. Part of the narrative heading into the game had been about how the Dogs’ defence would be vulnerable against Harry McKay, but it was the Blues’ small forwards who did the damage, with Eddie Betts continuing his resurgence, complemented by Matt Owies and David Cuningham.

Carlton headed to half-time with a two-goal lead before McKay took charge. Alex Keath had fought gamely to that point but McKay’s aerial presence was too much to handle. When he lined up for his fifth goal at the 24-minute mark of the third term, he had a chance to put his side more than five goals ahead. But he missed, and Luke Beveridge’s men saw the doggy door was still open.

Symbolism of just how dramatically the match had swung came late in the final term when Keath leapt on to McKay’s back to take a screamer on the wing.

Josh Bruce attempts a kick under pressure from Carlton star Jacob Weitering.

Josh Bruce attempts a kick under pressure from Carlton star Jacob Weitering.Credit:Getty Images

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Brisbane Lions v Fremantle Dockers; Carlton Blues v Western Bulldogs; Hawthorn Hawks v West Coast Eagles; round eight; results, new, fixtures, odds, tipping, teams, draw;


For almost three quarters, Carlton Blues showed us the style and substance of a serious AFL finals side but then the Western Bulldogs showed they are already that team with a resounding comeback performance.

The Bulldogs trailed by as much as 27 points in the third term as Blues forward Harry McKay took their defence apart but in the final stages of the third term they cut the lead back a couple of goals then swept over the Blues in the last term to claim a 16-point win.

Marcus Bontempelli.Credit:Getty Images

The Sons of the West have gears that this Blues side simply doesn’t possess and that is why they are second on the ladder and why the Blues are well behind them.

Marcus Bontempelli, Jackson Macrae, Caleb Daniel and the rest of the midfield stood up for the Dogs when the game was on the line, Josh Bruce was again stunning with five goals and some crucial marks.

Eddie Betts turned back the clock for Carlton with four of his five goals in the first half while McKay showed he is as good as any forward in this league with five goals and some awesome marks.

The Dogs are the team of today, if the Blues can follow their lead they could be the team of the future.

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Coach David Teague’s plan for the Blues to kick goal


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“Everyone talks defence now and team defence and that sort of stuff but it is quite boring, really,” he said.

“I go back to the start of the game and the premise of the game … it’s 50-50 to start with. Any time there is a major scored, it’s a 50-50 result from there. So, are you going to let the other team lead you to the ball because we are going to defend better? Or are we going to try and get the ball and make the other mob defend, that is, we attack?

“I think it is as simple a mindset as that. I would spend 60-40, 75-25 per cent of time at training on what we do when we get the ball. If we do it better, they don’t get it.

“I can sit there all day and talk about filling a hole in team defence … but that doesn’t get the job done, either. Because what they are going to do now, with that man on the mark, you can slice and dice ’em.”

The upgraded man-on-the-mark ruling has opened up the attacking 45-degree kick, meaning life has become harder for defenders used to having a teammate drift over and help.

Teague’s suggestion that Sunday’s clash could be a “shootout” may buoy supporters, desperate for a recipe for the side to return for the finals for the first time since 2013. But, if it goes horribly wrong, the backlash will be stinging.

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What it has done is remind us of the days of Blight’s Cats of 1989-94, who were a brilliant offensive juggernaut but lost three grand finals, two to Mick Malthouse’s defensive-minded West Coast Eagles. Blues’ supporters also won’t forget Malthouse, for his defensive, boundary-laden style worked a treat with the Eagles but failed to lift the Blues when he replaced the attacking Brett Ratten, whose teams were powered by the “mosquito squad” of Eddie Betts, Chris Yarran and Jeff Garlett but never reached a preliminary final.

Terry Wallace’s high-scoring Western Bulldogs of the late 1990s couldn’t get the job done either, while Matthew Knights’ Essendon of 2008-10, in which the coach insisted would play with “flair and creativity”, had little success because they conceded more than 100 points a whopping 42 times, including 166 to Adelaide in the 2009 elimination final.

Teague was seen as the offensive mastermind behind the Crows’ surge into the 2017 grand final and was employed in that same role when he joined the Blues under Brendon Bolton, who was determined to build from defence to the point the Blues almost forgot how to score, failing to reach three figures from round 11, 2016 until round 5, 2019. This contributed to his demise later that year.

This year, the Blues are averaging 88.6 points – the sixth-best return. In emerging star Harry McKay, off contract this year, they have an athletic power forward whom Teague can increasingly rely on to score. But the fact McKay has 26 goals, and the next highest goal-kicker is Michael Gibbons (six) reinforces that recruiting and/or drafting remains paramount. The injured Charlie Curnow and Jack Martin are missed but they also need to find a class replacement for small forward Betts, almost certainly in his final year.

Teague does admit the 91.4 points his side has conceded on average is too high when compared to the stingy defences of Melbourne (62) and the Bulldogs (62.4) but, for the time being at least, it appears that scoring is of greater importance.

Blight says rather than focus on Teague’s philosophy, it’s more about personnel for the Blues, for he believes they are four high-class players away from being a true contender regardless of what “brand” of play they adopt.

“If David Teague and Carlton go that [attacking] way, I reckon they will enjoy their footy. And you know what, when they get an extra one or two in their midfield and when they get one key defender and one forward, when they get Curnow back, they just might start winning more games and having some fun and kicking some goals,” he said.

Seeking the right balance in 2021


Average points for, average points against
Western Bulldogs 98.0, 62.4
Sydney Swans 95.0, 84.7
Melbourne 92.4, 62.0
Essendon 91.4, 96.0
West Coast 91.4, 88.0
Carlton 88.6, 91.4
Port Adelaide 88.4, 73.6
Adelaide 86.4, 93.9
Geelong 86.0, 72.6
Brisbane Lions 85.6, 75.0
Richmond 84.4, 72.9
Fremantle 80.1, 82.6
St Kilda 77.7, 97.1
Gold Coast 76.4, 74.3
GWS 76.3, 78.1
Collingwood 72.4, 86.9
Hawthorn 71.6, 95.0
North Melbourne 54.1, 110.0
Source: Champion Data. Rounds 1-7

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