He may a club vice-captain, but Andrew Carrazzo has been squeezed out of an in-form Carlton midfield and will not play for the Blues in Sunday's clash with Adelaide, according to assistant coach John Barker.
Speaking ahead of the senior team’s final training session before the twilight MCG encounter, Barker indicated that with Carlton having won three of its past four games, there was no simply no room for the 10-year veteran of Princes Park, and he would instead take his place in the Northern Blues team playing Essendon at Windy Hill in a Saturday afternoon VFL game. Tagger Jaryd Cachia has been held over as the standby emergency for Sunday, and as such such did not play for the Northern Blues.
“He [Carrazzo] hasn’t quite fitted it this week, and he’s coming back from having a fair stint on the injury list, so at this stage he’s an emergency and we’re going to go in as named,” Barker said. “Our midfield we felt has been going quite well over the past couple of weeks, so Carrazzo at this stage will play in the VFL and, hopefully, get a bit of match fitness up and we’ll go from there.”
Carrazzo had been hampered by injuries throughout the pre-season that have inhibited his football in 2014. The 2007 John Nicholls Medal winner has been limited to just three games so far this year, the last of which came in the round-five victory over the Western Bulldogs.
One man with plenty of senior experience at Carlton who will take to the MCG field on Sunday is Eddie Betts, having played 184 games for the club over nine years. But rather than for the home side, Betts will for the first time line up against the Blues in his new guise as a Crow.
While praising Betts for his immense ability as a goal sneak, Barker said the Blues would be casting a wide net when looking at opposition weapons.
“Obviously, Eddie’s a very good player and we know how he plays, but Adelaide’s got a number of good players and if we think that stopping one or two players is going to get us a win, then we’re sorely mistaken. We’re going to need a good, strong team effort if we’re going to get the bickies,” he said.
After a horrendous opening month to the season, a general feeling of buoyancy has formed around Carlton after its improved showings of recent weeks. Barker agreed that the side was on the rise.
“What we’re doing at this point in time is playing as good football as we can play. We feel like the last month, apart from the Collingwood game, has been a true reflection of where we’re at. Our first month of football probably wasn’t to the level we expected,” he said.
Barker was reluctant though to overplay the importance of the Blues’ form reversal, aware of the challenge posed by Adelaide, a side whose form has traversed a similar path to Carlton’s this year. “Wins give confidence, but at the end of the day, when you start again, you really start again.”