2023 after a tough ending to 2022, but with some hope in the form of specific recruiting to cover clear problem areas such as Blake Acres to the wing and 4 young draft picks - our most for many years - including Oliver Hollands. Voss in his second year as return Coach would have seem the issues from the back end of last year, exacerbated by injuries to key players, and set out to play finals football.
In the First Round a thrilling draw against the Tigers suggested we still had issues closing out games, yet a stunning win in Round 2 against the reigning Premiers got us all very excited indeed. At 14 points from 4 games before our first loss, the fans were thinking of finals. A massive away win over the struggling Eagles seemed to confirm this.
Then followed 6 losses in a row to break out mood and confidence. But it wasn't just the losses - they were 'close' enough at 4-5 goals - but the method. Slow, dribbly, eke out 20 metre football and a stifled forward line seemed to suggest a breakdown in game plan. Coach Voss remained positive but reflective on the issues, as we fell to the bottom 4.
A breakthrough 'fast play' win against the Suns began 9 wins a row - including a home win against an injury stricken Port, a brilliant MCG win against an uninjured Collingwood and then a super finals frenzied game against Melbourne - in our first such run since 2000 as the Blues settled in to 5th place and our first finals performance since 2013...
With a finals berth came not just relief but anticipation - our Blues had defeated some out of the best (outside of that slow run in the middle of the year) and with a good injury list, we could shape the year for everyone concerned - including ourselves! Indeed some of the injured Blues started to return; Pittonet, Kennedy come to mind, plus perennially injured stars such as Martin and Marchbank managed to put good games together at the back end of the year. We were up and firing! First game a pulsating win over the Swans in front of 92000, before a you-could-not-believe it win over the Dees in the Semi. 2 points!
A preliminary awaits, our first since 2000...
Coach: Michael Voss
Assistant / Development Coaches: Aaron Hamill (Backline Coach), Tim Clarke (Midfield Coach), Ashley Hansen (Forward Line and Offensive Coach), Luke Power (Head of Development and VFL Senior Coach), Matthew Kreuzer (Ruck Coach), Aaron Greaves (Coaching & Innovation Manager), Torin Baker (Development Manager), Brad Ebert (Development Coach) and Tom Lonergan (Development and Talent Manager).
Captain: Patrick Cripps
Vice Captains: Jacob Weitering and Sam Walsh
President: Luke Sayers
The Coleman: Charlie Curnow
Debuts: Lachlan Cowan, Oliver Hollands, Alex Cincotta
Debut (Carlton): Blake Acres
Rising Star Nominees: Oliver Hollands
150 Games (Carlton): Jacob Weitering, Sam Docherty
150 Games (AFL): George Hewett
100 Games: Jack Silvagni, Zac Fisher, Charlie Curnow
100 Games (AFL): Adam Cerra, Matthew Kennedy
50 Games: Matt Cottrell, David Cuningham
50 Goals: Matthew Owies
Click HERE for a list of the expected milestones in Season 2023...