IT has been a forgettable couple of months for the Carlton Football Club since they crushed Collingwood in Round 3, 122-62.
Back then the Blues had looked like a scoring machine with a midfield that matched the best in the competition and speedy playmakers across the forward line.
It seems almost ridiculous to say it but is it possible that in a marathon 22-week season did the Blues peak in the third week?
Ok that probably was ridiculous, but the fact remains that at the elite level of any competition winning is almost invariably connected with a team’s ability to keep its best players on the field and in the AFL this season it would be hard to argue that any club has been hit harder by injuries than Carlton.
And of all the injuries that Carlton has had to endure (Jarrad Waite, Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo, Jeremy Laidler, Andrew Walker, Robbie Warnock, Nick Duigan, Chris Yarran, Michael Jamison and Jeremey Laidler yet again) perhaps the most influential one is the until recently unspoken injury/injuries to Chris Judd.
Late last week the AFL website reported that Brett Ratten had admitted that Judd was carrying an injury but while he would not divulge details afl.com.au suggested that it was a neck and shoulder issue. Other media sources, however, refuted the injury claim. Either way, and after yet another loss in Round 12 (this time to the Eagles) the Blues’ bye week could not have come at a better time.
Carlton will face Hawthorn at the MCG this Friday night and by the time that game comes around they will have had 15 days off. The lengthy recovery period may not solve all their problems but at this point in the season, and with a resurgent Hawks outfit on the horizon, it’s as good as it could be for the Blues.
With extended time to recover the question now is whether Judd can return to form at a time when the club’s season may hang in the balance.
Carlton will play Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday 29 June at 7:50pm AEST.
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