Coaching blues may end up costing Mick Malthouse

BOTH Alastair Clarkson and Mick Malthouse have three premierships to their names.

But they must be poles apart right now when it comes to job security.

Actually, poles isn't the right word 'cause through that cold, hard exterior, Malthouse must be feeling a fair degree of heat.

He has been the game's great survivor, having been a senior coach since finely trimmed moustaches were last in fashion in the early-80s.

Malthouse will break Jock McHale's 66-year-old record for most games coached in VFL-AFL history (714) when Carlton plays one of his old sides, Collingwood, in round five.

But, the Blues' performance in the season opener only enhanced the belief that his 31st season of senior coaching may be his last.

His contract ends in October, and unless the Blues can pick up the pace, Malthouse will be left behind.

Does a 62-year-old legend of the game deserve to be under such scrutiny so late in his decorated career?

Yes. The competitor in him wasn't prepared to go gently into that good night - or that cushy director of coaching position at Collingwood as Eddie McGuire wanted.

He returned to the frontline at Carlton, and so therefore into the firing line.

Malthouse was seen as the man to make the Blues great again, but all he has done, so far, is make them a great disappointment.

They benefited from Essendon's dumping from the final eight in his first season, and then from Richmond's stage fright in an elimination final. But they drifted back to 13th last year, and may struggle to finish that high this campaign.

Malthouse has seen 21 players out of Princess Park, including the club's past three leading goalkickers - Eddie Betts (2012), Jeff Garlett (2013) and Jarrad Waite (2014) - who were happy to go or sent packing.

How it must've irked Carlton fans to see Betts (four goals) and Garlett (three) provide such spark for Adelaide and Melbourne, respectively, in the opening round.

Their departures may not have been so bad if Malthouse had a plan to adequately replace them.

But, the attack has been a merry-go-round.

Levi Casboult and Matthew Watson can pluck a mark but there's no faith in them, both left out of the first-round line-up; and they're still trying to work out which end of the ground Lachie Henderson is better suited to.

Liam Jones has been brought in, but while he has talent he struggled get a regular gig in a team that was crying out for a marking target, the Bulldogs.

The club that was able to attract Chris Judd from West Coast in 2007 has failed to catch another big fish ever since, aside from the damaged goods that is Dale Thomas (yet still worth $700,000 a year).

And it's left Blues fans gutted.

Malthouse may end up regretting he didn't just go out a winner at Collingwood.


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