Matthew Cottrell celebrates a goal for Carlton against Brisbane in the 2023 preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos

THERE was a sigh of relief in Carlton's human resources team last week.

Matt Cottrell's new three-year contract wasn't just a fillip for the club's football department, as it locked away one of its most underrated players until 2027. It also put an end to the countless fake job applications until 2027 as well.

Last year, when the winger was sidelined through injury, he decided to create a LinkedIn account for himself. But what started as a harmless venture into the business world quickly became another way for the Blues wingman to scheme a few pranks.

Those pranks reached a head when the club's media team put out a job advert to find a new video producer recently. They were excited by the HR team's description of a potential standout candidate. Until, of course, they asked for the applicant's name.

"Yeah, it's Matt Cottrell," came the reply.

But now, with Cottrell once again fully fit and having established himself as a mainstay in Carlton's ever-improving side, there's relief that at least his next three years will be focused firmly on football. Not on fake job applications.

"It was me injured last year, pretty bored with a lot of spare time," Cottrell told

Matt Cottrell pressures Callum Ah Chee during Carlton's clash against Brisbane in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"So, I made a LinkedIn account and applied for a few jobs at the club. I didn't think anyone would see them, but they all got back to me. I think they loved it. I didn't get the jobs, though."

Much like he is on LinkedIn, Cottrell is a persistent footballer. Overlooked following his draft year, the boyhood Blues fan hadn't even heard of the newly introduced Supplemental Selection Period when his manager called him a couple of weeks later.

Carlton wanted a second look and offered him a train-on spot for the summer. The opportunity came as a surprise, given he had only spoken to two clubs all year, but it was one undoubtedly worthy of dropping his part-time job in carpentry for.

Cottrell, training alongside Michael Gibbons, impressed with his elite aerobic capacity across the ensuing months and was eventually handed a place on the club's list the following February, becoming one of the first players signed under SSP rules.

Matt Cottrell in action during Carlton's training session on May 29, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Just a few seasons later, Cottrell has now achieved a lifelong dream and followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Len – who played 12 games for the club in the 1950s – by pulling on the Blues jumper. He hopes to do it many more times over the next three years.

"It means the world to me," Cottrell said.

"Obviously, I'm a 'Bluebagger' at heart and pop's still around. To see the joy that I bring him watching at home, doing that makes me pretty proud. He doesn't leave the retirement village too much, but he certainly doesn't miss a game.

"He always has a lot of tips for me, but I'm not sure he's up to the modern game. He wants me to run straight through blokes. He's a bit old school, it's pretty funny."

Cottrell is one of Carlton's bigger personalities. Off the field, that comes through whenever he's alongside his housemate Tom De Koning. Lately, it's been Nic Newman and Jacob Weitering to have copped the biggest brunt of their practical jokes.

"Nic Newman breaks easily. He's just too old now and he loses his patience," Cottrell said.

"With Jacob Weitering, you don't want to be around when the prank hits. He gets violent."

Jacob Weitering and Nic Newman embrace after Carlton's win over Geelong in R2, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

On the field, that personality shows in Cottrell's goal celebrations. Particularly when he converts after clutch moments, like the matchwinner against Sydney back in 2020 or the goal against Brisbane this year to complete Carlton's 46-point comeback.

"I don't think I'll ever do that Sydney one again," Cottrell laughed.

"I watch a lot of highlights before games. I think I was watching Giannis Antetokounmpo highlights pre-game against Sydney and I've seen him dunk on someone and give an intense celebration.

"Mine have been a bit wild lately. I had lunch with a few of the reserves boys before the Richmond game and they wanted some seasoning if I kicked one, so I pointed to them after that.

"Against Brisbane … yeah, I don't know. It was a peace sign and I thought it would be funny to run away from Charles. He hated it, so it must have been good. But I'm not like Sam Walsh. He sits down at the start of the week, talks to his brothers and decides what to do."


Cottrell's position has become one of the most valued at Carlton. A high half-forward who pushes to a wing, his gut-running and ability to close defensive outlets is recognised as being among the most important roles internally at Ikon Park.

The 24-year-old acknowledges Richmond's triple-premiership star Kane Lambert as a pioneer of the position, but also watches clips of ex-Adelaide forward Tom Lynch to help aid his improvement.

"It's not a sexy role at all," Cottrell said.

"People don't come to the footy to watch a half-forward run his patterns. They come for Charlie Curnow, not a high half-forward whose job it is to connect with the winger. But it's a good role, it suits my game and the way I play.

Matt Cottrell in action during Carlton's preliminary final against Brisbane on September 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"I can get up and support the backs, then hopefully challenge my opponent going back to goal. But, to give credit to the club, they really value it. Internally, it's highly valued. It gives me a bit of motivation to keep doing it."

Cottrell's success in that role will ensure he stays in Carlton's team for the next three seasons, rather than in its media department. It means that any hopes of accepting a job as the club's next video producer can wait, at least for now.

"I don't think I'd be very good at it, either," Cottrell laughed. "I'll stick to footy."