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Malthouse talks on the backburner: Blues boss

Demon devastation, Dons begin top-up Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards with all the latest footy news.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse prepares for the game during the 2014 AFL round 04 match between the Carlton Blues and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on April 12, 2014. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Talks on any new deal for Carlton coach Mick Malthouse won't begin until the second half of the season

CARLTON president Mark LoGiudice says speculation around Mick Malthouse's coaching future will not be a distraction for the Blues this year, with negotiations set firmly for the back half of the season.

Speaking as midfielder Bryce Gibbs and defender Michael Jamison were named joint vice-captains on Monday, LoGiudice was firm in his stance that contract talks would not be brought forward for Malthouse, who is entering the final season of his three-year deal. 

After a deflating seven-win season that saw the Blues finish 13th, the president said all at the Blues' renamed training base, Ikon Park, were confident the team was on track for significant improvement under Malthouse in 2015.

Asked if there was a timeline for discussions on Malthouse's coaching future to start, he said: "I've made it very clear and it's not going to change. Our conversations with Mick will be at the back half of the year".

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"We're very happy with the way Mick's coaching, we're very happy with the way our football team's going at the moment, and I don't see that changing at all," LoGiudice said. 

"We're all comfortable with where we sit and it shouldn't be a distraction at all. 

"Mick Malthouse will coach Carlton Football Club this year." 

LoGiudice unveiled the Blues' new naming rights sponsor for Princes Park on Monday, with commercial cleaning business Ikon Services Australia taking over from Visy, which is "tapering back on its sponsorship".

The president wouldn't expand on the terms of the deal, only saying it was for a "significant period of time".

Captain Marc Murphy was also on hand to reveal his new deputies, selected from the Blues' five-man leadership group, and the midfielder said he was looking forward to seeing how his team responds to last year's disappointment, starting against West Coast in the Blues' first NAB Challenge match, in Mandurah.  

Bryce Gibbs (left) and Michael Jamison (second left) are Carlton's vice-captains in 2015. Picture: AFL Media

"We've had a lot of numbers out on the track and the game plan's coming along well, so we feel like we're in a great position at the moment," Murphy said. 

"The boys have had enough of going against each other in intra-club games now, we're looking forward to taking on some opposition. 

"At the moment I'll be playing next week, so looking forward to taking the boys over there. There'll be 25 or 26 of us that go over."

Gibbs and Jamison, who both said it was an honour to be named as vice-captains, were told of their new titles as they left the training track on Monday morning.

After leading the Blues in disposals (24.8 a game), contested possessions (10.7), clearances (5.6) and inside 50s (4.1) last year, Gibbs was hopeful he could continue to grow as a player in 2015. 

"I've had another good pre-season and I haven't missed too many sessions," the midfielder said said. 

"I'm looking forward to growing my leadership, that's probably one area I really want to keep growing.

"Early in my career I didn't think I was a very consistent player, and I've learnt a lot over the last couple of years from Marc and 'Juddy' (Chris Judd) and 'Simmo' (Kade Simpson). 

"I've got my game to a level where it's acceptable to be a leader."