WHILE WE wait for play to resume, and with the little bit of knowledge we've gleaned from round one, we're taking this opportunity to put the microscope on every club.
THE PRESSURE GAUGE Which coach is under the most heat?
This is Carlton's Shutdown Report Card. >> LISTEN IN THE PLAYER BELOW
The biggest lesson from round one was …
Slow starts can be costly. Richmond has now kicked the opening five goals of the match in successive season-openers, before Carlton has rallied late. Last season, the Blues closed the gap from 40 points to 12 before falling just short. This season, it reduced the deficit from 50 points to 15 but, again, couldn't complete the comeback. Both times, lethargic starts have proved decisive.
What's their weapon in 2020?
Carlton's two highest-ranked players from the season-opener were Sam Docherty and Sam Petrevski-Seton. Indeed, their composed ball-use from the back half will be a valuable tool in the swift, sweeping ball movement that brought David Teague success last year. Jacob Weitering, Liam Jones and Lachie Plowman are important lockdown players, but it's Docherty, Petrevski-Seton and Nic Newman who get the ball moving. Lochie O'Brien, Tom Williamson and Caleb Marchbank add quality in depth.
What could be their downfall?
The Blues need another physical edge in their midfield. They laid only 23 tackles against the Tigers, with Patrick Cripps overwhelmed in the centre of the ground throughout the early stages of the game. Nine players didn't lay a single tackle, while Cripps was again relied upon to do the bulk of the contested and clearance work. Another hardened body needs to stand up.
Who missed out on round one and what does it mean for them?
It shapes as an interesting year for the uncontracted Matthew Kennedy. The former first-round draft pick couldn't crack a youthful Carlton midfield early last season and was redeployed as a medium forward who kicked 11 goals from eight games to end the year. However, he missed out on selection to Jack Silvagni in round one. With injured key-position options Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow to return later in the year, the break could hurt his chances of reclaiming his place in the side.
Which players could benefit from the break between games?
Of the handful of players with significant issues on Carlton's injury list, the break will undoubtedly benefit Harry McKay the most. After a summer spent unsuccessfully racing the clock to be fit for round one following an ongoing groin injury, McKay was still expected to miss the large majority of the first month of the season. Now, the Blues will have no need to rush his return. Expect him to be fit and firing upon the resumption of action.
Who looked set for a breakout season?
There had been a lot spoken about Jack Martin this summer – and he duly delivered in the season-opener. His four-goal third term was everything the Blues had been touting him as. He was electric on ground level, competitive in the air, physical out of possession and classy around goal to single-handedly drag the Blues back into the contest. He'd be hoping footy returns as soon as possible to ensure that momentum remains on his side.
The market place …
There are a number of intriguing players still uncontracted at the Blues. Expect defensive duo Lachie Plowman and Caleb Marchbank to earn new deals, while Levi Casboult, Nic Newman and Michael Gibbons are seen as senior regulars. Veterans like Marc Murphy, Ed Curnow, Matthew Kreuzer and Kade Simpson will likely decide their own futures, but the situations of Matthew Kennedy and Tom Williamson are less clear. Having missed out on Tom Papley during last year's Telstra AFL Trade Period, a small forward remains on the radar.