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AFL: Carlton coach Brendon Bolton laments ‘sluggish’ Blues

Plenty to ponder: Carlton’s Brendon Bolton. Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL MediaCarlton coach Brendon Bolton believes three hard-fought performances in three weeks against some of the competition’s best teams caught up with Carlton on Sunday as they copped a 71-point hammering from St Kilda at the MCG.
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Bolton labelled his Blues “tired and sluggish” following a trifecta of gallant losses to finals-bound trio West Coast, Sydney and Hawthorn, by a combined total of just 32 points.

Carlton were blitzed for pace by the rampaging Saints, but Bolton was more concerned by their poor defence and skill errors.

“There’s lots of phases of our game that we need to improve on today,” Bolton said post-match.

“The Saints had 132 marks so defensively we weren’t at where we’ve been this year so that’s an area to improve on.

“It’s a credit to the Saints, they intercepted the ball really well across their back half and their ball use was pretty slick.

“With the ball, it’s been a common theme, we’ve turned balls over when we’re out and free … we just need to be more meticulous in making sure we nail the target when we get the opportunity.

“At times I thought we didn’t put enough pressure on the ball coming out in open play and then they’re really hard to defend for anyone.”

Bolton said there was more than one area “across our list” that would need fixing in the off-season.

“We knew we were in a reset (heading into 2016) and it will take time to get more depth in all positions,” he said.

The Blues coach also paid tribute to Andrew Walker who played his 202nd and final game on Sunday after announcing his retirement during the week.

“He’s been a great servant of our footy club,” Bolton said.

“He’s been the first Indigenous player to play 200 games and I’m hoping he can be a trailblazer for our club in time.”

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