Barker has our vote, say Blues’ top two

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - WAR­WICK GREEN

TWO of Carl­ton’s most se­nior play­ers have thrown their sup­port be­hind in­terim coach John Barker as the man to lead the Blues be­yond this sea­son.

Cap­tain Marc Mur­phy, who plays his 200th game when the Blues meet Hawthorn tonight, and vice- cap­tain Bryce Gibbs said play­ers were re­spond­ing to Barker’s ap­proach.

“I’d love to see Johnny get the job. Ob­vi­ously the club’s got to go through the process of try­ing to find the best man for the job,’’ Mur­phy said.

“( But) what he’s done over the last six or seven weeks has been re­ally good . . . and he’s ob­vi­ously putting a great case for­ward to the se­lec­tors.’’

Mur­phy said the club had sought his opin­ion about how the in­terim coach was go­ing.

He didn’t know how much weight his opin­ion car­ried, but “per­son­ally Johnny’s been great for me and I’ll sup­port him as long as he’s here and whether that’s be­yond this year will play out over the next few months’’.

Mur­phy’s endorsement fol­lowed that of Gibbs, who is out for the sea­son with in­jury.

“He’s driv­ing those stan­dards back to what’s nec­es­sary to play AFL footy and we’ve got those foun­da­tions there now,’’ Gibbs said on Triple M ra­dio. “We’ve got to keep grow­ing and win­ning games off the back of that.”

Both Mur­phy and Gibbs felt Barker had made a great call by back­ing younger play­ers since he took the reins on May 26.

Mur­phy said the in­jec­tion of youth had rein­vig­o­rated his ap­proach to football in his 10th sea­son. “I still en­joy it. It’s ob­vi­ously got its chal­lenges, and dur­ing those chal­lenges you don’t en­joy it as much as you should,” Mur­phy said.

“But I’ve re­ally en­joyed es­pe­cially my last month or two with a young group of guys we’ve got at the mo­ment, and lead­ing those guys out and see­ing some of the de­vel­op­ment of those guys has been re­ally im­por­tant. It gives me a lot of joy as cap­tain as well, so I still en­joy my footy.”

Gibbs said the younger play­ers were rel­ish­ing the chance to show their skills.

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