Barker has our vote, say Blues’ top two
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.