There’s always a sense of the unknown upon the arrival of a new senior coach.
Some call it the ‘honeymoon period’, a man assumes the role as senior coach of an AFL club and good results can follow.
The players give more effort, the defence can get tighter and often players who were discarded by the previous coach find a new lease on life.
Chris Scott, who coached Geelong to a premiership in 2011 did so in his first season at the helm.
Brenton Sanderson who left Geelong at the end of 2011 to lead the Crow’s in 2012 also took his team high up the ladder, losing to Hawthorn in a close preliminary final.
Other men such as Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley and Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge both took their teams to finals contention in their first year at the helm aswell.
Of course this isn’t always the case. Consider Mark Neeld’s time at the Melbourne Demons from 2012 to 2013 and the incumbent Justin Leppitsch’s stint at the Brisbane Lions so far.
Carlton’s appointment of rookie coach Brendon Bolton fits into a similar category to that of Scott, Sanderson, Hinkley and Beveridge.
Excluding Chris Scott, who took over an ageing but still brilliant Geelong, Bolton has been able to lift Carlton off of their knees on the field much similar to how the other three did with their playing lists.
Considering many fancied the Blues to win possibly only one game for the whole season in 2016, sitting 6-5 at the conclusion of round 11 paints a marvellous picture and even brighter future for Bolton’s Blues ahead of this season.
Bolton, a former school teacher, has taught his side how to enjoy football again.
Developing his men into good players on the field whilst also helping them become good people off of it.
It’s the start to a season that not many people saw coming and almost nowone would have predicted that Carlton could possibly sit outside of the top eight by four points alone at the midway point of the year.
Many of Carlton’s brigade, younger and older, are playing fantastic football.
Led by Captain Marc Murphy, experienced players Kade Simpson, Bryce Gibbs, Ed Curnow and young Patrick Cripps are all averaging over 26 disposals a game whilst last year’s number one draft pick Jacob Weitering looks like a player in his fifth season rather than his first.
They also have arguably the best contested mark in the competition at full-forward in Levi Casboult.
Such is the improvement of a team who only won only four games in its previous season.
The Blues face St Kilda next week, another young side who will be hoping to rebound after a thumping at the hands of the Adelaide Crows on Sunday.
After the bye they then face the daunting task of playing Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium before tackling the Crows at the MCG the following week, which should prove to be an enticing contest.
If their form is to continue we could witness Carlton return to finals action roughly three to four years before many expected them to, capping one of the most remarkable turnarounds a football club has seen in years.
Bolton has maintained a level-head despite the excitement surrounding Carlton, and will continue to do so until any speculation of the sort becomes a reality.
The early signs are promising though, and it looks like the Blues have found their man in Brendon Bolton.