Loss to Saints piles more pressure on Blues coach Bolton
The pressure intensified on Carton coach Brendon Bolton on Sunday evening with the Blues falling to a 13-point loss to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.
Bolton, who has coached the Blues to just four wins in the past 42 outings, said ''we're under no illusions about where we are''.
Grumpy: Blues head coach Brendon Bolton makes his feelings clear after the loss to St Kilda.Credit:AAP
"I acknowledge there's pressure in this industry, but my job is to acknowledge it, not take the easy option, front up and do my job.
"I work on the parts of the game that need to be improved … my energy will go into that, will go into looking after each other, staff and players.
"We're in this together. We don't hide away.''
He conceded that the external speculation about his future did have the potential to be disruptive to some of the team's young players and could "creep in'' but said he expected "high-performing athletes to zone in on what they've got to do, you can't control the narrative on the outside, it only blurs you.''
Blues head coach Brendon Bolton (centre left) and Saints head coach Alan Richardson (centre right) link arms with players before the Sir Doug Nicholls Round match at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.Credit:AAP
Meanwhile St Kilda coach Alan Richardson, who was himself feeling the heat after the Saints had lost their past four matches, described the win as "important", and said he believed the club now had ''a bit of a platform'' to play in the finals.
"We've won more games than we did for the whole of last year, we're five and five …. I'm really, really bullish about how the group's going,'' Richardson said.
The Saints' young Indigenous star Jade Gresham was clearly best afield in the Sir Doug Nicholls Round match, with 29 possessions, 12 of them contested and nearly every one of them damaging.
"Fantastic opportunity for the Indigenous community and for us boys to come out and play,'' Gresham said. "It really puts a lots of smiles on the Indigenous community's faces."
Gresham was one of four Indigenous players to take the field for the Saints, a club record, and the footballers' families and former great Nicky Winmar were in the rooms to savour the win after the match.
Gresham said the Saints knew Carlton would be desperate to win the Round 10 match.
"We knew they would come out red hot,'' Gresham said of the Blues after the match. "They stuck with us for four quarters.
"The last four weeks we have been down. It is awesome to get the win.''
St Kilda will now head to China for next Sunday's match against Port Adelaide in Shanghai, with captain Jarryn Geary a chance to return from leg surgery.
Carlton has now lost its past four matches by a combined total of 183 points, and has managed just one win this season.
Co-captain Patrick Cripps, who helped instigate a forthright players-only feedback session at Ikon Park during the week, began the match brightly, helping set up two early goals. He finished the match with 28 disposals but was marginally shaded by his direct opponent, Jack Steele.
Bolton's next assignment, against an injury-depleted Essendon at the MCG next Sunday, will pit him against one of only two teams against whom he enjoys a winning record (3-2). The other is Carlton (1-0) from his five-game stint as Hawthorn caretaker coach in 2014.
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