AFL 2022: Blues mid-season backline cover Sam Durdin to miss month with knee injury

The Blues are having horrible luck in keeping their defenders on the park, but who’s next now their mid-season recruit Sam Durdin has gone down too?

Sam Durdin was Carlton’s ‘break glass in emergency’ recruit.

The former North Melbourne defender was plucked from SANFL side Glenelg in the AFL mid-season draft earlier this month as a short-term back up option to fill a growing hole in the Blues’ backline.

Now, he too has been struck by the Carlton Curse.

Playing his first senior game for the club, the 198cm Durdin finished on the bench against the Tigers at the MCG on Thursday night with a knee injury that initial assessments determined was of some concern.

It was confirmed on Friday he will miss a month of football.

The Blues haven’t had much luck to date.

Fellow defenders Jacob Weitering (shoulder), Mitch McGovern (hamstring), Caleb Marchbank (knee) and Zac Williams (calf) are still sidelined with injury and all remain at least a month away from making their returns.

Jacob Weitering is still a month away from returning for the Blues. Picture: Getty Images
Jacob Weitering is still a month away from returning for the Blues. Picture: Getty Images

Liam Jones departed the club in the off-season, Oscar McDonald has been ruled out for the year with a back stress fracture and Tom Williamson has taken personal leave from the club.

Voss has had a “next man up” attitude to filling his defensive lines to date.

However, the replacement options are drying up like the Sahara desert.

“We’re hoping there’s another one there,” Voss said.

“That’s just the expectation for us, that they come in and they play a role for us and they get it done.

“Players are not whinging about it, we’re not referencing it. We’ve really embraced trying to build team spirit within this group and play really selfless team football and that requires stepping up sometimes. So that’s what we’re going to ask the players to do – step up.”

The 193cm Brodie Kemp played down back against Greater Western Sydney in Round 9 and is one option that could be called upon to step up again and replace Durdin.

Kemp spent time at both ends of the ground and kicked two goals against Essendon in the VFL last weekend.

Kemp aside, it looks slim pickings for Carlton’s match committee.

The Blues’ injury issues are not just in defence, either.

Midfielder Adam Cerra (hamstring) will miss at least another week, No. 1 ruckman Marc Pittonet (knee) is expected to miss another three matches and forward Jack Martin will have scans on a calf injury he suffered in the final quarter against the Tigers.

Given all of Carlton’s injuries, Richmond was able to play Thursday night’s game almost entirely on its own terms.

Sam Durdin was plucked from Glenelg in the SANFL by Carlton in the mid-season draft to shore up their depleated defensive stocks. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
Sam Durdin was plucked from Glenelg in the SANFL by Carlton in the mid-season draft to shore up their depleated defensive stocks. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

On a wet night, the Tigers won the inside-50 count 76-51 and controlled clearances 41-28.

The Blues – led by key forward Harry McKay – battled bravely to peg back the margin in the second half, after it blew out to 35 points midway through the second quarter.

But the problem for Carlton is things don’t get any easier from here.

Having now lost two of their past three matches, a nightmare month lies ahead for Voss’ side as it tries to navigate this period where it is missing so many key personnel.

Carlton faces matches against Fremantle, St Kilda, West Coast (in Perth) and Geelong over the next four weeks.

Three of those sides sit alongside Carlton in the top six spots on the ladder, while the bottom-of-the-table Eagles are slowly regaining troops after a horror first half of the season.

The Blues would be counting their blessings that they were able to set their season up early by winning eight of their first 10 matches.

But now sitting 9-4, there is still some work to do across the last nine weeks.

It looks like teams will need a minimum of 13 wins to finish in the top-eight this season, which would mean the Blues need at least four more victories just to sure up their September spot.

Six of the nine teams they still have to play currently sit in the top half of the ladder.

Voss says he has loved the fight that his group has shown this year.

The Blues are going to need to show plenty more fight over the next two months if they want to lock away a finals berth.

They wouldn’t want to leave their finals fate hanging in the balance heading into a Round 23 clash with arch rival Collingwood – a team they lost to just three weeks ago.

AFL tells Voss he got goal review call wrong

Jon Ralph

The AFL has backed in the contentious goal review call that stunned Carlton coach Michael Voss on Thursday night.

A Jack Newnes snap on goal would have brought the margin back to three points but was immediately contested by Richmond defender Nathan Broad.

He appealed and made clear that he had touched the ball.

A video review went to the AFL’s ARC and the decision was quickly reversed.

The decision surprised Voss who said decisions should only be reversed if there was definitive evidence.

Richmond went down the other end and iced the game with the next play of the game in their MCG victory.

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Carlton coach Michael Voss, thought there was not enough evidence to overturn the goal. Picture: Michael Klein
Carlton coach Michael Voss, thought there was not enough evidence to overturn the goal. Picture: Michael Klein

But an AFL spokesman said on Friday the league was confident the ARC had enough evidence to overturn the goal.

The vision shown on the telecast and big screen is the same angle the ARC operators have in their AFL bunkers.

But they have high-definition super slo-mo footage that in this case gave them enough evidence to make a confident call.

Fox Footy commentator Jason Dunstall said in the post-match coverage he was unsure there was enough evidence to overturn the decision.

“There’s a score review there that I think will be debated long and hard, because I had difficulty working out how they came up with the decision they made,” he said.

“Not saying it’s wrong, but if this is the shot they’re making it from - and we believe it is - I struggle to come to grips with how this is definitive evidence. Because all his fingers are wobbling, they’re wobbling before they go up.”

Voss said the kick didn’t look like it was touched from his viewpoint.

“I think it’s got to be definitive, doesn’t it?” he said.

“If you’re gonna make decisions like that in games - you’d hope it’s definitive. I guess I’ve now got the luxury of sitting back and making my own judgment with it slowed down a little bit.

“Certainly we’d want to make sure we’re absolutely 100 per cent sure before overturning something like that myself. Clearly the call was made and we’ve got to end up living with the result.”

‘HUGE’ OVERTURNED GOAL CALL WAS WRONG: VOSS

- Ronny Lerner

Carlton coach Michael Voss believes the score reviewers got it wrong when they overturned a Blues goal at a crucial stage in the final quarter of their 15-point loss to Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night.

Carlton were riding a wave of momentum after star forward Harry McKay kicked three goals in four minutes, and after trailing by 35 points in the second term, Jack Newnes looked like he trimmed the deficit to just three points when he threaded the needle from a sharp angle in the pocket.

But the former Saint was denied a clever goal after TV replays appeared to show Richmond defender Nathan Broad got a finger on the ball.

Voss wasn’t convinced Broad made contact with the ball, though, and a couple of minutes later, Shane Edwards kicked a goal to put the Tigers back up by 14 points in what the Carlton boss described as “a huge moment”.

When asked if there was sufficient evidence to overturn Newnes’ goal, Voss replied: “It didn’t look it from where I was but I don’t watch the 10 different angles of it so I’ve got one (angle), and looked at it, and if it was touched, then we move on.

“I think it’s got to be definitive, doesn’t it? If we’re going to make decisions like that in games, you’d hope it’s definitive.

“We’d want to make sure we’re absolutely 100 per cent sure before overturning something like that, myself, but clearly the call was made and we’ve got to end up living with the result.”

That wasn’t the only talking point to emerge from an eventful last quarter. Earlier on, Richmond livewire Shai Bolton taunted Carlton backman Sam Docherty by showing him the ball before running into an open goal.

But Voss said he wouldn’t be “losing any sleep over it”.

“I wouldn’t even dare dream to coach another player from another team – that’s for ‘Dimma’ (Richmond coach Damien Hardwick) to deal with, and I’ll deal with my own players, so I’m pretty firm on that,” Voss said.

“If he feels that’s adequate, well that’s fine.”

Carlton’s significant injury concerns were further exacerbated with Jack Martin (calf) and Sam Durdin (knee) both finishing the game on the bench.

Durdin was thrown into the line-up, after being selected only a couple of weeks ago in the mid-season draft, in a desperate bid to shore up their undermanned backline that was missing the injured Jacob Weitering (shoulder), Zac Williams (calf), Mitch McGovern (hamstring), Oscar McDonald (back), Caleb Marchbank (knee) and Luke Parks (foot).

Ruckman Marc Pittonet (knee) and star recruit Adam Cerra (hamstring) were also absent. Both Martin and Durdin are now in doubt for the Blues’ crunch clash with fellow top-four aspirants Fremantle next week.

But given the significant personnel challenges Carlton’s backline faced, Voss was full of praise for his defenders who managed to keep the Blues in the game late despite their team conceding a whopping 25 more inside-50s to the Tigers (51-76).

“To be able to absorb that, coming into the game I certainly wasn’t anticipating that we’d be losing that much territory,” Voss said.

Michael Voss was full of praise for his embattled backline on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images
Michael Voss was full of praise for his embattled backline on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images

And Voss wasn’t fazed by his dwindling options down back heading into the Dockers clash.

“Next man up so we’re hoping there’s another one there, but that’s the expectation for us is that they come in and play a role for us and they get it done,” Voss said.

“Players are not whinging about it ... that’s what we’re going to ask the players to do is step up.”

And Voss wasn’t impressed with his midfield brigade who had a rare game where their colours were lowered around the stoppages as Richmond dominated the clearances 40-29.

“I can tell you our style doesn’t include conceding 76 inside-50s to 51, we can probably start there, and it doesn’t include getting out-toughed around the ball,” Voss said.

“When it comes down to it, they (Richmond) brought a better hunt, a better appetite to the contest and we weren’t able to absorb that long enough.”

Originally published as AFL 2022: Blues mid-season backline cover Sam Durdin to miss month with knee injury