Carlton’s Hybrid Backline Strategy to Counter Brisbane’s Forward Might


The Carlton football team is doubling down on its distinctive “hybrid” backline strategy as it prepares to face off against Brisbane’s formidable forward group in Saturday’s preliminary final. Collective faith remains strong in the ability of their select group of defenders to handle the fierce Lions, who remain front-runners in the competition, noteworthy for their impressive scoring run led by the talents of Joe Daniher and Cam Rayner.

Aaron Hamill, backline coach with past accolades like completing 190 games with Carlton and St Kilda under his belt, sounds more than optimistic at their chances. Having joined coach Michael Voss’ team as an assistant coach for the 2022 season, he is putting his belief in the Blues unique blend of defenders to outperform even the most formidable teams, one of which is their upcoming opponent – Brisbane.

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Players like Caleb Marchbank, Brodie Kemp, and Mitch McGovern are in focus, with their standing, skill and proven performance yielding confidence for their coach. Alongside these three powerhouses, fullback Jacob Weitering adds the extra strength required to bolster the defensive backline.

Despite the availability of the smaller, but no less potent, Jordan Boyd and Zac Fisher in the team’s repertoire, Coach Hamill heads into the Brisbane face-off with no plans for major alterations to his steadfast line-up.

The coach is rightly proud of his “hybrid back seven” featuring McGovern, Marchbank, and Kemp, praising the unique blend of speed, power, and endurance that the talented trio brings to the team. But it’s not just about combat capabilities – Hamill also expects their performance to act as a high-speed counterpoint and provide an energetic, robust punch against the Lions’ forward line.

No coach’s praise can come without acknowledging the adversity some of his players have faced. Marchbank’s return to form after missing much of the 2020 to 2022 seasons is hailed as remarkable by Hamill. He emphasizes how Marchbank’s dedication to his craft, as evident through his rigorous rehabilitation sessions, was vital to get him back on the field.

Hamill also brings attention to Mitch McGovern, whose critical role in Carlton’s campaign for the premiership is a testament to his perseverance. Despite facing external criticism, within the Carlton walls, McGovern’s potential was never in question. Hamill emphasizes the vital role he plays with his ability to change the game with his precise interceptions and skill in handling the ball. His contribution has been even more crucial given the absence of Zac Williams.

In the end, it’s about striking the perfect balance in the team – a balance where power and agility, determination and skill, create a hybrid force capable of matching any opponent.