Blues given pre-season hiding by Saints
STEADFAST Carlton coach Brendon Bolton insists he will never regret the Blues' long-term rebuild despite another day of pre-season pain.
The Blues were on Saturday thrashed for the second consecutive game, blown away after quarter-time by St Kilda in a 18.14 (122) to 4.6 (30) belting at Ikon Park.
Bolton pointed to a side that rested Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Sam Docherty, Kade Simpson, Matthew Kreuzer and Levi Casboult and included seven players yet to play a senior AFL match.
But he promised the heat would still be turned up on his men ahead of the final JLT game against Fremantle on Friday.
"We had some young talent out there that hadn't played the game. We can be blinded by it all, but for them to get better we need to expose them to develop them," Bolton said.
"Listen, we're not going to be locked away on wins and losses. I've said that for a few years so I'm not going to jump off that. That's the road map we're asking, but we'll challenge standards like we did last year on the things we've got to improve on.
"We've just got to keep growing. We've turned the list over by 30 and there's some young kids that couldn't hold on for longer than a quarter and a half today, but again we'll challenge them to do that."
St Kilda kicked 17 of the game's last 19 goals and won the inside 50m count 58-26, but Bolton said the big picture was worth the short-term pain.
Draftees Cameron Polson, Tom Williamson and Harrison Macreadie donned the navy blue for the first time, with the latter showing some signs early.
"We need to understand the good opportunity it was for us as a club. For our youngsters, for them to grow, they get an appreciation of what it really takes," he said.
"This time last year we did a similar thing against Essendon, but we're also forced a little bit because next week we've got a six-day break and we have to travel to Perth."
Bolton said he would field a full-strength side against the Dockers.
"We'll be asking a bit of our group and I'm going to stiffen our side up in the last JLT game over in WA," he said.
"We think with a more experienced side we get a quick little bounce there in some areas."
Patrick Cripps got through his return game after completing a three-month rehabilitation from a back stress reaction, but Dylan Buckley and Charlie Curnow were forced off early.
Buckley will have scans on a hip, while Curnow copped a knock to his shoulder that needs to be assessed.
St Kilda assistant coach Aaron Hamill was delighted the Saints played the match out.
"I guess if you look at last week, where we didn't put a four quarter, consistent performance together, that's the most pleasing part; that we were able to put a really good four quarters together and play our way," Hamill said.
He said seven-goal star Josh Bruce "contributed well".