A USUALLY mild-mannered Brett Ratten was talking tough pre-season. Speaking to 7000 Carlton supporters at a Visy Park function in February, the former skipper-turned-coach was giving them what they wanted to hear.
There was no cautious approach such as "we'll just aim for finals and see what happens".
Instead he let rip with: "This club is about expectations. We demand success and we expect success. We want to finish in the top four. We want to give ourselves the best chance of having a crack at that last day in September and we'll be striving for that."
A month later, on the eve of a season in which most in the football world did indeed have the Blues pencilled in as a top-four finisher and premiership challenger, Ratten was not about to "shy away" from his earlier statements.
"It could bite you on the bum ... it might not," he said.
In the end it, it did - hard - and was followed by a boot that will send him out the door.
The Blues confirmed yesterday what a blind man could have seen coming - that Ratten would not be coaching in 2013. Well, at their club anyway.
After Carlton gained a raft of high draft picks, recruited a bald Eagle (Chris Judd) and cut the fat (Brendan Fevola), the Blues' slogan from a couple of years back was "We're coming". But as quickly as they had seemingly arrived, they were gone again.
The Blues began this season with all guns blazing and certainly looked on track to live up to expectations after three straight wins.
But a tough draw and an unfortunate run of injuries saw them derailed mid-season, and eventually resulted in a cataclysmic "train wreck" last Saturday.
Having watching Carlton self-destruct, Gold Coast can learn that success will not simply come with a "raft of high draft picks".
The Blues line-up that lost to the Suns - and sealed Ratten's fate - had seven top-six picks, including three No.1s. They also had 1182 games worth of experience over their opponents.
Given their injuries - including Marc Murphy missing 10 weeks - there was a slight chance Ratten might have avoided the axe even if his team missed the finals. But what he allowed them to serve up at near full-strength against the Suns, when their season was still alive, proved his undoing.
Former teammate and now club president Stephen Kernahan said yesterday, "I feel like we've got blood on our hands."
Carlton though is in the business of winning premierships. It has 16 and is desperate for a league-high 17th. Media commentator and member of the sacked coaches club Kevin Bartlett reckons the Blues are "absolutely obsessive about winning a premiership to the point it affects their rationale".
But while they feel they have the cattle, they need a tougher task-master to herd them in the right direction.
Kernahan said they wanted a "respected coach who had won a premiership".
They deny it, but they would not have sacked Ratten if they did not feel confident of being able to replace him with a coach of the calibre of Mick Malthouse - the winner of three flags.
You could tell he wasn't ready to call it quits on his coaching career when Collingwood president Eddie Maguire had to prize the team magnetic board out his hands and give it to Nathan Buckley at the end of last season.
While he could put his feet up for a year, with Carlton paying out the final year of his contract, Ratten will be working in 2013 - somewhere.
The man who has coached 119 games, after playing 255, has won rave reviews for his dignified approach in the press conference announcing his sacking yesterday, and the fact he has chosen to coach his players one last time against St Kilda and not walk away.
"This is not about me, it is about the club and finishing the year strongly," he said.
"I'll be fine."
There's a job going across the border he may be interested in. More "Power" to him.
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