Legendary journalist Mike Sheahan believes the resurgence of Carlton is the biggest story of the 2023 AFL season.
Back in Round 13, the Blues found themselves in a hole after a sixth straight loss and the future of coach Michael Voss was being heavily questioned.
However, Voss turned things around dramatically by leading his side to nine consecutive wins which has seen them book a first finals berth since 2013.
According to Sheahan, Carlton’s turnaround under Voss is the story of the season.
“I think probably the re-emergence of Carlton,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“I was one of many who didn’t want ‘Vossy’ to go because I like Vossy. When you’re a layman and you’re out there, your likes take over.
“I thought ‘they’re in trouble and I’m not sure I like the way Carlton are playing footy’, but I wanted him to keep his job.
“I think they’re genuine now. You can’t win nine in a row (and not be good), you can’t fluke that.”
There were growing calls to part ways with Voss on the back of that demoralising losing streak.
If the Blues did not have the experienced Brian Cook at the helm, Sheahan says he could have seen a world where Voss got the sack given the club’s track record in that area.
“I think there were some cowboys of Carlton persuasion who would have said, ‘We need to be seen to be doing something’, and therefore a big head, put in on the block and chop it off,” he added.
“To be fair, Vossy has changed too with the way they’ve played. So there’s been a mix and I think sometimes patience can be a virtue.”
Sheahan also touched on Adam Simpson and the West Coast Eagles.
He has a theory regarding the club’s decision to keep Simpson in the job for at least another year despite just five wins in the last two campaigns.
“I’ve got a theory on this, you know I love my theories,” Sheahan said further.
“I think that the West Coast Eagles people decided that ‘Simmo’ is a good man, he’s got success behind him, he’s got credibility and that it’s better to go with Simmo certainly for one more year than put your next best pick in and burn him because the team is so bad.
“What happens if the new bloke comes in, say it was Dean Cox, and they have three bad years – which they certainly could have – that’s the end of Dean Cox.
“There’s the ‘good bloke card’ in footy. In my mind that influences a hell of a lot of decisions.”
Simpson and the Eagles will again be watching on this finals series as they look ahead to a much more fruitful 2024.
Voss and the Blues are busy preparing for their crunch Elimination Final against Sydney at the MCG on Friday night.