Malthouse not fazed over contract talks

Steady hand: Carlton coach Mick Malthouse keeps an eye on the players, including Chris Judd (right), at training on Wednesday. Photo: Justin McManus
Steady hand: Carlton coach Mick Malthouse keeps an eye on the players, including Chris Judd (right), at training on Wednesday. Photo: Justin McManus

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says he is not concerned that contract renegotiations have yet to open, declaring he didn’t expect to have secured an extension by now.

Malthouse is midway through a three-year deal but the two men who brought him to the club, chief executive Greg Swann and president Stephen Kernahan, will leave within weeks.

Kernahan has said he hopes the board extends Malthouse’s contract at the end of the season.

Businessman Mark LoGiudice will take charge as president after the Blues’ 150th anniversary celebration this month, but his position on Malthouse is unclear.

The Blues are expected to again make significant changes to a stuttering list, with Heath Scotland, Nick Duigan and Josh Bootsma, the latter sacked this week over a range of issues, including breaching social-media policy, already gone and clearing space in the salary cap.

Malthouse, who on Wednesday defended his selection policy and said the frustrating Blues were not ready to wave the “white flag”, wants to remain at the club beyond this current deal but understands he won’t have the final say.

Asked if contract discussions had opened, Malthouse replied: “Why would there be? I’m 17 months through a 36-month contract. I wouldn’t expect it.”

Malthouse, a three-time premiership coach with almost three decades of experience in the top role, said he would not be “panicked” into worrying about his future.

“Coaches don’t determine how long they stay. Let’s get that straight. You are principally a servant to the board and their decision may not be the same decision as you want. All I do, I don’t get caught up in that sort of stuff,” he said.

“It’s been a rarity in my coaching that I have ever coached beyond a three-year contract. I think I may have signed a three-year contract when I first went to Collingwood. I don’t think there has been another three-year contract that I have ever had given to me.

“There are probably a couple of two-year ones along the way but, basically, it has been a one-year extension and I have never panicked about it and I am not about to now, particularly when my money is still in the second year.”

Malthouse has more immediate worries. Humbled by the Brisbane Lions last weekend, with on-field discipline an issue, the Blues face a Geelong side on Friday night stung by a shock 110-point loss to the Sydney Swans.

There have been suggestions for the Blues to dump senior players and look to the future with youth but, as Malthouse points out, that is not easily done.

“I’m not here to hand out games. We are two games out of the eight. Any of my teams that ever fly a white flag is an indicator the playing group aren’t listening to me,” he said.

“There will be no white flag here. We will be picking our best side to win on a week-to-week basis. That inevitably will expose some players to senior football because we think they are ready.

“Whoever gets this notion to play all kids and drop senior players has never coached.

“Some kids aren’t just ready to play. Some of the names that have been bandied around are actually injured. It’s hardly we are going to be playing those.”

Patrick Cripps, the midfield extractor drafted last year, is three weeks away from returning from a broken leg.

Chris Judd, who trained well on Wednesday, tagger Ed Curnow, who broke his leg in round five, and Andrew Walker (knee) could return to take on the Cats.

Malthouse said if it was felt Judd (hamstring) was not yet fully fit, he could have another week of training or return this weekend via the VFL. The Blues train again on Thursday morning.

This story Malthouse not fazed over contract talks first appeared on WA Today.