Carlton star Zac Williams has come under fire for a run of poor form after making the move from GWS in the off-season.
The Blues recruited Williams on a monster six-year deal during the trade period reportedly worth $800,000 a season — $4.8 million overall — but AFL pundits don’t believe he’s pulling his weight.
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Carlton has committed to undertaking a whole-of-club review after another dismal loss on the weekend put them 14th on the ladder with just four wins from 13 games. It’s grim news for Blues fans who were being told by the club this was the year they could expect to break their agonising finals drought.
A lack of skills and defensive pressure have been just some of the criticisms of Carlton under David Teague, who is facing pressure to keep his job, and a 36-point loss to the Giants on Saturday only intensified the scrutiny on the Blues.
Fox Footy’s On The Couch crew dissected Carlton’s defensive woes on Monday night, and Williams was front-and-centre of much of the discussion, accused of being out of position and not working hard enough around the ground when GWS had possession.
Brisbane legend Jonathan Brown said the Giants intentionally targeted Williams and questioned his fitness levels.
“I know they did (target Williams). I tell you what, Zac Williams is one of the laziest footballers going around at the moment,” Brown told On The Couch.
“Don’t worry, there’s about 100 pieces of vision we’ve left on the cutting room floor. We could’ve gone through it for the next half an hour and showed it. We could’ve really, really hurt his reputation. I’m just verballing it for you.
“That bloke has come to the Carlton footy club, paid that sort of money, he needs to turn up in better shape and get himself fit and turn up and put in a better effort, especially on defence.”
Williams’ workrate isn’t up to scratch according to a stack of AFL pundits.Source:News Corp Australia
Williams made his name as a rebounding defender in Sydney but Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has doubts over whether he can mimic that explosive style in the midfield.
“No one knows Zac Williams better than the Giants … they said, ‘You know what we’ll do? We’ll work over Zac Williams aerobically with Tim Taranto’,” Lloyd told Footy Classified.
“Taranto will bolt past him. Zac just wants to walk so they exposed him poorly. They knew Zac Williams better than anyone yet Carlton overpaid.
“I think they took him off the back of a prelim final where he dominated and hoped that he could be that for Carlton and he’s not, unless he finally gets serious and has the pre-season of his life and gets fitter than he is currently.”
TV host and former AFL journalist Craig Hutchison said Carlton has “got a lot of money tied up for six years, making a decision on someone who isn’t aerobically capable of playing in the midfield”, while Port Adelaide icon Kane Cornes also took aim.
“Williams can’t play in the midfield because he’s not fit enough,” he said.
AFL great turned commentator Gerard Healy told On The Couch Carlton was “lethargic and lazy” against GWS while St Kilda icon Nick Riewoldt put the heat on young guns to stand up.
“If I’m David Teague I’m bringing them (younger players) in, getting them in and I’m saying, ‘OK, the senior players, they’re not leading the way with their defensive efforts’,” Riewoldt said.
“They (young players) have to drive it. These young players that are the core, that are the real honest workers within that football club, they’re the ones that have to drive it. Otherwise, guess what? They’re not going to be a good football side for a long period — and those young blokes, they want success.”
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