Tales from Blues campfire ‘growing legs’

Carlton midfielder Adam Cerra says tales of the players’ mid-season getaway have been overblown, but the trip certainly helped ignite the Blues’ premiership tilt.

Cerra says the honesty sessions on a team escape to Ed Curnow’s Torquay property in June had helped narrow the players’ focus, particularly in a struggling midfield that has re-emerged as one of the competition’s best in September.

While adamant the Blues were already a united group before they went away in the aftermath of the round 13 loss to Essendon (which left them 15th with only four wins), Cerra said the quality of the time together had been important.

“I think that was a time of reflection for us, really – everyone talks about the famous campfire down at Ed Curnow’s place … the story seems to be growing legs,” Cerra said.

“We had some honest conversations, we broke up (into) lines … I think the stories of people swimming in dams – it might have only been a couple of people. Ed Curnow, it’s his dam so he had to start it!

“Boys weren’t getting wasted and stuff, that’s what the story came out as – it was just time to enjoy some time together and speak about what we want to become.

“We were united through the whole thing, and that campfire was really just a good opportunity to spend some quality time together outside the club and speak honestly, speak openly.”

Cerra, 23, said an emphasis on sharing the load through the midfield had resulted in more dynamic performances late in games.

“For us, it was sharing the load in the midfield group. You’ve probably noticed the last 10 weeks there’s more boys rolling through the midfield … David Cuningham, Lachie Fogarty, they come into the centre square bounce every now and then,” he said.

“It’s sharing the load so we can sustain that high intensity and high pressure for longer, so I can’t pinpoint it to one or two blokes, it’s just everyone playing their part.”

Cerra said pre-game messaging had been simplified to “contest and pressure”, terms coach Michael Voss has echoed after every game in the Blues’ surge back into finals.

“We narrowed down as a team but also individually on what we need to focus on to really turn it around and start playing the footy that we knew we were capable of,” Cerra said.

“I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of coaches and players talking about contest and pressure, and that’s really what it came down to – it was something easy for us to focus (on) going into games and stopped us thinking about results or noise from outside.”

Cerra said the courageous performances of Sam Docherty and Blake Acres amid painful shoulder and collarbone injuries were instilling confidence in other teammates carrying niggles that they could keep performing in finals.

“Blake backing up week and week and Doc coming back and just playing a role for us, that’s all we need in finals really,” he said.

“It gives a lot of confidence to boys who might be feeling sore or the difficulties that some boys might have with travelling – everyone is going through something.”

Originally published as AFL finals: Adam Cerra describes impact of Carlton getaway

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