Carlton coach Michael Voss says the Blues will take great confidence from an “unorthodox” win over Melbourne as he prepares his side for a poetic preliminary final clash against former club Brisbane.
Voss is hopeful fellow ex-Lion Sam Docherty will be able to push on next week after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second term, but re-emerged after halftime to play a crucial role in the two-point triumph.
He said Docherty would need to be assessed again on Monday, but the early signs were promising for the Blues veteran, who he thought could be placed in the same “basket” as wounded wingman Blake Acres and fight through his shoulder injury for the rest of the finals.
“(Docherty’s comeback was) incredible … it sort of doesn’t surprise me with him though, I spoke to him at halftime and said, ‘what have you got’, and he said, ‘I’ll give you everything I have got’. And it seemed like it actually pulled up not too bad,” Voss said.
“It certainly won’t feel right if we’re forging ahead without him, that’s for sure. I’m sure he’ll get to work pretty hard on what that shoulder is and get himself right for next week.
“The fact he was able to (come back) says that he might fall in the basket of where Blake sits a little bit, and if we carefully manage it, he might be able to get through.”
Voss said the Blues’ ability to scrap together a winning score without Harry McKay and Jack Martin, and with Charlie Curnow held to one goal, had given the players a significant confidence boost.
“I don’t normally say this, but we get great confidence out of the result we got. It was unorthodox at times, but we were able to find our way to win, so that says a great deal about the courage and resilience of this football team,” he said.
“The atmosphere in the change rooms was quite incredible, to see the journey that we’ve been on to get to this point in time … you just see the smiles on people’s faces and how excited everyone is,” Voss said.
“I think we’re all in a little bit of disbelief how it all unfolded … that was just a cracking game of footy, full of errors, full of mistakes, but (we) somehow found a way through some will, and some grit and some courage.”
Voss all but guaranteed Harry McKay’s selection for the preliminary final as he confirmed the key forward would be available to play.
He said the extra aerial presence in Carlton’s forward line would be vital to help Charlie Curnow return to form next Saturday.
“(McKay and Martin) will both be available … I haven’t thought that far ahead (about selection), other than to say that we were making it hard for ourselves during that game at times,” he said.
“Clearly when we were going forward we just weren’t connecting enough. We’ll have to look at that pretty hard, clearly having (McKay) up there with Charlie helps us a lot … one thing I can guarantee you is if Harry is available, he’ll be playing.”
Voss played down the sentiment of travelling to the Gabba for the biggest game of his coaching career, saying he was solely focused on his current club.
“It should be exciting … without doubt, the person who is going is a Carlton person,” he said.
Originally published as AFL Finals 2023: Sam Docherty should play preliminary final, says Michael Voss