LONG-serving Carlton assistant coach John Barker is leaving the embattled AFL club as the Blues undertake a review into their underwhelming on-field performances.
Barker, who served as Carlton caretaker coach for 14 matches when Mick Malthouse was sacked in 2015, will depart the Blues immediately.
After a 14-year coaching career at three clubs, Barker is exiting the AFL completely to focus on expanding business interests.
“John is a quality person who was outstanding not only with our playing group but also with the entire wider club,” Carlton football manager Brad Lloyd said.
“He has been a valued member of our football club and has played an integral role in the development of our playing list.”
Carlton believes they owe it to their long-suffering supporters to comb through why they will likely miss the AFL finals for an eighth straight season.
Incoming Blues president Luke Sayers has ordered the mid-season review, which will be conducted by outsiders.
The performance of coach David Teague and other assistants will be scrutinised, as will the club’s fitness program and list management.
It comes after Sunday’s horror defeat to undermanned West Coast left them at 4-8, three wins and significant percentage behind eighth-placed Richmond.
“The club acknowledges that we are not satisfied with where we are at from a performance perspective,” outgoing Carlton president Mark LoGiudice said.
“We feel we owe it to our members and supporters to leave no stone unturned in our attempt to improve our on-field performance.”
Former Carlton champion David Rhys-Jones is saddened by the Blues accepting a “losing culture”.
President of Carlton’s past players association, Rhys-Jones also believed the team lacks on-field leadership.
“I came from South Melbourne-Sydney to Carlton and the difference back then was honourable losses were expected at the Swans but at Carlton and you pulled that jumper on and you were expected to win,” Rhys-Jones told SEN.
“That really stuck in my mind, the difference between winning clubs and losing clubs and we’ve got that losing culture now.”
Rhys-Jones won the Norm Smith medal for his performance in Carlton’s 1987 grand final victory against Hawthorn.
Carlton’s poor performances have turned up the blowtorch on Teague, who has overseen just eight wins in their past 23 games for an overall win-loss record of 17-23 since taking on the job in mid-2019.
The Blues have a bye this week before meeting GWS at Giants Stadium in Round 14.
(C) AAP 2021