It was football’s worst kept secret, but after months of speculation Carlton has officially announced that Mick Malthouse is their new senior coach.
The 59-year-old was unveiled to the media at a press conference held this morning at Princes Park, where his three-year deal was confirmed.
Malthouse expressed his ‘great sense of honour’ at taking over the reigns at Carlton, a club that had for so long been a fierce rival throughout his 11 years at Collingwood.
Carlton president Stephen Kernahan described it as a ‘good day’ for the club.
‘Mick’s record speaks for itself and we’re confident he can lead this football club to long-term success,’ Kernahan told the media.
Despite the change of colours, Malthouse was his typical feisty self, not afraid to share his strong thoughts and opinions with inquisitive journalists.
He was tested by a barrage of questions relating to when he was first contacted by Carlton, his health and wellbeing and Travis Cloke, responding in an agitated tone to the seemingly skeptical media scrum.
Malthouse stressed that despite reports claiming otherwise, his first official meeting with Carlton occurred last Monday.
‘My first meeting [with Kernahan] happened last Monday,’ Malthouse reiterated. ‘There are going to be naysayers that will say it happened previous to that. I have no doubt that you would all have doubts.
‘Peter [Sidwell] said he’d organised a meeting for Monday night. That meeting was the first time I had spoken to Stephen in regards to coaching.’
Both Malthouse and the Carlton president were also made to answer questions regarding the dismissal of four assistant coaches – Mark Riley, Allan Richardson, Paul Williams and Darren Harris – earlier last week. Despite Malthouse denying reports that he was involved in these sackings, Kernahan stated that Monday’s meeting had ‘triggered events’ which had led to their departures.
Malthouse went on to say that in terms of assistant coaches, former Blues coach Brett Ratten’s structure was vastly different to his.
‘I need a structure that I’m comfortable with. Brett had one in place that was very different to mine in terms of the number of coaches and their roles,’ Malthouse said.
It is reported Malthouse’s former assistant coach at West Coast, Rob Wiley, and his star defender in their 1992 and 1994 premiership winning seasons, Glen Jakovich, have already agreed to join Malthouse as assistant coaches at Carlton.
Malthouse admitted that he and his family had never truly believed his days as a coach were at an end when he left Collingwood in 2011.
‘A premiership, to me, has always been only one part of the journey, it is never a destination,’ Malthouse said, ‘So my drive is to see that mountain and keep climbing. I don’t think at any stage have I gotten to the crest of that mountain.
‘My family understand that, my friends understand that. They know that there is a burning desire to keep climbing, and while that’s there they will support me.’
He talked about the ‘fire in his belly’ and the desire to win a premiership with Carlton, asserting his view that he can get the most out of every player within the Blues’ squad.
‘I will back myself in any team to get the best out of every individual,’ Malthouse said, “I want them to have a common goal and to dream big.
‘I want every player to feel like they have some sort of ownership in the success of this club. There’s no hierarchy, it’s done by all.’
At 59 years of age, Malthouse’s health was brought into question from the moment he was first linked to the Carlton job. His former president at Collingwood, Eddie McGuire, had controversially stated that he feared the stress of coaching would kill Malthouse, however the new Blues coach strongly defended his age.
‘I’m very fit and I’m very healthy, thank you very much,’ he responded when quizzed on McGuire’s comments.
Malthouse was just as blunt when answering questions relating to whether Carlton would make a play for star forward Travis Cloke.
‘Absolutely,’ he stated, choosing not to elaborate further.
Malthouse’s contract at Carlton will not begin until November 1, but before that he will conclude all media commitments with both Channel 7 and 3AW.
Riley Beveridge is a first-year Bachelor of Sports Journalism student at La Trobe. You can follow him on Twitter: @RileyBev