AFL finals 2023: Jason Dunstall puts heat on Charlie Curnow, finals struggles, Carlton Blues preliminary final loss to Brisbane Lions, reaction, response, latest

Three-time Coleman medallist Jason Dunstall says Charlie Curnow should be scrutinised for his poor finals form, but backed him in to bounce back in 2024.

Curnow’s post-season woes continued in Saturday’s preliminary final loss to Brisbane, held to one goal for a third consecutive September game by the returning Darcy Gardiner.

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You even sensed the star forward’s urgency to get involved in the Gabba clash while both he and his side were struggling in the third term — but to the detriment of the team — missing a tough shot at goal when he could’ve passed to a teammate.

It comes in the midst of the 26-year old’s back-to-back Coleman medal campaigns, though he wasn’t able to replicate that stellar form when the Blues needed it most in the finals despite their deep run.

Asked post-match on Fox Footy what advice he’d have for Curnow is, Dunstall said: “It’s an interesting one, he needs to reflect because he hasn’t had a good finals series.

“We as players — we’ve all been through it — you know that you get judged by how you perform in finals, not just how you perform in home and away.

“There’s no good being a good home and away player and not being able to take that form and apply it in finals, when the heat’s on and it matters the most.”

Injuries virtually wiped out Curnow’s 2020 and 2021 seasons before he returned in a big way to emerge as the premier key forward in the competition.

He played a crucial role in the club’s surge up the ladder this season to help it end a 10-year finals drought, finishing with a career-high 81 goals from 26 games in total including finals.

Dunstall suggested Curnow would take learnings away from his finals shortcomings.

“He’s got a little bit of work to do, but he’s a great player and he’s still young in football terms despite his age, because he’s missed so much footy over the journey,” the Hawks legend added.

“He’s still got plenty to come and he’ll continue to evolve. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t bounce back in a big way next season.”

Originally published as ‘No good being a good home and away player’: Curnow under scrutiny after finals woes

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