Former Blue Gibbons puzzled by AFL axing

Michael Gibbons debuted for Carlton in 2019 and is disappointed to have been released by the club.
Michael Gibbons debuted for Carlton in 2019 and is disappointed to have been released by the club.

Former Carlton player Michael Gibbons was left bemused by the reasons behind his delisting and admitted the AFL club's highly-publicised review proved "incredibly stressful" for players.

The 26-year-old was axed last week after playing 47 games across three seasons.

Gibbons, who twice won the VFL's best-and-fairest as a midfielder before being picked up by the Blues in 2019, could see "the writing on the wall" once change started happening at Ikon Park.

Head coach David Teague was sacked following the football department review, with his recently-appointed replacement Michael Voss bringing in new support staff after former assistants also left.

Gibbons was able to kick 35 goals as a small forward but believes he was never given a chance to play in his best position.

"When they gave me the flick, the justification that they saw me as a good midfielder and that I play my best footy in the midfield disappointed me a bit," Gibbons told SEN.

"They said they see me as a really good midfielder, but I never played one minute in the midfield for the Blues.

"It never really occurred to me at the time because I was happy playing as a forward and learning the craft that way and thought I was contributing that way."

New Carlton president Luke Sayers launched the club review in June after the Blues stumbled to a 4-8 start, ultimately putting them out of finals contention at the halfway mark of the season.

Gibbons said the uncertainty of the situation made for a less than happy atmosphere at the club.

"It was incredibly stressful," he said.

"If you talk to anyone throughout that time, a lot of people will try and play it off, but you've got coaches who don't know if they'll be there next year having to perform weekly and stay positive and players in the same position.

"When you sit down and have a chat to blokes towards the latter end of the year, it was getting to everyone."

Australian Associated Press