Latest Docherty AFL injury ‘levelled’ Blues: coach Voss

Roger Vaughan |

Sam Docherty’s latest serious injury setback has devastated his coach and teammates.
Sam Docherty’s latest serious injury setback has devastated his coach and teammates.

Carlton are on a week-long AFL roller-coaster of joy, sorrow and expectation as they anticipate a 90,000-plus MCG crowd for their round-one clash with Richmond.

Last Friday’s season-opening win over the Brisbane Lions was tempered the next day by the stunning news much-loved player Sam Docherty will need his third knee reconstruction.

Two years ago, also at the MCG against Richmond, Docherty provided an all-time highlight when he kicked a goal in his comeback match after two bouts of cancer.

Coach Michael Voss has no doubts Docherty will overcome this latest setback, lauding the 30-year-old as a resilient and stoic pro.

But there is no time to dwell on the latest blow to a player who has been as luckless as he is courageous.

“That moves your eyes forward pretty quickly … we have a very important game coming,” Voss said of Thursday night’s blockbuster against the Tigers.

Docherty’s comeback in round one two years ago was also Voss’s first game as Carlton coach.

“We had that magnificent moment when he kicked that goal … I reckon in that moment you’re not a Carlton supporter or a Richmond supporter, you’re almost sitting as one in the stands together and applauding a great moment,” Voss said.

“That speaks to him as a person.”

Voss added that while Docherty would be missed, the Blues are mindful of the challenges the player has overcome in the last few years.

“(We were) gutted for him. It certainly levelled me out pretty quick,” Voss said of Saturday’s news.

Carlton coach Michael Voss (left) and player Sam Docherty at the MCG.
Voss (left) and Docherty embrace after Carlton’s round-two win over Geelong in 2023. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Voss, club chief executive Brian Cook and several Blues players were outside the MCG on Monday morning to announce an extension of the club’s Great Southern Bank sponsorship.

The deal adds to the expectation at Carlton, with Cook hopeful they also reach 90,000 members by Thursday night. 

“We think we’ll have a ‘nine’ in front (for the crowd) and we think we’ll have a ‘nine’ in front of our membership by then, too,” he said.

After making last year’s preliminary final, the Blues are not shying away from their growing expectations.

Cook was chief executive at West Coast and Geelong when they won premierships and said, while there are differences, the belief is also building at Carlton.

“There is a hunger, there is a state of readiness to change – we don’t want to go back to where we were three or four years ago,” he said.

“We have the talent to win one at some stage … one, two, three, four years. Who knows?”

Carlton are confident the MCG surface will be ready, after it was replaced following last month’s Taylor Swift concerts at the venue.

“My daughter’s a Swiftie – I’m not allowed to denigrate anything about the experience,” Voss said.

“I will just say that I will back them in to get it done.”