Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Barker Shows Two into One Does Work at Carlton; Club Comes First for Man Overlooked

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Barker Shows Two into One Does Work at Carlton; Club Comes First for Man Overlooked

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Mallinder News Regional Media

TWO years ago, John Barker and Brendon Bolton were battling for the one position - head coach at Carlton.

It says a lot about the character of both men that they are now fighting alongside one another try to bring success to the Blues.

Certainly, the bubbly, ever-smiling Bolton is a hard man to hold a grudge against.

"He's a good fella," Barker says of the man who has been calling the shots at Ikon Park since appointed the long-term successor to Mick Malthouse in August 2015.

Barker, who has been an assistant with the Blues since 2011, under Brett Ratten and then Malthouse, had stepped up as caretaker coach when the latter was axed just eight rounds into the 2015 season.

Already a popular figure with the players, Barker endeared himself to fans during 14 games in charge, for three wins.

While most would have walked away, Barker was only too happy to stay on - and the new coach was happy to have him - when Bolton got the nod.

Barker, 42, says, "Bolts and I have got a really good relationship" - one that began at Hawthorn in 2010 when working for Alastair Clarkson.

"My ego is not that big that I can't put the club first," Barker says.

"It always has to be the case, regardless of whether you're a player, coach or administrator.

"The best people at football clubs, the most effective, are the ones that put the club first. I'm no different.

"It wasn't about me; it was about the club."

That's not to say, the former key forward who played 168 games with Fitzroy, Brisbane and Hawthorn during a 13-year career, doesn't still harbour a desire to win his own senior coaching role one day.

"I'm obviously fully committed to the Carlton football club, and really keen to be a part of their progression. I want to be as big a part of their improvement as possible," he says. …

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