Carlton coach David Teague has backed prized recruit Zac Williams to climb out of his rut, after Brisbane great Jonathan Brown lashed the former Giant as “one of the laziest footballers going around”.
While Williams’ $4.8 million, six-year deal with the Blues has left a mountain of responsibility with the 123-game midfielder, he’s averaged just 18.7 disposals per match this season (6.9 contested) and has been shafted to a role at half-back.
And not only did Williams manage just 11 touches in Carlton’s humiliating defeat to GWS on Saturday, Brown exposed his lacklustre attitude in defence in damning vision shown on Fox Footy.
Teague, who’s under fire himself after crashing to 4-9 in the Giants loss, launched a staunch defence of his marquee signing.
“We took him out of the midfield for a little bit … He was probably low on confidence and we put him back to a position where he’s played some really good football in the past (at half-back),” Teague said.
“It’s a tough game and it requires a lot of you and he’s had quite a few little niggles and an interrupted season.
“So we think that there’s still a lot of upside there; we think he can get fitter and he’ll become a good player for this football club in the long term.”
Williams has been demoted to half-back despite having developed into an elite inside midfielder during his eight seasons as a Giant.
His best season yet remains his 2019 campaign, in which he averaged 23.66 touches per game, including 8.95, as GWS powered through to the grand final.
In his time at GWS he formed part of a top-class midfield unit alongside Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto and, before he departed for Essendon, Dylan Shiel.
“We (recruited) him to be a midfielder and at the moment we’re playing him at half-back because he’s been able to add more value to the team there,” Teague said.
“So we’ll assess that going forward.
“Ideally he gets a really good pre-season and moves back into the midfield going forward, but he may not; he may stay at half-back.”
Teague also defended himself, saying he was the man to lead Carlton out of the club’s agonising rebuild.
“Do I feel I’m the guy to take the club forward? I do. I absolutely do,” Teague said.
“We’re not getting the results at the moment, I understand people talking about that.
“But as a collective as a club, I think we’ve got great people in good positions and we’ll come out of this. I have a lot of confidence in that.”
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