Patience needed in Blues' first 'full-blown rebuild': Bolton

Coach Brendon Bolton admits the Blues are hurting after a bruising start to the season but said it was important to note this was the first time they had orchestrated a "full-blown rebuild".

The Blues are winless after the opening six rounds for the first time in their 122-year history in the VFL-AFL, the latest blow a 21-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. They had their chances to claim a breakthrough win but poor disposal and wasted shots in front of goal would contribute to their demise.

Carlton’s Zac Fisher tackles the Bulldogs’ Lin Jong.

Supporters are growing increasingly agitated that there has not been significant improvement in Bolton's third season in charge but he insists this is the first time the Blues, known for their quick fixes through the decades, have fully stripped back the list.

"We feel their frustration. It hurts when we lose. We know that this hasn't happened in the club's history but I suppose it's the first time in the club's history it's genuinely done a rebuild, that it's focused on a full-blown rebuild," Bolton said.

"It hurts. Players hurt. Coaches hurt. I'm sure our supporters hurt when you haven't got a win on the board yet. We're going to work incredibly hard but it is the first time in history, too, that we have had a genuine rebuild."

After the decision to top up with recycled talent failed in 2004, there is an argument the Blues have been rebuilding since the mid-2000s which resulted in the drafting of No.1 picks Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy and Matthew Kreuzer.

While it was a different era, David Parkin rebuilt an ailing list when he began his second stint in 1991, although that team still boasted club legends Stephen Kernahan, Craig Bradley, Greg Williams, Justin Madden and Steve Silvagni, the latter now the list manager driving the overhaul. Parkin had the Blues back in a grand final by 1993.

The Blues head to Adelaide to face the Crows on Saturday night, and it's questionable whether they will have a win by the mid-season break, for Essendon, Melbourne, Geelong and Sydney await.

"So we've increased our talent through the draft but dropped significantly in age and experience, hence you're seeing a little bit of what's happening now. But it is frustrating because we want to win," Bolton said.

"We're hoping [the turning point is] as soon as possible. We're there to win every game. Hopefully, by the halfway mark, we have got a win or two.

"I'm not going to put a figure on it just now. Here's some simple fact for you. Three years ago, when we started the rebuild, we were averaging about four guys from 18-21 years of age. In the second year of this rebuild, it jumped to six. This year, it's around nine or 10 guys."

What has frustrated supporters is that they expected a gradual improvement under Bolton. Instead, there could be less wins than in 2016 (seven) and 2017 (six). They have only won once in their past 16 matches.

Young forwards Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow have shown they could eventually morph into a match-winning strike force while fellow youngster Zac Fisher continued his fine season on the ball. Stand-in skipper Patrick Cripps were superb against the Dogs, claiming a team-high 32 disposals, including 24 contested.

It was a sombre mood in the Blues' dressing room after the latest defeat, but the message from the board and executive is that patience is required.

"We're not going to deviate. I said that last week. Right now, our youngsters are getting games and opportunities. Our leaders find out a lot about themselves when there's challenges, as do coaches," Bolton said.

The Blues hope Kreuzer (groin) and defender Jacob Weitering (thigh) will be fit to take on the Crows.

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