CARLTON AFL legend Anthony Koutoufides has described recent criticism of embattled coach Brett Ratten “part of the natural coaching cycle”.
Before an appearance in Bendigo today, the 278-game Blues champion and two-time best and fairest winner spoke in defence of his 1995 premiership teammate.
“It’s just natural, Carlton supporters demand success and everyone thought that this was probably the year when they were playing good footy early on,” he said.
“Everyone knows with footy you’re paid a lot of money, scrutinised heavily and you’re watched by everyone so unfortunately he has to just put up with it.”
The man who wore the famous number 43 guernsey said he follows AFL from a distance these days, but puts his former club’s drop in form mostly down to injuries.
“I love the club and will always be indebted to the club, they gave me my opportunity and provided me with so much, but I only watch from a distance.
“They had a few injuries, and the depth doesn’t look to be there, and you lose confidence when some of those players aren’t out there.”
Koutoufides has been doing the rounds of several clubs in Victoria, making cameo appearances for Moonee Valley, Deer Park and Hillside among others.
He was lured to North Bendigo in April to play alongside former Carlton teammate and current North coach Damien Lock, and had high praise for the 33 year-old.
“I was approached by the club, was told that Damian Lock is the coach, so that was probably the reason I decided to come up for the game,” he said.
“I’m rapt that he’s getting an opportunity to coach, and he was fantastic that day, he had high expectations of his players and they certainly go out there and played for him.
“The way he set it up and the way he spoke to the players was great, he’s doing a really good job.”
As for his footballing future, the 39 year-old said he has probably played his last competitive game.
“I think that’s it for me, I think I’ve officially retired, again.”
“When you play football for so long and you give it away, something inside of you wants to get back out there and play with some teammates again, but to be honest I’m not sure.
“I haven’t played that well this year, and it’s really only been to make money for the clubs and be in that team environment, but as for next year it’s not something I have intentions of doing.”
Koutoufides was in Bendigo to promote nutrition and weight management company Herbalife Australia, through Keith and Karen's Hebalife Bendigo businesses, as well as record an interview for www.bendigoiptv.com