|Venue: Optus Oval|
|Date: Saturday 30 August 1997||Result: Loss by 2 points|
|Umpires: Harvey, Rich, Sercia||Crowd: 34,922|
|Goalkickers: A.Koutoufides 4, M.Porter 2, L.Whitnall, M.Hanna, S.Camporeale, B.Pearce, M.Allan, P.Dean 1.|
|Best: B.Ratten, M.Hogg, S.Camporeale, A.Koutoufides, P.Dean, R.De Iulio, A.Hickmott.|
|Reports: Nil.||Injuries: S.Kernahan (calf), B.Pearce (knee), A.Hamill (shoulder), R.De Iulio (concussion), C.Bradley (calf).|
Game ReviewGoing into this final game of 1997, Carlton were 2 points behind 8th placed Brisbane on the ladder and were fortunate that the Eagles beat them the night before. All they needed to do now was beat Richmond, who had no chance of making the finals, to grab 8th position. A suspect Stephen Kernahan was brought back in what appeared to be a desperate attempt by the Blues to ensure they won this important game. He ended up aggravating a calf injury and spending most of the game on the bench, in what would turn out to be his final game for Carlton. Mil Hanna was also recalled for what would be his final game. A capacity crowd turned out at Princes Park to watch this vital match.
The Blues burst out of the blocks, kicking the first 6 goals of the match- 3 from Anthony Koutoufides- and a finals berth appeared a formality. The Tigers kicked their first 2 goals late in the quarter, to be 28 points down at 1/4 time.
They slowly got back into the game, outscoring Carlton by a goal in the second term, to reduce the half time margin to a more manageable 22 points. The Blues kicked the first 2 goals of the third quarter to extend the margin to 6 goals. But then injury started to take its toll, with Aaron Hamill joining Kernahan out of the game with a shoulder injury. Then Brad Pearce limped off with a knee injury. Mil Hanna, Darren Hulme, Matthew Hogg, Ron De Iulio and Andrew McKay all left the ground with head injuries and kept the medical staff busy, trying to patch each of them up so they could return to the ground, to replace the growing list of wounded players. Even Pearce was forced to limp back onto the ground. Meanwhile the Tigers kicked 4 unanswered goals to be just 8 points down. Lance Whitnall kicked a much needed goal late in the third quarter to bring the margin back to 14 points at the final change.
In the final quarter, the Blues had 5 shots at goal but all missed, while the Tigers managed to kick the 3 goals that were required to send the Blues out of the finals race. Ironically it was former Blue Ben Harrison who kicked the vital goal in time on that would give his new club the lead for the first time in the match. Carlton fought desperately to reclaim the lead but the effects of the battle had taken its toll and they were unable to score again.
Brett Ratten with 29 disposals, Scott Camporeale with 24 and Adrian Hickmott with 21 all worked hard in the midfield to set up forward play.
After this disappointment, questions were raised about coach David Parkin's future but he eventually was reappointed for season 1998.
|B:||34 Ron De Iulio||1 Stephen Silvagni||22 Glenn Manton|
|HB:||5 Andrew McKay||35 Peter Dean||36 Aaron Hamill|
|C:||9 Adrian Hickmott||7 Brett Ratten||23 Dean Rice|
|HF:||33 Matthew Hogg||4 Stephen Kernahan (c)||24 Matthew Allan|
|F:||19 Brad Pearce||43 Anthony Koutoufides||47 Darren Hulme|
|Ruck:||46 Mark Porter||16 Scott Camporeale||21 Craig Bradley (vc)|
|Interchange:||8 Lance Whitnall||13 Mil Hanna||41 Jacob Anstey|
|In:||Jacob Anstey||Mil Hanna||Stephen Kernahan|
|Out:||Justin Murphy (back)||Anthony Franchina||Sam Smart|
MilestonesLast games: Stephen Kernahan and Mil Hanna
Brownlow Votes3: Matthew Knights (RICH)
2: Darren Gasper (RICH)
1: Brett Ratten (CARL)
Round 21 | 1998