|Venue: Gabba (Brisbane)|
|Date: Saturday, 5 September (Night)||Result: Loss by 7 points|
|Umpires: S. Jeffery, S. McLaren, S. Wenn||Crowd: 32,702|
|Goalkickers: B. Fevola 3, C. Cloke 2, N. Stevens 2, E. Betts, A. Carrazzo, J. Garlett, R. Houlihan, C. Judd, M. Kreuzer, M. Murphy, J. Russell 1|
|Reports: C. Judd - contact to the face of Richitelli||Injuries: A. Joseph (ankle)|
Game ReviewOh, what could have been. Carlton’s season came to dramatic and gut-wrenching close at the Gabba in their Elimination Final against Brisbane, our first finals appearance since 2001. After pushing our lead out to 30 points early in the final term, the Blues suddenly stalled and the Lions ran over the top of us - delivering six unanswered goals to close out the game and the Blues’ 2009 season.
Carlton made four changes to the side smashed by Adelaide in round 22. All three suspended players (Eddie Betts, Jeffery Garlett and Cameron Cloke) came straight back into the side after serving their one match penance and Shaun Grigg joined them for his first game since round 17. Out of the side went Steven Browne, Chris Johnson, Setanta Ó hAilpín and Chris Yarran.
The warm night air in Brisbane seemed to agree with the Blues in the early going as they leapt out of the blocks with the opening three goals. Andrew Carrazzo got the ball rolling when he read the crumbs best and thumped through the opener in the goal square. Soon after Matthew Kreuzer delivered a pin-point palm down, then got on the end of a chain of handballs and finished it off with a running long bomb from centre half forward. Ryan Houlihan showed how much the defensive side of his game had improved with a superb smother and goal after a Brisbane kick in. It was all smiles from the Blues and they certainly looked switched on and comfortable with the step up in intensity that finals bring.
Brisbane worked their way back into the game with four of the next six goals for the quarter as the Blues backline struggled to contend with Brisbane’s tall-timber in Jonathan Brown, Daniel Bradshaw and Mitch Clark when he rested forward. The solitary goal lead for the Blues didn’t seem like much reward for the effort.
After missing a relatively straight forward set shot at goal late in the first quarter Chris Judd made amends soon after the resumption of play with the Blues’ opener in the second term. Judd had been accumulating a lot of possession in the early going and was having real influence on the game particularly at the stoppages. Jordan Russell provided the Blues second for the term after a speedy dash through the centre square and a lovely finish on the run. His ball usage over the previous month has been quite efficient and clean and so it continued in this game. Brendan Fevola got his first for the game and the Blues third for the quarter in the middle of the term, but for the remainder of the half it was Brisbane slowly getting on top and eventually sneaking into the lead just before the break.
The third quarter is where so many games are won and lost, and so it seemed would be the case this night as the Blues dominated proceedings with six goals to two. Two goals each to Nick Stevens (one a left foot beauty from the boundary) and Brendan Fevola, one to Marc Murphy and a mid-air hoick in the goal square from Cameron Cloke had the Lions on the back-foot and momentum firmly in the Blues favour. Carlton were on top in the battle of the midfields and made the most of their forward opportunities taking a healthy four goal break to the final change.
When Cameron Cloke bombed through his second from outside 50 early in the final term the Carlton lead had extended to 30 points and it was looking like a long way to come back for the Lions. The lead hovered around that mark for several minutes with neither side able to make any further inroads, but the Lions had weathered the storm. A change in momentum was slowly coming over the game. The young Blues were running out of steam and seemed more intent on protecting their lead than attacking in search of the game breaking goal. The Lions, on the other hand, were growing more desperate by the minute realising the only way back was to throw caution to the wind. The Lions charge didn’t come in a rush of goals; it was ground out with hard slog, Brown and Bradshaw proving pivotal to the result. The Lions finally hit the lead in the 24th minute through Bradshaw, and it was he, who extended it with the final goal three minutes later. The sound of the siren made Carlton hearts sink across the country. A rare, hard-earned opportunity for a finals victory seemingly squandered with a poor twenty minutes of footy.
The final ladder position of seventh for the season was an accurate reflection of the Blues' year - not there yet, but they definitely knew we were coming.
Brendan Fevola and Ryan Houlihan were the only two in this side that had previously played in a final with Carlton (for both, it was their 6th appearance in September). Others with finals experience, but playing in their first final for Carlton were Chris Judd, Nick Stevens and Heath Scotland. The experience gained by the other 17 Blues in their finals debut would be invaluable over the next few seasons.
The average age of this Carlton team was 24 years and 15 days, with an average League experience of 95.2 games per player. Nick Stevens was the oldest, at 29 years and 245 days, and the most experienced with 231 games. Jeffery Garlett was the youngest, at 20 years and 33 days old, and the least experienced with 10 games.
|B:||18 Paul Bower||32 Bret Thornton||34 Simon Wiggins|
|HB:||27 Dennis Armfield||2 Jordan Russell||29 Heath Scotland|
|C:||44 Andrew Carrazzo||5 Chris Judd (c)||24 Nick Stevens (vc)|
|HF:||19 Eddie Betts||33 Ryan Houlihan||6 Kade Simpson|
|F:||1 Andrew Walker||25 Brendan Fevola||28 Cameron Cloke|
|Ruck:||8 Matthew Kreuzer||4 Bryce Gibbs||3 Marc Murphy|
|Interchange:||16 Shaun Grigg||22 Shaun Hampson||38 Jeffery Garlett|
|45 Aaron Joseph|
|Emg:||15 Steven Browne, 17 Setanta O'hAilpin, 13 Chris Yarran|
MilestonesFinals: This was Carlton's first final since 2001!
First Finals: This was the first final for many Blues - in fact all but Fevola, Houlihan (with Carlton), Stevens, Scotland and Judd (17 Blues). In particular, we'd had 6 Blues on the list who've played more than 100 games for Carlton without playing a final before this match - Click HERE to read more
Last Game: Nick Stevens - (Retired)
Last Game: Simon Wiggins
Last Game (Carlton): Brendan Fevola, who would ironically join Brisbane in 2010 after a tumultuous end of season.
Last Game (Carlton): Cameron Cloke
Best and Fairest Votes36 Chris Judd, 32 Ryan Houlihan, 31 Brendan Fevola, 31 Jordan Russell, 24 Dennis Armfield, 21 Matthew Kreuzer, 20 Marc Murphy, 5 Kade Simpson, 3 Andrew Carrazzo
Round 22 | 2010