On a Friday night at the MCG, Blues pressure cracked the Geelong hoodoo to the tune of 35 points.

Round 19, 2009

Carlton3.5237.7 4910.107014.1397
Geelong2.4165.6368.11 598.1462
Venue: MCG
Date: Friday 7 August (N) Result: Win by 35 points
Umpires: James, McInerney, Stevic Crowd: 55,057
Goalkickers: B. Fevola 4, K. Simpson 3, M. Murphy 2, R. Houlihan, A. Joseph, N. Stevens, M. Kreuzer, H. Scotland 1.
Reports: Nil Injuries: Nil
Ladder Position: Sixth

Game Review

If you were like me, you approached this round 19 clash against the Cats nervously and with much apprehension, but nevertheless hopeful that the Blues would put on a good show and be competitive in what would probably be an honourable loss. How wrong you can be.

On the previous Thursday night the Carlton selection committee had given the round 18 squad a little vote of confidence by making no change. Of course, things aren’t always what they seem, and sure enough, there was a late withdrawal. No, it wasn’t Michael Jamison going for four on the trot. It was Mark Austin who failed to come up, and the timeless Simon Wiggins got the thumbs-up for his ninth appearance of 2009.

The game started in much the same way as many of Carlton's recent attempts against the Cats had, with Carlton two goals down after four minutes. But then something strange happened. The defence tightened, the Blues steadied and the ball landed in Carlton hands more often. The difference seemed to come from a lift in intensity all over the ground; more aggression, more tackling, more chase and more commitment.

Not until the twelfth minute did the Blues get some scoreboard reward for all that scrap and hustle. It took a little bit of Brendan Fevola magic, with a lovely goal-line grab (from a Kade Simpson bomb) followed by a cheeky put away, to get the beast in motion. As the quarter rolled on, the Cats stayed chained to two goals and the Blues seemed to grow in confidence. Then just as the time-keeper was putting down his tea and reaching towards the siren-button Marc Murphy slotted a set shot from straight in front to edge the Blues’ lead out to seven points. Marc got the customary 17 enthusiastic head-pats as the team jogged to the huddle with a real spring in their step.

Getting a gig in Carlton’s back six in recent times had been akin to drawing the short straw. Sure, you saw plenty of the pill, but it certainly wasn't good for your blood pressure. This night they held firm, perhaps aided by more pressure up-field, and a Geelong forward line looking a little flat. Nonetheless, the Blues' backs delivered. They kept the Cats goalless from the four minute mark of the first quarter until the nine minute mark of the second quarter - which is no mean feat.

Bret Thornton had spent most of his career in that back six, seeing a lot more losses than wins during that time. His performance against the Cats was one of composure, efficiency, leadership and wonderful reading of the game. Thornton was ably assisted by Jordan Russell in possibly the best of his 66 games. Russell put the clamps on Geelong’s forward-line wizard Steve Johnson, and did some creating of his own to boot. In the process he delivered on a little of the expectation many supporters have placed so heavily on his shoulders.

After the Cats goal drought finally broke the teams traded goals until late in the quarter when Matthew Kreuzer produced one of the highlights of the match. From a throw-in next to Carlton’s behind post, the two ruckmen (Shaun Hampson and Shane Mumford) misjudged the ball completely, but not our Matthew. Playing like a fleet-footed midfielder, he grabbed the ball on the bounce and slammed it onto his boot as all around him defender's arms flailed. When Ryan Houlihan slotted a set shot from right on 50 metres a couple of minutes later, the Blues were two goals clear and getting on top.

Carlton was unable to press home their advantage during the third term, but the signs were good, with the midfield working well, the forwards getting their share of opportunities. Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy, as had been so often the case in this season, led the way from the midfield. Setanta O’hAilpin kept running and presenting, and offered a legitimate option playing across half-forward.

Brendan Fevola kept presenting too, and was rewarded for his efforts more often than not with some lovely delivery. Aside from some uncharacteristically wayward kicking at goal, his game was very well rounded. Fevola even showed that the defensive side of his game was still alive (rumours of its death being somewhat exaggerated) with a couple of wonderful of chases and tackles. Three goals to each team for the quarter and only a slight increase to the Blues half-time margin had the game poised for a big finish.

The big finale never really eventuated. The Blues jumped out of the blocks with a great crumbing goal, set up from an O’hAilpin contest, and finished with the dash of Kade Simpson (his third), continuing his run and carry right to the end. Midway through the term the lead extended to 23 points from the unlikely boot of Aaron Joseph. After getting under (over, on, around and inside) the skin of Gary Ablett for most the night, he broke away on his own and kicked a neat 'settler' from 50 metres.

It was left to Fevola to add the finishing touches with two late goals. The last one, probably his most difficult attempt for the evening, was a boundary line set-shot - a ripper that sailed through just as the siren was sounding. It was very much an icing-on-the-cake moment. The Cats failed to kick a major in the last, the margin stretching to a healthy 35 points at the end. By the close of the round, the win had enabled the Blues to take hold of sixth place on the ladder after most others around them had slipped. Suddenly, we dared to say it - finals anyone?

This game is remembered fondly by Carlton fans, and is considered one of our best wins in the home and away rounds of the 2000's. For more games like this, please click here.


B: 34 Simon Wiggins32 Bret Thornton 2 Jordan Russell
HB: 45 Aaron Joseph 18 Paul Bower 27 Dennis Armfield
C: 29 Heath Scotland 5 Chris Judd (c) 24 Nick Stevens (vc)
HF: 33 Ryan Houlihan 17 Setanta O’hAilpin 12 Mitch Robinson
F: 22 Shaun Hampson 25 Brendan Fevola 19 Eddie Betts
Ruck: 8 Matthew Kreuzer 4 Bryce Gibbs 3 Marc Murphy
Interchange:1 Andrew Walker 6 Kade Simpson 10 Richard Hadley
44 Andrew Carrazzo
Coach: Brett Ratten
Emg: 28 Cameron Cloke, 16 Shaun Grigg, 21 Mark Austin

  • Wiggins replaced Austin in the selected side


100 Games (Carlton): Nick Stevens played his 100th Carlton game, becoming the 155th Blue to reach this milestone.
Losing streaks: Carlton ended Geelong's run of five wins over us with this fantastic win
Interesting Fact: This was our 11th win for the year; the first time we'd won more than 10 matches in a season since 2001.

Brownlow Votes

3. Brendan Fevola, Carlton
2. Joel Selwood, Geelong
1. Chris Judd, Carlton

Best and Fairest Votes

43 Chris Judd, 39 Bryce Gibbs, 39 Bret Thornton, 37 Brendan Fevola, 36 Jordan Russell, 36 Kade Simpson, 33 Aaron Joseph, 17 Marc Murphy, 11 Ryan Houlihan

The Ghost article

Opus Ferreus quod Praecessi mos adveho

I was never a great student. Study was for the studious. For me, hometime meant grabbinbg a footy and jumping the back fence into Ian Hooper's backyard for a kick (after we hosed down his backyard to make it a bog, ideal for sliding and getting as muddy as possible) or running around the corner into Isla Avenue for a street footy match with the Scanlons, the Coons and whoever else wanted to join in.

Despite my lack of attention to homework, I never struggled at school. In fact most things came easily to me (plurimus res adveho facile). That was until I encountered latin. Latin unravelled me. Latin unnerved me. I just passed my first Latin test (scored a 57 out of a possible 100) and from there it was all downhill.

What has this got to do with Carlton? Good question (wish I could have asked a few of those of Brother Fogarty). I think for many games this year (and certainly often in the passed seven years) Carlton has shared a similarity with me and my Latin entanglement.

You see, the problem for me and Latin was that Latin demanded study. It demanded I went home and actually opened up that damn little green latin book and conjugated as many amos amas amats as I possibly could. The only thing I wanted to do with that little green book was kick it over the fence and into Ian's backyard. I did not want to sit at a desk and unknot the homework questions Brother Fogarty set. Instead I accepted that come the next lesson I'd be dragged out the front of class with the other 'failing' students and receive a few belts with his leather strap as a reminder that nothing beats hard work (nusquam pello pepulli pulsum ferreus opus).

He was wrong though, no matter how many times my palms were stung by the kiss of that leather strap, football was better. Having a kick after school was infinitely better than sitting in a desk trying to work out wether a pig was a porcus or a girl was a puella. So the hits continued and the marks dipped lower and lower. Despite my good grades in other classes, Latin plummetted like a Wall Street crash.

The reason, and the analogy for the boys, was simple: victoria adveho ex ferreus opus (victory comes from hard work). I think that's what was most pleasing about Friday night's terrific effort against the Cats. Every single Bluebagger player did their bit. Not one of them shirked a contest, or failed to chase as hard as they could, tackle or punch.

Take Jordan Russell, a much malgined player, Jordan finally remembered that great Latin phrase – Carpe Diem. He did. With both hands and so poor old Stevie Johnson was given a football lesson. As was the whole Geelong side. For many games we have been the student to their Brother Fogarty. Not this time. This time we had done our homework and spanked the Cats! It was a great win (a valde victoria) against the best side of the past three years. In Latin class (in fact, in just about every class, every year) the best student was Joey Vella. No one out did Joey in Latin. No one.

Except one time, and in a special part of Latin. The Myths of Rome. Now, while I never studied, I did love to read and the thing I loved to read most was Myths. At nine I devoured all the Norse myths, at 10 the Austrlaian Dreamtime stories. When 11 and 12, I devoured Celtic myths and Arthurian myths like water. By thirteen I was reading Roman and Greek myths.

So when Brother Fogarty once did a class (and held an impromtu test at the end of class) on the myths of ancient Rome no one was more surprised than me that I out 'Vellaed' Joey Vella. I did though – and that's what Carlton did to Geelong. We out-tackled them, outran them and by the end (after stumbling through our own nervousness) out-skilled them.

It showed me (though I never applied it to Latin) that when you actually do the hard yards there is success waiting at the end and it showed the boys that if they take on the plans of Ratts and co, if they take on the game, if they work hard and do all the things asked of them then the rewards will come.

In the end the lesson the boys hopefully learned on friday night was that nusquam adveho ex nusquam (nothing comes from nothing). The boys are growing as a team and a win against Port this weekend will mean for the first time, in a long, long time, we will strut our stuff at the buiness end of the season. Yes ver est in aer and I cannot wait for the boys to run out onto the ground with the sun shining, the sky above as blue as my daughter's eyes and the smiles of all the Carlton faithful as we take out seats and know we are back, truly, we are back!

But for now the boys must remember to take is unus week procul a vicis and concentrate purely on this week's game against Port.

Fev for 5
AJ for 3
and JR B.O.G.
and remember, especially those of you choosing between to studing or jumping the neighbour's fence and having a kick with your mate - Mens Sana In Corpore Sano - A Healthy mind in a healthy body. Make of that what you will. Oh and apologies for the bad Latin, but you see, I really was never any good at it.

Vado Puteulanus! (Go Blues)

Mike and Dan

Play of the Week: Jordan Russell

In a match characterised by a strong overall team performance, picking out a Play of the Week was always going to be difficult (but a joy to do!). Sure, we had Hammer’s amazing leap and crash to the ground in desperation, but we also had great all round games from Judd, Fevola, Thornton, Stevens, Murphy and an astounding first half in particular from Bryce Gibbs. But one other performance was noteworthy – so much so that some media outlets had him listed as BOG. Jordan Russell, come on down….

Jordan you win this week’s Play of the Week – or more correctly Player of the Week – for you outstanding match on the weekend. Did you set yourself up for a big one against one of the game’s leading players?

Yes, I did actually. Ratts came to me early in the week and said that he’d been thinking about playing me on Johnson. It was pretty daunting at first – it’s probably the first time this year that I’ve been given such a big, defined role. So I spoke to a few of the coaches, and watched Johnson’s tape, but by the end of the week I was really looking forward to it.

Seriously though, how did you rate his pace and efforts against what you were expecting?

I’m sure he wasn’t 100%. Obviously he went into the match under a cloud, but you have to remember the old rule about players taking the field. He took the field and played the match and all you can do it work off that. I’m sure it was holding him back a little bit – he’s so dangerous around goals that even at 50% he’d probably be worth selecting.

Do you prefer a challenge like that or is it about just playing any role you can?

I like it both ways I think – sometimes as a lead-up forward it can be hard to get into a game and you might not get the ball as much. In those cases you might find yourself not getting a game the week after. So if you’re in a defensive role it’s easy to work out what you’re supposed to be doing – and its easier to measure your role to the team.

We remember a few years ago when Denis Pagan gave you a specific role…on Chris Judd…

Yeah I remember that all too well. I wasn’t on him for very long I assure you – he carved us all up that day. I’m glad he came to our Club rather than any other club, let me tell you!

One of the comments in the Mike & Dan meetings after the game was that you played the game of a Top 10 Draft Pick. Although the draft was years ago, do you think about stuff like that – or is your role to just play a part in the team?

I think when you first get picked up the draft order plays a part in what’s expected of you – through the pre-season and times like that. But at the start of the year you’re all on zero games and it’s all about what you do from there. These days I don’t really think about that at all.

You seemed to scare the hell out of Scotland when you ran past, calling for the ball.

As a team we spoke about it before the match – Johnson probably wasn’t going to chase me down, so the rule was, every time I was free, you should use me. Sure I had to defend first but I was also asked to create opportunities.

We got close to Geelong in the pre-season competition when playing some of our new young players. Did this give the team any confidence going in, or is the pre-season long forgotten by now?

No, we actually touched on that a little bit during the week. We talked about how a young team got close to a top team, and how we went about it. For Geelong you have to be strong and you can’t back down – they’re a big team and they’re very experienced. You gotta get in their face and not backdown from the contest. That was our #1 focus for the match.

We seemed to be blocking for Judd and Murphy almost as much as Geelong were blocking for Ablett and Selwood. Has the team concentrated on protecting each other more over this year?

As midfield Coach, Mark Riley has been promoting this more and more. With Juddy as our best player and Murphy getting more attention, the focus has been on this in the midfield group over the last couple of weeks. With Juddy getting heavily tagged by Greenwood the other week we’ve had to. One of our statisticians is now focussing on this point and depending on the match-ups he tracks who blocks for Juddy or Murphy.

Some of the recruiting watchers noticed your overhead marking was reminiscent of your pre-draft performances. Is that something that rings a bell?

Well, I’ve never really been a big pack marker – I’ve never had the size to do that. But you never know – when your confidence is up you go for things and they come off.

Amazing how the teams below us don't seem to want to make the 8! Port could have almost sewn up a spot last week but lost to Freo. What do you expect from them this week?

Ha, yes. But obviously they’ll be disappointed and they’re a good team, especially at home. People forget that they beat Hawthorn at home, just because they lost to Freo. They’re actually a bit like us – inconsistent.

So we’re expecting them to come out firing on the weekend for sure.

How important is it to the team to beat Port after a great win last weekend?

That’s been the main focus this week – as soon as the game was over on Friday we talked about not getting caught up in the inevitable media interest in beating Geelong. As soon as the match was over we turned our attention to Port.

Do you get your own little cheer squad of family and friends when you play in Adelaide?

I do actually, but I wouldn’t say its big enough to call a Cheer Squad. I always get into Shane O’Sullivan to get as many tickets in Adelaide as I can.

Russell’s second Play of the Week for 2009 is just another piece to the improving utility of this utility – and a scalp as big as Johnson can only boost the confidence of this 66 gamer as he progresses in Navy Blue.

Round 18 | Round 20
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Page last modified on Sunday 29 of January, 2023 22:28:27 AEDT by Jarusa.

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