|Venue: Princes Park||Date: Saturday August 15, 1981|
|Result: Lose by 1 point||Umpires: I.Robinson & R.Sawers||Crowd: 36,736 Receipts; $69,867|
|Goalkickers: D.McKay 4, P.Bosustow 3, M.Maclure 2, G.Wells 1, W.Johnston 1, P.Maylin 1, R.Ashman 1, J.Buckley 1, F.Marchesani 1.|
|Best: M.Fitzpatrick, D.English, R.Ashman, S.Howell, G.Southby, P.Bosustow, M.Maclure.|
|Injuries: G.Wells (corked thigh), P.Bosustow (strained calf), P.McConville (strained achilles tendon)|
Game ReviewTop place on the ladder was at stake in this match, meaning that the game was as fierce and willing as it almost always is when these two traditional rivals meet. There was only a point in it at half time, but after Blues captain Mike Fitzpatrick got right on top of the Bomber rucks in the third quarter, Carlton kicked away to a 28-point lead approaching time-on in the last term.
Carlton fans - and players it would seem - thought we had this game won. A last quarter goal by Jim Buckley was greeted with players jumping on each other as though the game was over. And with a margin of 28 points coming into time-on you could just about understand the confidence.
However, Carlton then began to tire, and Essendon surged. The visitors slammed on 2.3 to reduce their deficit to 13 points - one through Daniher after Bruce Doull slipped on the soft surface, allowing Daniher to mark easily. Watson, Hawker and Neagle were running all over us.
It was only Fitzpatrick’s saving mark at centre half-back that halted another forward thrust. In an effort to give his team as much time as possible to catch their breath and pick up their men, ‘Fitzy’ tucked the ball under his right arm and walked slowly backwards from the mark, signaling his intentions and trying to milk every precious second off the clock. Meanwhile, field umpire Ian Robinson was calling on him to “move it on.” According to the publication "100 Years of Australian Football", this time wasting progressed for some 60 seconds! Finally, Fitzpatrick went to kick it out to the press box side, but Umpire Ian Robinson ran in and took the ball off him and handed it to the Bombers. A free kick for time wasting!!! Who'd have thought it possible?
Although the Bombers missed the goal (Eustice took the free 55 metres out and kicked to Van der Haar, who missed from about 25 metres out), and Merrett also missed another kick, the Bombers were on a run and kicked a further 2 goals to take the lead. The siren sounded, Carlton had given up near a 5 goal advantage, and we had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!
Essendon defeated Carlton by one point at Princes Park, but the top individual performances came from the Blues camp. Captain Mike Fitzpatrick showed no effects of a hand injury and consistently fed the Carlton small brigade from the ruck duels to win top votes. In this game Ken Sheldon had 25 kicks in a skillful display to also be in the votes. - Inside Football Player of the Year.
''The Blues will take Saturday's defeat by Essendon mighty hard this week and will reject consoling pats on the head. Sure, the Blues don't deserve any pity because they threw the match away themselves. However, they can take heart from last year's premiers Richmond. The Tigers also had top spot shot to bits last season when they threw it away with a dismal performance against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval. Geelong jumped to top spot on the VFL ladder, but could not win a finals match. Of course, Richmond won all three finals matches to romp home with the flag.
Saturday's defeat might have done Carlton a favor, even though it might be hard for teh players to swallow that right now. Meanwhile, the Magpies are warbling again. They again reckon the flag is there for the taking. What rubbish they pipped Richmond who have struggled all season, by five points after looking a beaten side for the taking. The Magpies now have won three games by less than a goal this season and although their pluck muct be applauded, the Magpies look a long way short of premiership class.
I even thought I saw the premiership side, until Carlton's mental block in the last 10 minutes. No-one can write Essendon off in any match now and for that alone they must be considered a real chance for the flag.
However, I believe Carlton's brillant rovers are the key to the premiership. The Carlton rovers looked a class above their Essendon counterparts on Saturday and will be even better on the MCG. Essendon has good battlers in Tony Buhagier and Grant Fowler, but the Blues have a superb Rod Ashman, Jim Buckley, Ken Sheldon and one or two others they can throw on the ball. Alex Marcou has a hamstring strain, but a fit Marcou would give the Blues even further roving depth. All the Carlton players have the ability to break into the open with incredible pace, while the Bomber rovers lack that zip. Collingwood? I dont rate them a chance in a thousand, despite the Magpies holding top position.'' - Jim Main Inside Football.
Essendon proved that nothing is ever certain in football when it defeated Carlton after the Blues had led by 26 points with ten minutes to play. Neale Daniher was magnificent, with two excellent marks and goals from 40 metres out at the 30 and 31 minute marks of the final quarter, while Mike Fitzpatrick was the Blues best. - Football Record.
The team list from the Record of the Day can be viewed here.
This game is remembered as one of Carlton's controversial finishes, a theme explored in a Blueseum exclusive article available here.
|B:||27 Des English||36 Mark Maclure||20 Geoff Southby (vc)|
|HB:||9 Ken Hunter||11 Bruce Doull||37 Wayne Harmes|
|C:||13 Phil Maylin||1 Greg Wells||25 Frank Marchesani|
|HF:||4 Peter Bosustow||43 David McKay||7 Wayne Johnston|
|F:||5 Ken Sheldon||33 Peter McConville||35 Denis Lenaghan|
|Ruck:||3 Mike Fitzpatrick (c)||12 Barry Armstrong||14 Rod Ashman|
|Interchange:||40 Scott Howell||16 Jim Buckley|
Round 19 | Round 21