|Date:||2.10 pm, Monday, 26 April, 2010|
|Result:||Won by 36 points|
|Goalkickers:||J. Garlett (3), E. Betts, M. Murphy, R. Houlihan, C. Yarran (2), C. Judd, M. Kreuzer, S. O'hAilpin, H. Scotland (1)|
|Umpires:||C. Donlon, S. McBurney, D. Margetts|
|Injuries:||A. Walker (collar bone)|
Game ReviewWith confidence levels on the rise after a comfortable victory over the Crows in Adelaide the Blues seemed to approach the round five clash against reigning premiers Geelong with some (perhaps unjustified) optimism. That understated optimism wasn’t shared by the bookmakers who priced the Blues at $5.50 outsiders prior to the game, but after soundly defeating Geelong in round 19 of last season at least recent history was on their side.
When the squad was eventually finalised on Saturday afternoon in preparation for Monday’s game at the MCG there was just the single change to the line-up. It was Mitch Robinson who made way for off-season recruit Brock McLean whose injured hip was back in business. This would be the first opportunity for McLean and Chris Judd to play in the same side. Many footy scribes suggested that McLean’s arrival at the club and the strong, inside presence that he brought with him, would go some way to relieving Judd of some of those inside duties and free him up to provide more run and carry. Here’s hoping.
Several upsets during the round had tipsters nervously biting their nails as the Blues bulldozed their way through the crepe paper banner to commence their final warm up. With both sides suitably warm the game began in near perfect conditions. Free flowing, end-to-end football was the order of the day in such conditions as both sides delivered a steady stream of forward thrusts in the first quarter. Geelong was banking on the tall timber (Mooney, Hawkins and Podsiadly) delivering for them, whilst Carlton put their faith in the unpredictable, fleet-footed, highly-skilled trio, Eddie Betts, Chris Yarran and Jeffery Garlett.
The Cats appeared to settle first and had already registered a goal and a couple of misses before Marc Murphy opened the Blues account with a nice snap out of congestion. As the term progressed it became clear the Blues’ focus was to apply pressure through constant chasing and tackling, trying to hurry the Cats and force turnovers. It went goal for goal for much of the quarter until late when Carlton managed consecutive goals through Ryan Houlihan and Matthew Kreuzer to take a five point advantage to the quarter time huddle.
The Blues cranked it up a gear in the second with an attacking six goal quarter. Much of the attack started from the centre clearances where Chris Judd dominated and was well supported by the lively Heath Scotland. Those that didn’t come from the middle invariably launched from half-back where Bryce Gibbs and Jordan Russell setup numerous counter attacks with dash and clean, precise passing. The run out of defence was further enhanced by speedsters Dennis Armfield and Andrew Walker who both used their toe to great creative effect. Sadly, Walker’s day ended on a sour note with a broken collar bone and seemingly another long lay off.
Most pleasing was the growing spread of goal kickers, an essential ingredient in Carlton’s new look forward structure. Each of the “brothers” (Betts, Yarran and Garlett) booted one goal during the term, as did Murphy, Scotland and Houlihan while the Cats could manage just the two. After the six goal onslaught the Carlton lead had opened up to a handy 31 points and another upset was in the offing.
The second half was a closely fought affair with goals drying up in the latter part of the third quarter as both sides increased the pressure and fatigue gradually crept in. The Blues stretched their lead with the first goal of the quarter, but Geelong responded with two consecutive goals to reduce the margin to 27 points. But the Blues kept finding an answer, an emphatic one at that. It was the Chris Judd of old who exploded towards the hot spot twenty-five metres out after receiving the dinkiest of handballs from Heath Scotland to set him free. Despite getting bumped as he kicked, the footy speared through for the final goal of the quarter just 11 minutes in.
It was a nervous start to the final quarter by the Blues with a lot of sloppy disposal coming from defence, seemingly unaware it was Carlton 33 points to the good. When Gary Ablett got the first of the term, Blues supporters swallowed hard and crossed their fingers. Fortunately they didn’t have to wait long to uncross them. Chris Yarran got on the end of a neat pass that saw him lining up from just inside the intersection of the boundary line and the 50m arc. A superb long distance goal followed and the lead was restored once again. Geelong came again soon after with one from Harry Taylor, before Setanta O’hAilpin was the source of a confidently and responsibly taken mark and goal from outside 50. The sealer took longer than expected, but when Jeff Garlett strolled into an open goal for his third at the 23 minute mark the result was locked in.
Traditionally, Carlton’s “premiership” quarter has always been the third, but on this occasion it was the second where the Blues opened up what would become the match winning lead. It was heartening to see the young Blues take it up to the best side of the past three seasons, matching them and eventually defeating them on the day.
|B:||4 Bryce Gibbs||40 Michael Jamison||43 Simon White|
|HB:||27 Dennis Armfield||2 Jordan Russell||1 Andrew Walker|
|C:||33 Ryan Houlihan||5 Chris Judd (c)||29 Heath Scotland|
|HF:||6 Kade Simpson||19 Eddie Betts||3 Marc Murphy|
|F:||17 Setanta O'hAilpin||23 Lachlan Henderson||13 Chris Yarran|
|Ruck:||8 Matthew Kreuzer||44 Andrew Carrazzo||45 Aaron Joseph|
|Interchange:||7 Brock McLean||11 Robert Warnock||24 Kane Lucas|
|38 Jeffery Garlett|
|Emg:||10 Richard Hadley, 12 Mitch Robinson, 30 Jarrad Waite|
Interesting FactCarlton v Geelong : This was destined to be Carlton's last win against Geelong for 6 years, and in odd twist, would be the last time we would knock off a (any) reigning Premier in the home & away season for 13 years
Brownlow Votes3. Chris Judd, Carlton
2. Jeffery Garlett, Carlton
1. Gary Ablett, Geelong
Best & Fairest Votes40 Bryce Gibbs, Jordan Russell, 35 Chris Judd, 33 Kade Simpson, 32 Jeffery Garlett, 31 Heath Scotland, 25 Michael Jamison, 23 Dennis Armfield, 10 Ryan Houlihan
Round 4 | Round 6