|Date:||Saturday night, August 14, 2013|
|Result:||Lost by 24 points|
|Goalkickers:||J. Waite (3), E. Betts (2), D. Armfield, B. Gibbs, M. Robinson (1).|
|Umpires:||D. Margetts, M. Nicholls, B. Rosebury|
|Injuries:||Troy Menzel (soreness) replaced in the selected side by Brock McLean, Curnow (knee), Jamison (head)|
Game ReviewA week after their best win of the season over Richmond, Carlton produced one of their most disappointing efforts ever when they fell to Sydney by 24 points in a controversial Semi Final on at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. Bringing the curtain down on Mick Malthouse’s topsy-turvy first season as senior coach at Princes Park, the Blues were outclassed by a Swans combination that was hungrier and harder at the contest from the first bounce, and thoroughly deserved to keep their Premiership defence alive.
Not for the first time, the treacherously unstable playing surface at ANZ Stadium prevented the game from reaching great heights as a spectacle, as both sides struggled to keep their feet. In front of a modest crowd of less than 38,000 on a perfect Saturday night in the Harbour City, three players suffered alarming leg injuries - sparking renewed calls for the venue to be either improved once and for all, or abandoned as an AFL showpiece.
Carlton named an unchanged line-up in the wake of their stirring Elimination Final victory over the Tigers, until Matthew Kreuzer failed a fitness test and withdrew the day before the match. Then in a late change, Troy Menzel was replaced by Brock McLean to bolster the Blues midfield. Tom Bell was named as substitute, and the team burst out onto the ground through a banner commemorating game number 200 for one of the club’s modern greats in Kade Simpson.
Carlton began well with a brilliant solo effort from Eddie Betts, who took an excellent contested mark, bounced to his feet and goaled from 20 metres out to draw first blood. Sydney replied almost immediately through their captain Kieran Jack, and quickly surged back into attack for their giant full-forward Kurt Tippett to take a strong mark under pressure from Blues full-back Michael Jamison. But as Tippett got to his feet, it was obvious that he was in a lot of trouble with one of his knees. Hardly able to stand, he missed with a feeble shot at goal, then limped off the field to be substituted out of the game 15 minutes later.
Meanwhile, Swans midfielder Tom Mitchell was also in trouble, hobbling off in obvious pain from a badly-damaged ankle. Players from both sides were slipping over for no apparent reason, as the sandy surface made it difficult to gain traction with any confidence. Still, some coped better than others – generally, those wearing red and white - and at quarter-time the home side was in front by 6 points.
The early stages of the second quarter produced a game-changing injury for Carlton when Ed Curnow emerged from a pack limping. While he was off the field being assessed (and eventually subbed out of the match) his opponent, Jarrad McVeigh, took full advantage. In a devastating solo effort, McVeigh racked up 20 possessions for the quarter, and kicked an important goal to set up a 22-point break for his team at half-time. Carlton were playing dumb football and lacking any real system, yet they were by no means out of contention.
At the start of the third term, one of the previous weeks’ stars for Carlton; Nick Duigan, was switched on to McVeigh, but with little real effect. Despite having so much to play for, the Blues were inept in this quarter and were kept scoreless as Sydney piled on 5.2 to take a huge lead of 54 points into their three-quarter time huddle. Carlton had taken only three marks inside 50 in an hour and a half of football, and were being beaten all over the field.
Understandably, Malthouse vented his feelings – and those of Carlton supporters in general – during the final break, leaving the team under no doubt that the future for some was very much on the line. They responded by kicking 4.6 in the last quarter, and in turn kept the Swans from scoring - but they never really looked like getting back on terms, and fell 24 points short on the final siren.
In the aftermath, Malthouse made it clear to all that certain individuals had played their last games for the Blues, and that the club was intending to be a major player in draft week. Among the few who enhanced their prospects of being retained were Andrew Walker, who racked up 30 possessions and 8 rebound 50s in a gutsy effort across half-back, and Kade Simpson, whose 28 disposals and 10 marks again underlined his value. Captain Marc Murphy (25 possessions, 10 marks) and Mitch Robinson (25 disposals, 7 marks) worked hard, as did ruckman Robbie Warnock, who won 34 hit-outs and 10 possessions as he maintained his late-season improvement. However, all those stats were dwarfed by the Swans’ McVeigh, who racked up 42 possessions, 9 marks and 2 goals to be the undisputed match winner.
Subs: Tom Bell replaced Ed Curnow during the 2nd quarter.
|B:||42 Zach Tuohy||40 Michael Jamison||23 Lachie Henderson|
|HB:||6 Kade Simpson (VC)||26 Andrew McInnes||1 Andrew Walker|
|C:||27 Dennis Armfield||4 Bryce Gibbs||29 Heath Scotland|
|HF:||38 Jeffery Garlett||30 Jarrad Waite||13 Chris Yarran|
|F:||5 Chris Judd||41 Levi Casboult||19 Eddie Betts|
|Ruck:||11 Robert Warnock||35 Ed Curnow||3 Marc Murphy (Captain)|
|Interchange:||12 Mitch Robinson||14 Brock McLean||34 Nick Duigan|
|Substitute:||28 Tom Bell|
|Emergencies:||2 Troy Menzel||17 Sam Rowe||46 David Ellard|
-* On Friday Levi Casboult replaced Matthew Kreuzer in the selected side with Sam Rowe added to the squad. On match day Brock McLean replaced Troy Menzel in the selected side.
Milestones200 Games: Kade Simpson
Last Game (Carlton): Eddie Betts, who would transfer to the Crows for a 6 year 'playing holiday' before returning to Carlton in 2020
Last Game: Nick Duigan who would retire early in the 2013/14 pre-season
Interesting Fact: This remains our most recent final, some 8 full seasons later.... but....... what?
Best & Fairest VotesLachie Henderson 4, Michael Jamison 4, Kade Simpson 4, Andrew Walker 4, Jarrad Waite 3, Marc Murphy 2, Robert Warnock 2, Chris Yarran 2, Mitch Robinson 1, Zach Tuohy 1
The Elimination Final | Season 2013