|Date:||Friday (night) June 6, 2014|
|Result:||Lost by 5 points|
|Goalkickers:||B. Gibbs 4, D. Thomas 3, T. Menzel 2, B. McLean, C. Yarran, J. Garlett, R. Warnock, L. Casboult, S. Rowe 1.|
|Umpires:||S. Jeffery, S. Meredith, B. Ryan|
Game ReviewCarlton gave up a 16-point advantage midway through the last quarter, and were left fuming by a couple of crucial umpiring blunders on the way to a one-kick defeat by Geelong on this Friday night at Docklands. In front of a crowd of almost 37,000 on a cool Melbourne evening, the Blues played with an intensity not seen previously in 2014 and should have won. But a combination of inexplicably timid umpiring (and Geelong’s big-match experience) got them over the line in a controversial finish.
In the aftermath of the previous week’s capitulation to Brisbane, Carlton’s match committee made only two changes to the team on selection night, bringing back Andrew Walker and Dennis Armfield in place of an injured David Ellard and the rested Dylan Buckley. Simon White was named as the Blues’ substitute. With Carlton’s season already all but shot, only club pride and individual reputations were on the line in this contest, which began in almost farcical circumstances when the Blues ran out wearing white shorts instead of the dark blue stipulated for the host team. A frantic dash by car to collect the correct colour ensued, and the dressing room was in disarray as the team scrambled to meet the 7.50 pm starting time.
In a ploy intended to unsettle Geelong early, Carlton lined up for the opening bounce in an unfamiliar formation. Key defender Michael Jamison at full-forward and Jarrad Waite at centre half-back were just two of the many positional changes that Blues coach Mick Malthouse made - and continued to make - throughout the game. To his credit, most of them worked. Carlton were sharp and quick early, bringing up the opening goal of the game to Dale Thomas after seven hard-fought minutes. Malthouse had asked his team to play daring, direct football, and surging runs through the middle of the field by Armfield and Chris Yarran each resulted in full points. The goal of the quarter (and of the game) however, belonged to Geelong’s George Horlin-Smith, who bent through a ripper from deep in the left forward pocket after 20 minutes of an even, skilful contest. At quarter-time, the Blues were ahead by nine points, with Thomas off the field being assessed for concussion after a clash with Cat Harry Taylor.
The second quarter belonged to Geelong’s imposing full-forward Jack Hawkins, who kicked four goals and was chiefly responsible for his team taking control. Opposed to Sam Rowe – who tried valiantly to match the big cat for physical strength and was out-muscled – Hawkins marked strongly and kicked straight to put Geelong in front by 19 points at the long break. Still, Carlton were far from done. The Blues were matching Geelong in most aspects of the game, and had the most influential player on the field in Bryce Gibbs. Showing renewed passion and tenacity, Gibbs kept his side in touch with a brilliant individual goal at the 17-minute mark of the quarter, and was clearly best on ground.
During the long break there were concerns about the fitness of Michael Jamison, who had limped from the field late in the second term. After some intensive treatment, ‘Jamo’ returned for the third quarter with right calf heavily strapped, and took up his customary position at full-back on the rampant Hawkins. From then on, Hawkins was kept goalless for the rest of the match, as Jamison maintained separation from the giant Cat and used his superior spring and athleticism to constantly punch the ball clear.
Thomas also came back on for the third term, but the Blues seemed in trouble when Geelong defender Mackie streamed downfield and goaled to put his side four goals up after 11 minutes of play. The Cats could have stamped their authority on the contest at that point, however Carlton wouldn’t wilt. Henderson and Gibbs combined for a major to stem the tide, before Thomas, Troy Menzel and Thomas (again) kicked truly to level the scores. If Gibbs had not missed both of his chances during time-on, Carlton would have ended the quarter with real momentum, yet as things stood the Blues were still well in it.
The heat in the game showed no signs of slackening off when the final term began. Carlton had the better of the early exchanges, although they couldn’t capitalise until Andrew Carrazzo chipped a pass to Gibbs and the Blues’ star kicked truly to put his side ahead by 10 points. Two minutes later Marc Murphy hit Rowe on the lead, and the big man was exuberant when he split the uprights from 45 metres to stretch Carlton’s advantage to 16 points approaching the half-way point of the quarter.
Geelong had found themselves in a similar position many times over the previous decade however, and once more they dug deep. Three majors in the next ten minutes, as well as a couple of near-misses, saw them back in front by a solitary point after 23 minutes of tenacity from both teams. When Gibbs then took a hand-pass from Carrazzo and snapped his fourth goal from the left forward pocket, Carlton nosed back in front. Geelong then struck twice from broken play and regained the ascendancy by 5 points with less than two minutes remaining.
From then until the siren, the ball was pinned inside Carlton’s forward 50-metre arc as the Blues attacked relentlessly. With 30 seconds left, Menzel was clearly taken around the neck by an opponent, then the Geelong runner impeded Mitch Robinson while the ball was in play. As the crowd roared, the umpires seemed to get stage fright. They ignored both incidents, and the final siren sounded amid anger and frustration from Carlton fans. Even a public apology from the AFL Director of Umpiring 24 hours later did little to reduce their fury - especially since this seventh defeat in 11 games left the Blues languishing in twelfth place on the ladder, and facing up the daunting prospect of playing the reigning premiers Hawthorn next up.
Subs: Simon White replaced Jarrad Waite early during the last quarter.
|B:||30 Jarrad Waite||17 Sam Rowe||42 Zach Tuohy|
|HB:||13 Chris Yarran||1 Andrew Walker||15 Sam Docherty|
|C:||6 Kade Simpson (VC)||4 Bryce Gibbs||27 Dennis Armfield|
|HF:||12 Mitch Robinson||41 Levi Casboult||2 Troy Menzel|
|F:||40 Michael Jamison (DVC)||23 Lachlan Henderson||39 Dale Thomas|
|Ruck:||11 Robert Warnock||44 Andrew Carrazzo (VC)||3 Marc Murphy (Captain)|
|Interchange:||14 Brock McLean||33 Andrejs Everitt||38 Jeffery Garlett|
|Substitute:||43 Simon White|
|Emergencies:||7 Dylan Buckley||32 Nick Graham||37 Jaryd Cachia|
MilestonesLast game (Carlton): Jeffery Garlett
Brownlow Votes3. Bryce Gibbs, Carlton
2. Mathew Stokes, Geelong
1. Tom Hawlins, Geelong
Best & Fairest VotesBryce Gibbs 15, Dale Thomas 8, Andrew Carrazzo 6, Michael Jamison 5, Andrew Walker 5, Levi Casboult 4, Sam Docherty 4, Troy Menzel 2, Andrejs Everitt 1, Marc Murphy 1, Robert Warnock 1, Chris Yarran 1,
Round 11 | Round 13