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Big win for the Blues on the seminal night

Big win for the Blues on the seminal night

CARLTON recorded their first ever win in an AFL Carlton Respects game, producing an emphatic 63-point victory over Geelong.

Leading from the start, it was a brutal performance from the Blues, who set up the game in the first term before producing an incredible nine-goal finish to bring it home.

Patrick Cripps put in another field show with 41 disposals (one short of his career best) but he wasn’t alone with Sam Walsh (33 disposals), Jacob Weitering (zero conceding), Tom De Koning (20 contested possessions) and Charlie Curnow (five goals), all brilliant.

It was the Blues’ highest score of the season on a night where the club’s commercial partners contributed $7,000 to Carlton Respects for every Blues goal, while Bupa donated a dollar for each of the 75,218 people who packed into the MCG on Friday night.

Quarter to one

Despite comments from Michael Voss earlier in the week that he would not like a shootout similar to what happened in Round 7, the opening game started in similar fashion. Not for the first time in the past month, it was the Blues who got off to the fast start, scoring three goals before the Cats even registered an inside 50. The first of the game came through Tom De Koning, who got quite a surprise when brother Sam – and not Mark Blicavs – took the opening fight. The Cats soon settled with two goldens in quick succession, but the Blues’ pressure game was well and truly on, recording eight tackles before-50 while dominating clearances early in the year. Zac Williams was dangerous in front of the ball, turning into the provider of a number of scoring chances, while Charlie Curnow caused trouble with two goals in the first quarter. Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps were prolific, while Jacob Weitering rose time and again on the backline: the leaders ensured the Blues took a 19-point lead into the first change.

The second quarter

The game looked well and truly back in contention as Geelong came from behind for two goals in the opening four minutes, bringing the margin back to within a shot for the first time in the opening minutes. But Carlton were able to rise when the game called for it, Curnow conjuring a third goal out of nowhere before his colleague Harry McKay quickly joined him on the scoresheet. Orazio Fantasia was busy with two assists in the attacking half, while Nic Newman’s commitment to the cause at the other end was evident. while Weitering was best in intercepting Tom Hawkins, recording four in the first half. After an early scare from the Cats, the Blues were back at their most ruthless, scoring six goals in a row despite the game being relatively even as a contest. The Blues dominated the ground in stoppage clearances (+18) and made the most of their forward entries in a half in which they had eight more inside 50s than the Cats. Matt Owies was electrifying up front, booting three goals in the first half – the last coming from a desperate possession tackle – to open up a 36-point lead at the main break.

Quarter three

Carlton’s pressure felt like it was at an all-time high to start the third term, with the home side suffocating Geelong, the game played entirely in Carlton’s forward half. After getting an early goal in his tag against Tom Stewart, Alex Cincotta doubled his tally with his fifth goal in three weeks amid smart play from a Geelong turnover. Unfortunately for the Blues, that’s where their good work in front of goal ended, six in a row at the back from that point – plus two that failed to register a score – at a time when they could have taken the game away from the Cats . . Cripps continued to lead from the front with eight disposals for the quarter, taking his tally to 28 for the game at three-quarter time, while Adam Saad produced some passages of play that got the Carlton fans off their seats. Just when the Blues looked to have the game on their terms, three goals in a row late in the term stung them – especially after their earlier inaccuracy – with the margin reduced to 27 at the final change.

Quarter four

In previous weeks, the Blues found themselves in the lead but with the game still in the balance at three-quarter time: it was no different in Round 15. And once again, the Blues took it home. Matthew Kennedy kicked things off with a 50-yard penalty and the Blues didn’t let up from there. Kennedy, Cripps and Walsh led the charge in the final term with the midfielders collecting 11, 13 and 11 disposals respectively as the Blues took the game from the Cats. Continuing their trend of running away in final terms, the Blues – who kicked 1.6 in the third – turned the tables on 9.1 in the final quarter, averaging just seven goals in the last four weeks in the final quarter alone. Blake Acres’ effort was indicative of the Blues’ temper, fighting until the final siren to stop a Geelong goal with the game over as a contest on the scoreboard. The unanimous highlight of the quarter came from Lachie Cowan, the first-year Blue producing a memorable first goal for his boyhood club as more than 75,000 at the MCG cheered a big Carlton win.

CARLTON 5.3 11.5 12.11 21.12 (138)
GEELONG 2.2 5.5 8.8 11.9 (75)

GOALS
Carlton: Curnow 5, McKay 3, Owies 3, Cincotta 2, Acres, Cowan, De Koning, E.Hollands, O.Hollands, Kennedy, Newman, Walsh

THE BEST
Carlton: Cripps, De Koning, Weitering, Newman, Walsh, Curnow, Kennedy