|Date: Sat 14 April 2007, 2:10pm||Result: Win by 3 points|
|Umpires: K Nicholls D Sully M Vozzo||Crowd: 64,710|
|Goalkickers: B Fevola 8 M Lappin 3 B Fisher 2 A Walker A Carrazzo E Betts R Houlihan N Stevens 1|
|Reports: Nil||Injuries: C Cloke (concussion)|
Game ReviewThis clash against the Bombers was fittingly part of 'Rivalry Round.' Essendon had won their first 2 games of 2007 against top 4 sides from 2006 and with Carlton coming off a 78 point drubbing at the hands of Geelong the previous week, went in as favourites. Carlton appeared to pick up from where it left off in that game, with the Bombers racing away to lead by as much as 48 points late in the second quarter. But as had occurred throughout the Pre-season and in Round 1, the Blues refused to give in (unlike what tended to happen in 2006) and went on to record a remarkable comeback to beat Essendon by just three points to carry on the recent tradition of close wins against the Bombers against expectation. The comeback from 48 points down was Carlton's greatest in its history and one of the greatest in league history, with only 14 higher. Had it not been for poor kicking, the Bombers might have been even further ahead and at half time had 10 more scoring shots.
Early on, Essendon had too much run for Carlton and with a lead at the first break by a very comfortable looking 38 points, it looked to be how far Essendon. Things didn't get much better at the start of the second quarter either with Essendon adding another goal inside 30 seconds. Ó hAilpín left his man to help out his teammates in a marking contest where he made an effective spoil. But the ball spilled to Essendon hands and an easy pass hit Lloyd goal hanging after he stayed behind the play. After kicking the goal he ran to Setanta and goaded him as the Bombers looked in total command. Carlton, to their credit, slowly edged back into the game and showed some enthusiasm, if not yet genuine fight. Lappin was moved forward and kicked a much needed goal. For much of the second term the Blues were outscoring Essendon only for the Bombers to maintain their edge. However, at the 29 minute mark Whitnall was reintroduced to the game, after sitting out the second quarter to date on the bench, seemingly out of form and he, along with players like Scotland, Carrazzo, Murphy, Stevens and Gibbs were able to provide some quality touches to allow three late goals to the Blues in the final minutes of a marathon 34 minute quarter, including two to a previously wayward Fevola. Carlton went into the main break with a 5 goal deficit.
Carlton's endeavour continued into the third quarter and they were now showing real fight, guts and determination. An early goal to the Blues allowed them to keep their momentum and go on to outscore the Bombers 7 goals to 1 to hit the lead for the first time at the 22-minute mark and end the stanza with a seven point lead: a remarkable feat considering their terrible start to the game. Essendon were looking tired and complacent. Full Forward Brendan Fevola would kick 4 of these on prized Bomber recruit Mal Michael as the forward line sprung to life. In fact, Essendon's only goal in the third came from a mysterious free to Lloyd which wasn't over the shoulder, it wasn't holding on - perhaps Setanta was just too tall for him!
The last quarter was a tough, exciting struggle with both teams fighting out the game to the end. For the neutral fan it would have made great viewing. For many Carlton fans though, their hearts would have been in their mouths as their side had fought so hard for the lead and the fans could only hope the Blues would hang on. Essendon tried manfully and closed out the game with a slight edge in momentum. Both sides wasted opportunities to win the game but in the end Carlton managed to hang on to record a slender three point victory.
It was a fantastic fightback from the Blues who were able to make the Bombers pay for some poor misses, especially when they had control of the first quarter. In truth the game should have been over at that point. Even though Lloyd ended the match with five goals, Setanta Ó hAilpín could still be very proud of his game. Probably the only four quarter performer and his willingness to never give up typifed the resolve needed to get back into the game. Brad Fisher and Matthew Lappin popped up with some very handy goals. Brendan Fevola returned to his 2006 Coleman Medal form to end the game with eight goals, despite looking like the yips from the previous round were going to continue- but once he kicked his first goal he never missed another shot and he was able to repay the vastly improved delivery from midfield. Heath Scotland and Ryan Houlihan were the leading possession getters with 26 and 24 quality disposals respectively and provided plenty of run and rebound from defence and in the midfield.
All in all a great team effort from Carlton in a game that really did live up to being part of the AFL's 'Rivalry Round' and in the end, a win for the true believers. After the game, coach Denis Pagan described it as the most satisfying home-and-away victory of his illustrious career.
In fact, this game is remembered fondly by Carlton fans, and is considered one of our best wins in the Home & Away rounds of the 2000's. For more games like this, please click here.
|B:||29 Heath Scotland||17 Setanta Ó hAilpín||4 Bryce Gibbs|
|HB:||33 Ryan Houlihan||30 Jarrad Waite||32 Bret Thornton|
|C:||2 Jordan Russell||24 Nick Stevens||6 Kade Simpson|
|HF:||14 Brad Fisher||8 Lance Whitnall (c)||44 Andrew Carrazzo|
|F:||34 Simon Wiggins||25 Brendan Fevola||19 Eddie Betts|
|Ruck:||11 Cain Ackland||1 Andrew Walker||3 Marc Murphy|
|Interchange:||7 Adam Bentick||28 Cameron Cloke||5 Josh Kennedy|
|12 Matthew Lappin|
|Emg:||26 Joe Anderson||13 Luke Blackwell||23 Adam Hartlett|
-* NO CHANGE
Score Records: This comeback was Carlton's second best comeback from quarter time and amongst our top 10 comebacks from half time
Brownlow Votes3. Brendan Fevola, Carlton
2. Heath Scotland, Carlton
1. James Hird, Essendon
Best and Fairest VotesBrendan Fevola 25, Heath Scotland 19, Andrew Carrazzo 9, Adam Bentick 8, Ryan Houlihan & Marc Murphy 7
Round 2 | Round 4