|Date:||Sunday, September 8, 2013|
|Result:||Won by 20 points|
|Goalkickers:||J. Waite, N. Duigan (4), E. Betts (3), J. Garlett, M. Robinson (2), R. Warnock, H. Scotland, C. Judd (1).|
|Umpires:||L. Farmer, S. Meredith M. Nicholls|
Game ReviewAn enormous crowd of 94,690 was shaking the foundations of the MCG when Carlton trailed Richmond by 32 points late in the second quarter of this fiercely-contested Elimination Final. But inspired by their champion Chris Judd, skipper Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and late inclusion Nick Duigan among others, the Navy Blues surged home, kicking 12 goals to Richmond’s three after half-time, to book a Semi Final showdown against Sydney on the following Saturday night.
Continuing an extraordinary fortnight that had seen Essendon disqualified from the finals and eventually replaced by Carlton, the Blues went into this contest against the in-form Tigers as outsiders, with several players under an injury cloud. Chris Judd, Heath Scotland and Brock McLean were added to the squad on selection night, and all three survived the final cut when Andrew McInnes, Nick Duigan and David Ellard were left out. Prior to the teams taking to the field however, two late changes saw McInnes and Duigan recalled in place of Levi Casboult and McLean respectively. Troy Menzel (playing his first final in just his seventh senior match) was handed the responsibility as substitute.
The ground was a sea of colour and a wall of sound greeted an opening bounce that heralded an intense opening term. The unlikely figure of Robbie Warnock kicked the first goal of the match for Carlton from a scrimmage in the goal square, before Tiger midfielder Reece Conca tore a hamstring and limped from the field. Meanwhile, Richmond were playing with greater purpose and intensity and Carlton hearts sank when Mitch Robinson hobbled off with what appeared to be a thigh or groin strain, followed soon afterwards by Matthew Kreuzer with an ankle. To the great relief of the Blues faithful however, neither complaint was assessed as serious, and both players were back on the field when the siren sounded at quarter time with the Tigers up by 8 points.
In the first ten minutes of the second quarter, Carlton lacked discipline and Richmond capitalised on some baffling umpiring decisions to take control in general play, although they didn’t make the most of their numerous scoring chances. The third 50-metre penalty of the game (all to the Tigers) led to their fourth unanswered goal after 15 minutes. They were threatening to take complete control, until Nick Duigan took a strong contested mark and kicked truly for his second major of the match to stop the rot. Still, at half-time Richmond had all the momentum, and led by 26 points.
As the second half began, Carlton fans were clinging to the memory of the Blues’ stirring victory over Port Adelaide a week earlier, and the roars from the stands began swelling ever louder as Chris Judd - obviously less than fully fit - willed himself into the contest and dragged his team along with him. Richmond kicked the first major of the quarter to increase their lead, but quick replies by Jarrad Waite and Jeff Garlett kept Carlton in the contest. Duigan’s third major at the 15-minute mark gave his team belief, and suddenly, the Blues were on a roll.
In the last 15 minutes of the quarter, Warnock and Kreuzer began to dominate the ruck duels, giving Judd, Gibbs and Murphy a free rein through the centre to set up Scotland and Eddie Betts for the Blues’ fourth and fifth goals for the term. Richmond replied, then the surprise packet Duigan plucked another strong mark inside the arc, and kicked truly for his third to put the Blues within 4 points of the Tigers with one quarter to play.
Throughout the game, Mitch Robinson had been crazy brave as ever, throwing his body into every contest and clearing a path for his team-mates. But his brain-fade at the 3-minute mark of the last quarter - when he punched the ball through to deliberately concede a point, and Richmond goaled from the resulting free kick – could have done a lot of harm to his future prospects. However to his credit, Mitch continued to bore in after the ball with even more tenacity, and when he took another big mark and kicked truly six minutes later to put the Blues in front, the ledger had been well and truly squared.
The enormous, emotional roar that greeted Chris Judd’s running goal at the midway point of the last quarter will live long in the memories of this match. So too, will Lachie Henderson’s gutsy mark running with the flight of the ball with five minutes remaining, and Jeff Garlett’s bouncing solo sprint - from the centre square to the goal square - to put an emphatic exclamation mark on the score sheet.
Among the architects of Carlton’s most significant victory since 2011 were Chris Judd, who racked up 25 disposals (15 contested) 6 inside 50s, 4 clearances and a goal. Bryce Gibbs was outstanding with 27 disposals (18 contested) 12 clearances and 5 tackles, while Marc Murphy, Robbie Warnock, Nick Duigan and Jarrad Waite were clear winners for the majority of the match.
This was a great win by the Old Dark Navy Blues, made even sweeter afterwards by the fact that Essendon, Collingwood and Richmond had all been knocked out of flag contention. Awaiting ahead now for Carlton were the reigning premiers Sydney; bruised and heavily beaten by Hawthorn in the first week of the finals, and hosting the Blues on their home turf in a Saturday night Semi Final blockbuster.
Subs:Troy Menzel replaced Andrew McInnes, 12 minutes into the last quarter.
|B:||6 Kade Simpson (VC)||23 Lachie Henderson||40 Michael Jamison|
|HB:||13 Chris Yarran||42 Zach Tuohy||1 Andrew Walker|
|C:||27 Dennis Armfield||4 Bryce Gibbs||29 Heath Scotland|
|HF:||38 Jeffery Garlett||34 Nick Duigan||12 Mitch Robinson|
|F:||8 Matthew Kreuzer||30 Jarrad Waite||19 Eddie Betts|
|Ruck:||11 Robert Warnock||35 Ed Curnow||3 Marc Murphy (Captain)|
|Interchange:||5 Chris Judd||26 Andrew McInnes||28 Tom Bell|
|Substitute:||2 Troy Menzel|
|Emergencies:||14 Brock McLean||41 Levi Casboult||46 David Ellard|
-* Nick Duigan and Andrew McInnes replaced Levi Casboult and Brock McLean in the selected side.
Milestones50 Games: Ed Curnow (all games played while still on the Rookie list).
Attendance: It was the highest attendance of all time at an Elimination Final, breaking another Carlton record from the 2011 Elimination Final.
Interesting Fact: Richmond's score was the same as in their last meeting with Carlton in Round 21, 2013.
Interesting Fact: Mick Malthouse became the first coach to take four different teams into a finals series, the previous three being Footscray, West Coast Eagles and Collingwood.
Interesting Fact: Mick Malthouse equalled the record most wins by a coach in finals history with 27, the same as the legendary Jock McHale. Next are Tom Hafey (24), Kevin Sheedy (23) and Alan Jeans (22).
Interesting Fact:This was the 2nd greatest half-time deficit overcome by Carlton in a finals match, behind the 1970 Grand Final
Interesting Fact: Notwithstanding this great win and a view at the time that we had the Tige's measure, the Tigers would win (at least) the next 7 in a row up to 2018
Best & Fairest VotesBryce Gibbs 9, Nick Duigan 7, Michael Jamison 6, Jarrad Waite 6, Eddie Betts 5, Chris Judd 5, Mitch Robinson 5, Marc Murphy 4, Kade Simpson 4, Robert Warnock 4, Tom Bell 1, Jeffery Garlett 1, Andrew Walker 1
Round 23 | The Semi Final