|Date: March 31, 1997 (Easter Monday)||Result: Loss by 7 points|
|Umpires: Kennedy, Coates, Callaghan||Crowd: 82,363|
|Goalkickers: L.Whitnall 4, M.Clape 3, S.Camporeale 2, G.Williams, D.Rice, M.McGuane, A.Hamill 1.|
|Best: G.Williams, L.Whitnall, M.Clape, S.Camporeale, A.McKay, A.Christou, B.Ratten.|
|Reports: G.Williams (contact with an umpire) - 9 weeks, R.Olarenshaw (Ess) striking Camporeale - 4 weeks.|
|Injuries: G.Manton (cut head), M.Sexton & S.Camporeale (both concussion)|
Game ReviewA capacity crowd was at the MCG for this Easter Monday clash. Many had to be turned away.
Missing for the Blues were Kernahan (finger tendon injury), Silvagni (hamstring), Spalding, Brown and Pearce. Michael Sexton would be forced out of the game in the first quarter after sustaining concussion, adding to the Blues' defensive woes. Making his debut, in the absence of the Blues' 3 key forwards, was 17-year old Lance Whitnall, son of former Carlton player Graeme Whitnall. He would kick 4 goals from 9 marks and Essendon would end up having to put their top defender Fletcher onto him. Former Magpie Mick McGuane played his first game for the Blues (he would only ever play 2 more games). Carlton were coming off winning the pre-season Ansett Cup.
Essendon began the match with 5 unanswered goals. 2 late goals by Whitnall would reduce the margin to 3 goals at quarter time. The Blues kicked 5 goals to 2 in the second quarter to level the scores at half time. But the Dons struck back with 6 goals to 3 in the third quarter. 2 goals to the Blues at the start of the last quarter would reduce the margin to a goal. It was then goal for goal until the final 3 minutes, when Essendon- 7 points up- decided to play keepings off, to the anger of all Carlton supporters, to try to close down the match and prevent the Blues from scoring. This was the first time that any side had to tried to run the clock down by kicking backwards to loose men. Eventually they were able to goal, though a goal to Carlton on the siren would see them go down by 7 points.
Greg Williams provided plenty of midfield drive with 26 possessions. Ang Christou, with 23 possessions and Andrew McKay, with 22, provided plenty of rebound out of defence. Matt Clape and Dean Rice were effective up forward with 21 possessions each, scoring 3 and 1 goals respectively.
Carlton's disappointing start to the season did not end with the siren however. Greg Williams would get involved in an argument with his opponent Sean Denham shortly after the conclusion of the game. Umpire Andrew Coates attempted to diffuse the situation but Williams appeared to inadvertently push Coates, though his focus was on Denham. The umpire did not believe the incident was worth reporting but the AFL decided to send the matter to the tribunal. They decided to hand out a 9 week suspension. This would end up being fought in the courts as there were no other mechanisms of appeal at the time. A stay was granted, allowing Williams to continue playing for the time being.
Ironically Essendon's Gavin Wanganeen did the very same thing to a boundary umpire in a practice game weeks earlier but escaped without even being cited. The hypocrisy of it all was glaringly obvious & Diesel's 9 week ban for the very same thing seemed harsh.
|B:||34 Ron De Iulio||14 Michael Sexton||5 Andrew McKay|
|HB:||22 Glenn Manton||39 Ang Christou||32 Adrian Whitehead|
|C:||16 Scott Camporeale||43 Anthony Koutoufides||2 Greg Williams|
|HF:||6 Matt Clape||35 Peter Dean||36 Aaron Hamill|
|F:||23 Dean Rice||8 Lance Whitnall||18 Justin Murphy|
|Ruck:||24 Matthew Allan||7 Brett Ratten||21 Craig Bradley (a/c)|
|Interchange:||13 Mil Hanna||31 Mick McGuane||27 Luke O'Sullivan|
Milestones50 Games: Adrian Whitehead
Debut and Rising Star nomination: Lance Whitnall
Debut (Carlton): Mick McGuane
Brownlow Votes3: Dustin Fletcher (ESS)
2: James Hird (ESS)
1: Dean Rice (CARL)
1997 | Round 2