|Venue:||Marvel Stadium, Docklands.|
|Date:||Saturday 21st August, 2021 (7.40 pm).|
|Result:||Lost by 14 points.|
|Crowd:||Nil due to ban on crowds this round due to Covid.|
|Goalkickers:||E. Curnow 4.0, E. Betts 2.0, L. Casboult 2.0, C. Durdin 1.0, Z. Fisher 1.0, M. McGovern 1.0, L. O'Brien 0.2, C. Curnow 0.1, P. Dow 0.1, A. Saad 0.1, Rushed 0.3.|
|Umpires:||Hayden Gavine, Paul Rebeschini, Andrew Stephens.|
|Injuries:||P. Cripps (foot), T. DeKoning (head knock)|
Game ReviewGiants lock in finals as Blues ponder what's to come
Third straight win sees GWS enter finals in form - By Sarah Black / Rose Zarucky.
Greater Western Sydney has locked up a top-eight spot and spoiled Eddie Betts' final game, shaking off a slow start to beat Carlton by 14 points. Zac Fisher set a few butterflies loose when he cut the margin to 13 points in the fourth quarter, but a stunning Callan Ward snap set the Giants to the 12.17 (89) to 11.9 (75) win at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. After conceding a woeful 19 goals straight to Port Adelaide, Carlton – initially boosted by returning skipper Paddy Cripps – was focused and disciplined in the opening stages, while GWS looked as far as it could get from the slick, ruthless outfit which demolished Richmond last week. Cripps had a strange game, finding plenty of the footy, but all 17 of his disposals were handballs and he was subbed out halfway through the third quarter with a foot issue.
The Giants didn't kick their first goal until Daniel Lloyd saluted nearly 28 minutes into the first term, and it was only Carlton's occasional skill errors going inside 50 that prevented the margin from blowing out. There were ominous signs for the Giants at the start of the second, as Levi Casboult combined beautifully with fellow last-gamer Betts, tapping the ball onto the waiting small forward and taking the margin to 19. But on the back of some excellent work from Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto, the Giants began to regain control of the clearances, and the former sold a box of chocolates' worth of candy to three separate Blues to kick a stunning second-term goal.
Zach Sproule's snap a few minutes into the third put the Giants in front for the first time, having been down by one point at half-time, and while not quite a tsunami, it was a decent orange wave that got going, piling on five straight goals. Ed Curnow's third stopped the rot, before his equal career-high fourth cut the margin to eight at the start of the final term. GWS skipper Stephen Coniglio made his return from two weeks off with a toe injury as medi-sub, coming on for a run in the fourth quarter to replace Xavier O'Halloran. Tom De Koning took a stunning speckie in the dying minutes, but hit his head on the turf and was taken from the field on a stretcher.
It was a tough contest with lots of end-to-end play in the first five minutes. The Blues did well to get the ball forward, but once they entered the 50, their composure and clean ball movement was lacking. Carlton moved the ball quickly into the forward line and were rewarded for their effort through Ed Curnow after a superb tackle from Corey Durdin. The Blues did well to overturn the Giants’ possession across half forward, as Sam Walsh and Lochie O’Brien did well to get the wheels in motion. Durdin slotted his first career goal in his second game, being set up by the fancy footwork of fellow second-gamer Brodie Kemp. Patrick Cripps dominated the clearances, instrumental in moving the ball quickly for the Blues. A late goal from the Giants narrowed the margin, with the Blues holding a seven-point lead at the first change.
The Giants charged forward from the bounce, but the Blues' defence - led by Jacob Weitering - played some strong footy. Liam Stocker and Kemp showed class in the back half while Cripps and Walsh battled it out in the clinches, setting up forward 50 entries for the Blues. Levi Casboult slotted an impressive set shot after a strong contested mark while Weitering continued his impressive intercept work in the defensive half. Eddie Betts did what he did best and dribbled through a nice goal with the assist from Casboult. Mitch McGovern helped widen the margin with a goal and Adam Saad used his speed and piercing kick to penetrate the Giants midfield, but another two late goals saw the Giants trail by just one point at the half-time break.
It was all Greater Western Sydney in the first five minutes. The ball was pinned in their forward half and they eventually got reward for effort with a goal from Zach Sproule, seeing them take the lead. Nic Newman continued his strong defensive work as Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield began to trouble Carlton. Zac Fisher, Lachie Fogarty and O’Brien provided some zip along the wing but the Blues struggled to get clean entries into their forward line. Five unanswered goals from the Giants saw the margin blow out, with the Blues struggling to find answers to the star-studded midfield. Paddy Dow was subbed in for Cripps (foot injury), and immediately put his contested ball-winning ability to work. Jesse Hogan and Toby Greene were challenging opponents for the Carlton defence, as they tried desperately to stop the run of Greater Western Sydney. De Koning was kept busy in the ruck as the contest grew heated in the Giants forward line. A late goal from Ed Curnow was just what the Blues needed to end the Giants run and head into the last term strong.
Carlton came out fast out of the gate, able to pin the ball in their forward line and eventually see Ed Curnow slot his fourth goal: an equal career-high. The Blues didn’t make the most of their chances and the Giants took advantage at the other end. Saad and Weitering were strong in the defensive half, but repeat entries started to put the Blues under the pump in the final term. A second goal for Casboult gave Carlton a sniff, and a follow up from Zac Fisher certainly helped the belief heading into the final minutes, but a goal from Cal Ward made the margin too hard to catch: the Blues' misfortunes were then compounded after Tom De Koning was stretchered off following a heavy head knock. A final goal from Betts was fitting, with the champion small forward eventually chaired off amidst a guard of honour. Ed Curnow was a highlight for the Blues, slotting four goals and gathering 25 disposals and nine score involvements.
Thanks for the memories, Eddie Betts
The man traditionally known by his full name ran out for the 350th and final time on Saturday night. Such is the regard he is held in by the competition, GWS wore its Indigenous jumper as a mark of respect for the retiring Betts. It was a fairly quiet game from the champion, who wore boots "decorated" by his kids, but he still finished with two goals. The last one came in the dying minutes, toeing the ball forward before running onto it and kicking truly.
Best: S. Walsh, E. Curnow, M. Kennedy, N. Newman, J. Weitering, L. Stocker.
|B:||24 Nic Newman||23 Jacob Weitering||13 Liam Stocker|
|HB:||42 Adam Saad||20 Lachie Plowman||17 Brodie Kemp|
|C:||32 Jack Newnes||9 Paddy Cripps (c)||4 Lochie O'Brien|
|HF:||35 Ed Curnow||30 Charlie Curnow||36 Josh Honey|
|F:||11 Mitch McGovern||19 Eddie Betts||41 Levi Casboult|
|Ruck:||12 Tom De Koning||7 Matthew Kennedy||18 Sam Walsh|
|Interchange:||8 Lachie Fogarty||25 Zac Fisher||29 Corey Durdin|
|31 Tom Williamson|
|Medical Substitute||2 Paddy Dow|
|Emergencies:||5 Sam Petrevski-Seton||26 Luke Parks||44 Matthew Owies|
Medical Sub.: Paddy Dow replaced Paddy Cripps (foot injury) during the 3rd quarter.
In: Paddy Cripps, Lachie Fogarty
Out: Sam Petrevski-Seton (medi-sub - unused) (omitted), Marc Murphy (retired)
Milestones350 Games (AFL): Eddie Betts
Last Game: Eddie Betts, Levi Casboult
50 Games as Coach: David Teague
Last Game as Coach: David Teague
First Goal: Corey Durdin
50 Goals: Ed Curnow
Interesting FactEd Curnow four goal return equaled his personal best which was achieved in Round 3, 2019 vs Sydney Swans also at Marvel Stadium.
AFLCA Votes9 - Ed Curnow (CARL)
9 - Callan Ward (GWS)
3 - Tim Taranto (GWS)
3 - Harry Perryman (GWS)
3 - Josh Kelly (GWS)
2 - Sam Walsh (CARL)
1 - Jacob Hopper (GWS)
Brownlow Votes3 - Callan Ward (GWS)
2 - Ed Curnow (CARL)
1 - Josh Kelly (GWS)
Best & Fairest VotesEd Curnow 13, Jacob Weitering 9, Nic Newman 9, Sam Walsh 8, Eddie Betts 7, Levi Casboult 7, Liam Stocker 6, Adam Saad 5, Charlie Curnow 5, Mitch McGovern 5, Matthew Kennedy 4, Lochie O'Brien 4, Lachie Forgarty 4, Zac Fisher 3, Brodie Kemp 2, Lachie Plowman 1, Tom De Koning 1, Patrick Cripps 1