Carlton defeated Essendon by 3 points after a record comeback - MCG

Round 3, 2007

Carlton2.1138.7 5515.1110118.17125
Essendon7.95112.138513.16 9417.20122
Venue: MCG
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 Review

This 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
Coach: Denis Pagan
Emg: 26 Joe Anderson 13 Luke Blackwell 23 Adam Hartlett


Score Records: This comeback was Carlton's second best comeback from quarter time and amongst our top 10 comebacks from half time

Brownlow Votes

3. Brendan Fevola, Carlton
2. Heath Scotland, Carlton
1. James Hird, Essendon

Best and Fairest Votes

Brendan Fevola 25, Heath Scotland 19, Andrew Carrazzo 9, Adam Bentick 8, Ryan Houlihan & Marc Murphy 7


Einstein on the Wing

Ah, Sweet Mysteries of Life (at last I found yoooouuu!)

Older Digs and Bluebelles might remember the comedian called Jack Benny.

One of his trademark lines is my advice to the Blue Boys this week: “Now cut that out!”

There I was after 20-odd minutes of the first counting my heartbeats and wondering if I should break last week’s record and leave after the quarter and beat the traffic. More to the point, I felt like walking into the traffic. I wondered if a tram running over my wizened face would ironically alleviate my pain.

But like the Erratics, I persevered.

The second quarter began and I sat with my head in my hands muttering “Oy vay” which is Yiddish and loosely translated, “Only this far Gott. No farther.”

And then the lights in the Fulfillment Centre Stadium came on the Blue Boys woke up. A couple of quickies in time on and the horizon did not look that far off.

I spent the long break trying to figure out formulae that could see us coming back but gave up in disgust distracted by the Bomber fans surrounding me and giggling like five- year-old sugar-filled fiends.

Then the third and all thoughts of trams disappeared like Essendon’s skills and my mensch Brendan Jezzavola stated taking to sweet mincey steps that precede surgical cuts of the goal mouth. The boy would make a fine surgeon if only he could stay away from the Galway races.

Twenty minutes in and the only view the Bombers had of the game was our bums leading them to the ball. Now Baggers, bury the burglars alive, mewling and weeping. But no. They had to test an old-man’s heart first. So we passed wind for a quarter or so kicking goal for goal as my blood pressure mounted higher than the southern stand.

However, as I am wont to say, I was never worried.

Looking ‘round I noticed that the Essendon supporters (they all need supporters – athletic supporters) were looking a mite dyspeptic so I offered some friendly advice: “Why don’t you walk all the way home. The foot-ache might ameliorate the headache. What, you expected to win with a measly 48-point lead. Who did you think you were playing – Collingwood?”A diversion. The football field is a place for release rather than meditating on Rune Descartes theorems or critiquing the scholarship of St Thomas Aquinas.

Take mark. Kick ball. Man up. Repeat 15 times until fade out (or take a breather on the bench and release Josh Kennedy to get some more time on the turf)

It was Tom Alvin who provided me with the most profound advice when conducting a footy clinic in 1985. "Keep ya head over the ball" the great one mumbled to me. That was all he said that day.

Deep philosophical statements such as Cogito Ergo Sum never really bothered Tommy Alvin. The only Latin that he knew and embraced for ten years wearing the navy blue was "Mens Sana In Corpore Sano".The Golden Skullcap goes to Mincey Fev Jezzavola. Silvers to Carrazzo. Waite, Stevens and Scotland. A special bronze for the captain for vaguely resembling the Lance of old in the second half.

If you don’t rejoin the club after that effort, you don’t belong on our bandwagon. Call 1300 72 79 81 while membership stocks last. Next week we will foul the Weagles’ nest.

Carna Blues! – Terry Maher, James McCausland and Bryan McCausland.

Mike and Dan

Only the hearts of the cold could not be moved by the heroics of the Blueboys over the weekend. From Scotland’s continual chopping off of leads and hard running, to Lappin’s last quarter spoils and smothers, to Cloke’s attempts to get off the ground concussed, and then to Russell’s last-minute last-gasp last-reach of the fingertip spoil in front of Hird, the Blues moved us all in that comeback win. But only one player can win Mike & Dan’s Play of the Week, and that player this week wins the award not only from a terrific tackle on the dangerous Andrew Lovett with only minutes to go, but for his baulking, running and monstering of one of the games premier forwards, Matthew Lloyd. Setanta ‘Carlos’ o’hAilpin – we want to talk to you! And so we did…

'Carlos Candy' is what they fans are calling it. How'd you learn to baulk like that? Did you learn it from Bryce Gibbs or did he learn it from you?

I used to see players do it on TV when I watched games back in Ireland, Gibbsy did it as well on the weekend, it is a highlight of the game, you know the fans love things like that.

There’s also that last minute tackle on little Lovett. Is it hard tackling the little forward pockets when your arms are coming down from a height many centimetre’s above their head?

Yeah, I have been working on my tackling. He is really quick, I was just happy to get the free kick.

Tell us about the crowd – is it hard to concentrate with 65,000 screaming fans, or can you block it out?

The fans are great, it’s so loud out on the ground, I try to block it out a fair bit. I’m really trying to concentrate out on the ground.

How did you prepare to take on the competition's biggest goal-kicker? Did you watch videos of his games?

I watched a lot of videos; I spoke to T-bird you know, he has played on him before, I did extra work with the Coaches as well. He is one of the best of all time so you know there is a lot of homework to do on him.

It is hard enough trying to understand the umpiring decisions on the weekend as followers of the game all of our lives. Has anyone been able to explain them to you? By the way – we still can’t work many of them out!

Oh you win some you lose some, that’s footy so you can’t worry, just do what you think is right and things will go your way…most of the time … hahaha.

It was very frustrating watching the first half, with the push in the back rule applied to one players and not others. Have you got the hang of that one yet? Is it an advantage that you have being new to the game that some rules from the past don’t hurt you as much?

We have been explained the rules on that, we work them into our training, is it an advantage? I’m not sure.

You were quoted in an Irish newspaper saying Aisake plays in a better position than you do. It's hard to think of a position more important to us than Full Back....

Full Back is a very important position and if I can play my role for the team it’s a benefit to us. Aisake plays a bit in the ruck you know, you’re involved in more of the play, there is always action and I just love being involved in the play.

Speaking of Aisake, how is he coming along? Must be great to have your brother here too?

He is loving it, he is learning like me all the time

Round 2 | Round 4
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