|Date:||Sunday April 23, 2023 (3.20 pm).|
|Result:||Lsot by 22 points.|
|Goalkickers:||C. Curnow 3.3, J. Silvagni 2.3, H. McKay 1.2, C. Durdin 1.0, A. Cerra 1.0, P. Cripps 0.2, Z. Fisher 0.1, Rushed 0.1.|
|Reports:|| Jesse Motlop received a one-match ban for a sling tackle Dougal Howard in the third quarter, it was assessed to be careless, high contact and medium impact, triggering a one-game ban.
Lewis Young was cited for a strike on Mason Wood and received a $2000 fine with an early plea.
|Umpires:||Alex Whetton (19), Simon Meredith (21), Nathan Williamson (22), Nathan Toner (25)|
St Kilda's golden start to Ross Lyon’s second stint as coach has continued with a hard fought 22-point triumph over Carlton to consolidate top spot on the ladder. After 11 lead changes in a see-sawing opening two-and-a-half quarters, the Saints broke clear with three-straight goals to end the third term. Carlton kicking the first major of the last quarter gave the pro-Blues crowd at Marvel Stadium some hope of hauling in the 21-point deficit, but young utility Mitch Owens' long bomb soon after steadied St Kilda. The Saints move to 5-1 with the 12.10 (82) to 8.12 (60) triumph, returning to the winners' list after last week’s six-point defeat to Collingwood. After going undefeated in the opening month of the season, the Blues have dropped two straight matches, starting with their 56-point thumping against Adelaide last week. Despite dominating possession, Carlton was made to pay for its inaccuracy in front of goal in a performance that will have frustrated coach Michael Voss. Harry McKay, who won the Coleman Medal in 2021, was wayward all day and missed two shots in a minute during a crucial period in the third quarter.
Around the same time, fellow Blues forward Jack Silvangi missed a sitter, after a fortunate 50-metre penalty, to drain the life out of any Carlton surge. The Blues had the six leading possession-winners on the ground, headlined by Adam Cerra (39) and Sam Walsh (38), but St Kilda’s defensive system and pressure again held up. Defence has been a hallmark of Lyon's coaching career and this Saints team is no exception, conceding an average of just 59.5 points per game this season. In a major plus for the Saints, they should only get better the longer the season goes as they regain more players from the injury list. Versatile forward Tim Membrey was lively early in his first game of the season, but captain Jack Steele looked well below his brilliant best after returning from a broken collarbone suffered against the Western Bulldogs in round two. Star full-forward Max King should be able to play a role in the second-half of the season as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction. St Kilda has a five-day turnaround before hosting Port Adelaide next Friday night, while the Blues fly to Perth to face struggling West Coast on Saturday night.
Big guns need some cover from the infantry
Having the two most recent Coleman medalists in the forward line should make facing Carlton a defensive nightmare for opposition teams, but the reverse may be the case. Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay were individually impressive against St Kilda, yet they make the Blues' attack predictable, as Carlton's low points-for column suggests. It's a lot harder to work out where the Saints' goals are coming from without a recognised focal point, a situation created as much by Max King's long-term injury as any conscious planning. Michael Voss needs more from his small forwards and attacking midfielders if he’s going to find a way to September this year.
'Cin-cin' to the Blues newest, and oldest, addition
It took a while for Alex Cincotta to get his chance at AFL level, but when it finally came he grabbed it with both hands. The 26-year-old was picked up by the Blues in the Supplementary Selection Period after winning the club’s VFL best and fairest in 2022 and then impressing through pre-season training, with strong early season form at state league level seeing him handed a jumper when Adam Saad was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Cinchona immediately looked comfortable at the level and finished with 24 disposals at 92 per cent efficiency. Saad will be an automatic inclusion when fit, but if Cincotta can maintain his form he might not be the player to stand aside.
Best: P. Cripps, H. McKay, N. Newman, A. Cerra, S. Walsh, C. Curnow.
Carlton has fallen by 22 points to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium. After dominating the first half without scoreboard return, the Blues were outgunned in the second half, conceding six of eight second-half goals. In his 100th game, Adam Cerra was Carlton's best with 39 disposals and a goal, but the Blues were left to rue wastefulness going forward on a day where they had control of the Sherrin from the outset.
It was back and forth from the outset on a quick deck at Marvel Stadium. After the ball lived in St Kilda's forward half for the opening six minutes, Carlton was able to reset, with an opportunistic goal from Jack Silvagni putting the Blues on the board. Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay also typically contributed majors under the Marvel Stadium roof, while Sam Walsh produced an electric start with 14 disposals in the first term alone. The play spent a fair bit of time in Carlton's defensive half, but the likes of Nic Newman and Lewis Young were able to hold firm: heading into the second quarter, the Blues held a narrow two-point lead.
It was another even quarter, but it was largely defined by Carlton not making the most of its opportunities. With seven lead changes to half time, it was goal for goal, but the Blues had the territory in the second term as opposed to the first. Jacob Weitering took the role on the dangerous Tim Membrey and performed strongly, totalling eight marks at the half-time break. However, some wasteful forward entries for the Blues were constantly, as was the inability to convert in front of goal when opportunities presented. A quick one-two from Curnow took his tally to three for the game, while Corey Durdin continued with his typically manic play, with a crumb and snap getting the Blues' noses back in front at the half.
It was all the Saints in the third term, as they kicked five goals to the Blues’ one. Carlton missed key opportunities in front of goal in the early going, with its opposition making the hosts pay come three-quarter time. Adam Cerra showed composure in his 100th game, slotting a clever goal to round out an impressive individual showing, but that was the best it got for the Blues in the third term. Patrick Cripps attempted to will his team back into the game at the contest with his physical pressure, but as the Saints started to get on top, the damage was inflicted on the scoreboard. Carlton was left to negotiate a 21-point deficit at the final change.
Looking for fresh legs, Lochie O'Brien was subbed into the game for Ed Curnow at the final change. A free kick and true set shot from Jack Silvagni in the opening minute of the term gave the Blues a glimmer of hope, but a counter-attack goal from Mitch Owens moments later took some life out of the Blues. Blake Acres continued to run willingly in all areas of the ground, often mopping up on the last line to record a career-high 36 disposals, but the Blues were unable to generate the offensive ball movement required to get themselves back in the contest. Cerra and Walsh continued their prolific work around the clearances while Cripps finished with 22 contested possessions, but come the final siren, the Blues fell by 22 points to the ladder leaders.
Best: A. Cerra, S. Walsh, P. Cripps, H. McKay, B. Acres.
With Coleman medallists Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay getting service from Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra, it's hard to believe Carlton has the lowest points-for tally of the top-10 teams on the ladder and even sits behind the massively undermanned West Coast. McKay and Curnow are superstars and were again among their side's best against St Kilda, but when the twin towers can’t finish the job themselves, there are too few others who can. Michael Voss needs his star midfielders to hit the scoreboard and his small forwards do more than just provide tackle pressure in the front half otherwise this year will finish like last - big on individual plaudits but short of team success. – Howard Kimber
|B:||33 Lewis Young||23 Jacob Weitering||24 Nic Newman|
|HB:||39 Alex Cincotta||11 Mitch McGovern||13 Blake Acres|
|C:||18 Sam Walsh||9 Patrick Cripps (c)||14 Oliver Hollands|
|HF:||25 Zac Fisher||10 Harry McKay||1 Jack Silvagni|
|F:||19 Corey Durdin||30 Charlie Curnow||3 Jesse Motlop|
|Ruck:||27 Marc Pittonet||29 George Hewett||5 Adam Cerra|
|Interchange:||7 Matthew Kennedy||35 Ed Curnow||36 Josh Honey|
|26 Lachlan Cowan|
|Substitute:||4 Lochie O'Brien|
|Emergencies:||20 Lachie Plowman||17 Brodie Kemp||12 Tom De Koning|
In; Alex Concotta, Mitch McGovern
Out: Adam Saad (hamstring), Tom De Koning (managed), Lachie Plowman (omitted)
Substitute: Lochie O’Brien (replaced Ed Curnow in the fourth quarter).
100 Games (AFL): Adam Cerra
Blake Acres had a career-high of 36 possessions.
7 - Patrick Cripps (CARL)
6 - Adam Cerra (CARL)
3 - Bradley Hill (STK)
2 - Dan Butler (STK)
1 - Rowan Marshall (STK)
1 - Sebastian Ross (STK)
Round 5 | Round 7