|Date:||Sunday 2nd May, 2021 (3.20 pm).|
|Result:||Won by 16 points.|
|Crowd:||57, 447 (COVID limited to 75% cap.)|
|Goalkickers:||H. McKay 4.2, E. Betts 3.0. M. Owies 3.0, D. Cuningham 2.1, L. Fogarty 2.0, P. Cripps 1.1, E. Curnow 1.1, S. Walsh 1.1, M. McGovern 1.0, A. Saad 1.0, J. Newnes 0.1, Rushed 0.2.|
|Reports:||Mitch McGovern, Carlton, has been charged with Striking (Fixed Financial Sanction) Nick Hind, Essendon, during the third quarter (on two separate occasions). In summary, he can accept a $1500 sanction with an early plea.|
|Umpires:||Ray Chamberlain, Robert Findlay, John Howorth.|
|Injuries:||P. Dow (eye), M. McGovern (hamstring)|
Game ReviewBlues stage stunning comeback to down Dons
Carlton has clawed back victory from Essendon after a shaky start - Callum Twomey / Rose Zarucky.
Carlton enjoyed its 250th outing against the arch rival with a 16-point win at the MCG. It was a high-scoring, entertaining affair at the home of football, with the Blues overturning what was at one stage a 20-point deficit to storm home in front of 57,447 people. Sam Walsh continued his brilliant form with another best-on-ground showing, while Harry McKay produced four second-half goals to steer the Blues to their third win of the season.
Essendon came out of the gates fast, able to move the ball quickly and create opportunities in its forward 50. A contested grab from Mitch McGovern saw the Blues slot their first of the day, while Adam Saad provided some classy rebounding against his former side as well as kicking his first goal for his new club at a critical time. Sam Walsh continued his exemplary form with an impressive snap on goal, while Luke Parks showed some aggressive play across half back as well as some of his revered aerial work. However, it was the Bombers who took the bragging rights in the opening term, putting their foot on the pedal with six goals in the opening term. It was tough to contain Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who he kicked three first-quarter goals, finding space and gaps in Carlton’s defensive structure.
The second quarter picked up where it left off, with Essendon having two scoring opportunities in quick succession. Paddy Dow’s clearance work was a bright spot for the Blues, before an incidental collision saw the youngster subbed out due to an eye injury (replaced by Sam Petrevski-Seton). A goal from Cuningham stopped the Bombers' scoring run after the hosts had kicked out to a 20-point lead. Jack Newnes was strong in transition while Michael Gibbons and Harry McKay moved up the ground to lend a hand. Matt Owies slotted his first career goal and a massive sprint from Saad resulted in Betts’ second goal of the day. It was a slog in the centre with neither side able to get the ball squared away in their half, but an outside 50 goal from Curnow saw the Blues within two points at half time. The panic button was about to sound at Carlton. Trailing Essendon by 21 points midway through the second quarter of Sunday's clash between the fierce rivals, the Blues' were staring down a 2-5 start to their season with their finals hopes getting more faint by the minute. Enter Adam Saad. With his every disposal relentlessly booed, the Bomber-turned-Blue ignited his new club's charge with a critical period of play that brought the Blues back into the game. When Carlton reviews its 16-point win this week, it will doubtless win plaudits from coach David Teague. The Blues' exciting 19.9 (123) to 16.11 (107) win over a youth-driven Bombers' line-up is unlikely to see them rocket into top-four conversations. But their come-from-behind victory, sealed by a left-foot snap from fellow recruit Lachie Fogarty halfway through the last quarter, will relieve the immense pressure facing the club had the result been flipped.
Carlton's ascendancy in the third term came on the back of the good work from Ed Curnow, who put the clamps on Bombers star Zach Merrett who was influential in the first half. Curnow contributed 11 disposals in the third quarter while restricting Merrett to just three. McKay kicked things off for the Blues, slotting the first goal of the quarter and his first of the day after an impressive contested mark, while Owies' second and third career goals came in quick succession. Liam Jones' defensive efforts kept the Blues out of trouble, while Lachie Fogarty received some reward for effort with a running goal. Carlton's response to Essendon taking back the lead was immediate as things got heated in a pulsating third quarter. McKay was a focal point in attack as the Blues locked the ball in their forward half, with the intercept work of Jones and Weitering on full display. The Blues took an 11-point lead into the final change.
The contest got physical quickly as both sides played some desperate footy. Jake Stringer put the pressure on with an early goal as turnovers were costly for Carlton in the middle. Petrevski-Seton’s work-rate was efficient, while Walsh continued to be involved in nearly every play. Newnes had some important disposals, creating opportunities while goals from Fogarty and McKay gave Carlton some breathing space. The Bombers were up for the fight, but Carlton’s defence was resolute as its opponents surged forward. Two consecutive goals to McKay (four for the day) opened up a handy buffer, before a true captain’s goal from Patrick Cripps all but iced the contest. Some late Essendon goals only serves as consolation as the Blues came home with a 16-point win.
And it looked like heading that way as the Bombers jumped out of the blocks with an exhilarating first term. The high-scoring end-to-end clash was up for grabs when Jake Stringer booted the opening goal of the final term to put Essendon within four points, but Carlton's next four goals sealed their third win of the season and should restore some confidence to a shaky start to 2021. Saad (21 disposals) had impact with his touches – Essendon should have known better than anyone his ability to damage off half-back and spent more time trying to limit him – but Sam Walsh was irrepressible, with the emerging superstar gathering 33 disposals and eight clearances as Carlton got on top in the midfield. Patrick Cripps (24, one goal) grew into the game as did Ed Curnow (26), who also helped shut down Zach Merrett in the second half, while Harry McKay kicked four goals. Following his best-on-ground performance against Essendon last season, David Cuningham was also important with 25 disposals and two goals.
But the win could come at a cost, with forward Mitch McGovern limping from the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the final minutes. Essendon, largely outplayed after quarter-time, wouldn't have lost many fans as it regenerates its list on the run as a number of its youngsters impressed. But they will have hoped for more after slamming on six goals in the first quarter. The Bombers were slick out of the centre early and Carlton couldn't handle Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, whose three opening-term goals saw them jump to a 14-point lead. When Harrison Jones marked strongly and kicked his second goal midway through the second quarter the Bombers had extended their lead to 20 points, but Carlton ground their way back into the contest.
A brutal Luke Parks tackle stopped McDonald-Tipungwuti in his tracks near goal and set up a goal for Eddie Betts at the other end before Curnow slotted a flying shot to get the Blues back within two points at half-time. Carlton looked set to run away with the game when the Blues stormed through three of the first four goals of the third quarter to take a 16-point advantage but again the Bombers responded, with McDonald-Tipungwuti's toe-poke helping Essendon regain the lead. But the Blues again went full throttle, booting three of the next four for the term to head into the final break up by 11 points. The shootout continued – another nine goals were kicked in the final term – but in a game of firepower, Carlton had just a little too much weaponry.
Three things from the game:
1. It was a day that young trio Matthew Owies, Luke Parks and Liam Stocker won't forget anytime soon. Owies produced a cameo three-goal performance in his first game at the MCG, while Parks' physicality was on full display during his opening hitout at the home of football. Then, there was Stocker, who enjoyed his first AFL win nearly two years after making his debut.
2. Adam Saad was up for the challenge against his old side. Playing arguably his best game for the Blues so far, Saad’s class, speed and efficiency was on show at the MCG despite the hostile crowd. All of Saad's disposals were met with boos from the opposition crowd, which meant there was plenty of noise: he finished with 21 disposals, a goal and three goal assists.
3. It was the result the Blues were looking for. After lapses proved costly in games against Port Adelaide and Brisbane, it looked like Carlton supporters at the MCG would be in for a long day as Essendon piled on six first-quarter goals in an entertaining term. The Blues' ability to get the game played on their terms and in their half was crucial, with a five-goal stretch either side of half time crucial in the 16-point triumph.
Moment of the match:
Followers of Carlton's VFL side know that Matt Owies is no stranger to kicking goals, having been one of Carlton’s leading goal-kickers in the competition in previous seasons. However, he hadn't kicked a goal in his solitary game last season, but they all came in a rush on Sunday. After hitting the scoreboard in the second term at a crucial term, Owies stood up in the third term to take his tally to three for the day. Slotting his first career goal was definitely a highlight for Owies and the crowd, but then he followed it up with two more and provided plenty of forward pressure, making it a day to remember for the young forward.
Saad's big say
Adam Saad's first possession in the opening minute of the game was met with resounding boos from Essendon fans and they continued with every touch the Carlton recruit picked up in his first game against his former side. Saad would have expected that and found a way to silence them later in the first quarter when he pushed forward to kick a long goal from outside-50. Saad, who was matched up with the red-hot Archie Perkins early in the game, was involved in plenty of Carlton's attacking plays and had six score involvements in the half. He continued to influence with his line-breaking run and kicking.
Betts' big response
Questions had fairly started to be asked of Eddie Betts' spot in Carlton's side after two goalless games and only two majors from four appearances this season. But one of the great small forwards of all time proved that, when on song, he still has a role to play to spark the Blues. Betts had some electric moments against the Bombers, finishing with three goals from 13 disposals. The 34-year-old, in his second year back at the Blues, was a threat throughout, proving too quick for the Bombers' defenders. His set shot from a tight angle in the third quarter was a big moment in the Blues' win.
Best: S. Walsh, A. Saad, E. Curnow, D. Cuningham, P. Cripps, J. Weitering, D. Cunningham, H. McKay..
|B:||20 Lachie Plowman||14 Liam Jones||42 Adam Saad|
|HB:||13 Liam Stocker||23 Jacob Weitering||15 Sam Docherty (c)|
|C:||28 David Cuningham||9 Patrick Cripps (c)||46 Matthew Cottrell|
|HF:||35 Ed Curnow||11 Mitch McGovern||40 Michael Gibbons|
|F:||41 Levi Casboult||10 Harry McKay||19 Eddie Betts|
|Ruck:||27 Marc Pittonet||18 Sam Walsh||2 Paddy Dow|
|Interchange:||8 Lachie Fogarty||26 Luke Parks||32 Jack Newnes|
|44 Matt Owies|
|Medical Substitute||5 Sam Petrevski-Seton|
|Emergencies:||7 Matthew Kennedy||43 Will Setterfield||31 Tom Williamson|
Medical Sub.: Sam Petrevski-Seton (replaced Paddy Dow in the second quarter)
In; Luke Parks, Matthew Owies, Paddy Dow
Out: Zac Wiliams, Marc Murphy, Matthew Kennedy (omitted).
Milestones100 Games: Jacob Weitering
First Goal: Matt Owies, and kicked his personal best of 3 goals
First Goal (Carlton): Adam Saad
First Win: Liam Stocker played in his first win for the Blues after his previous six games were losses
Games Milestones: 250th Game between Carlton and Essendon
Interesting FactsGoal kicking spread: This was the first time since Round 19, 2019 vs Crows that the Blues have had at least 10 goalkickers within the same game (11 that game).
iHigh scores: This is Carlton's highest score since Round 16, 2014, this round's Carlton players, Levi Casboult and Ed Curnow also played in that 2014 match.
AFLCA Votes10 - Sam Walsh (CARL)
8 - Jacob Weitering (CARL)
5 - Jake Stringer (ESS)
3 - Andrew McGrath (ESS)
2 - Cale Hooker (ESS)
1 - Archie Perkins (ESS)
1 - Adam Saad (CARL)
Brownlow Votes3 - Sam Walsh (CAR)
2 - Ed Curnow (CAR)
1 - Andrew McGrath (ESS)
Best & Fairest VotesSam Walsh 12, Jacob Weitering 12, Harry McKay 8, Eddie Betts 8, Matt Owies 8, Ed Curnow 7, Adam Saad 7, Matthew Cottrell 6, David Cuningham 5, Lachie Plowman 4, Patrick Cripps 4, Mitch McGovern 4, Marc Pittonet 4, Lachie Forgarty 4, Michael Gibbons 4, Jack Newnes 3, Sam Petrevski-Seton 3, Sam Docherty 2, Liam Stocker 2
Round 6 | Round 8