|Sunday 16th May, 2021 (3.20 pm).
|Lost by 26 points.
|H. McKay 3.0, E. Betts 1.3, M. Owies 1.2, L. Casboult 1.0, M. Gibbons 1.0, M. Murphy 1.0, M. Pittonet 1.0, L. Stocker 1.0, Z. Williams 0.1, W. Setterfield 0.1, Rushed 0.1.
|Chris Donlon, Cameron Dore, Simon Meredith
|D. Cunningham (knee), H. McKay (shoulder).
Melbourne's unbeaten run continues with a 26-point drubbing of Carlton - Riley Beveridge
Carlton has fallen by 26 points against Melbourne at the MCG.Despite the best efforts of leaders Sam Docherty, Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps, Melbourne broke the game open in the third quarter to ultimately prevail by four goals. Harry McKay once again hit the scoreboard with three goals, while Nic Newman emerged unscathed in his first game in nearly a year. An early knee injury to David Cuningham was the sour note for Carlton, who will look to rebound when it returns to the MCG next weekend to when it hosts Hawthorn.
McDonald was at the centre of everything as Melbourne kept Carlton at a constant arm's length in a comfortable 26-point victory at the MCG. His three goals came from 18 disposals and five marks and included 10 score involvements in another commanding display. He had come to life when Melbourne needed him, booting all three of his majors in a spell where the Demons kicked six of seven goals on either side of quarter time. It helped turn an early 12-point deficit into a 19-point lead late in the half.
The manner in which he then involved himself in a much higher role afterwards then set the tempo for another workmanlike Melbourne victory, this one to a rather stress-free 13.16 (94) to 10.8 (68) scoreline. Carlton, at the other end, had spent long periods kicking aimlessly to the advantage of Melbourne pair Jake Lever and Steven May. The brilliant defensive duo continued their fine start to the season, combining for nine marks and 15 intercepts. Rain lashed the MCG at the long break, but it didn't deter the Demons. Rather, smaller options in the form of Bayley Fritsch (three goals) and Ed Langdon (24 disposals, one goal) joined the party to extend the lead to 31 points. Harry McKay, determined to keep his advantage atop the Coleman Medal leaderboard intact, kicked consecutive majors – one from the goal line and one from beyond 50m – to finish with three for the afternoon and keep a Blues pulse beating into the final term. The big forward had played through an early shoulder issue, with his efforts perhaps inspired by Patrick Cripps. His co-captain was among Carlton's best, finishing with 27 disposals, seven clearances and 11 tackles in the wake of his own recent injury concerns. But it was never going to be enough for the Blues. Clayton Oliver (29 disposals, 10 tackles, one goal) and Christian Petracca (27 disposals, eight clearances) would overwhelm Cripps and his supporting cast, as the Demons cruised to victory.
Matthew Owies got the ball rolling from a Carlton perspective, answering Bayley Fritsch's opener at the other end. Medical sub Michael Gibbons received an earlier-than-expected call-up after David Cuningham sustained a left knee injury in the opening minute of the game. Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow led the way from a physicality point of view, while Liam Jones took the points early in his tussle with fellow Tasmanian Ben Brown. Carlton's forward pressure had them in the game early, best demonstrated with Eddie Betts' first goal of the day from an intercept and snap. Marc Pittonet slotted a handy goal as he looked to take the game to Max Gawn, but three late goals from Melbourne on the back of its transition from defence to attack saw the hosts take a seven-point lead into the first change.
The quarter started with some end-to-end play before Melbourne hit the scoreboard through Fritsch as the Blues couldn’t lock the ball in their 50 long enough to convert. In a more-advanced role, Sam Docherty was dynamic with and without the ball, accumulating 16 possessions to half time. The co-captain was the provider for milestone man Levi Casboult's first goal of the day. Marc Murphy got going with nine second-quarter possessions, but the Blues struggled to find a match for Tom McDonald who had three goals to his name by half time. An assist from Sam Walsh saw Liam Stocker kick his first AFL goal, before Harry McKay - who battled manfully through a shoulder injury - bobbed up with his first of the day. However, a late Jayden Hunt goal extended the margin to 13 points at the main change.
The rain started falling at half time, leaving the two sides coming back to slippery conditions. Despite losing the hitouts, Carlton led the clearances, but turnovers in dangerous positions saw the ball quickly leave their half. Cripps’ tackling effort was strong for his side, as the Blues were able to lock the ball in their forward half in wet conditions but unable to get the score on the board. The lack of scoreboard pressure proved costly when the Demons piled on three consecutive goals, before two majors in quick succession to Harry McKay looked to have the Blues back in the contest. Adam Saad was composed with his ball use, but the Blues struggled to get passed the twin defensive towers of Jake Lever and Steven May. Another late goal had the Blues needing to overcome a 26-point deficit at the final break.
Nic Newman was solid in his first game back, holding up well against a barrage of Melbourne forward entries to end the day with 20 disposals (14 kicks). Melbourne got on the front foot in the final term, forcing turnovers and spending the majority of the time in the forward half as it looked to ice the contest. Murphy added to his career highlight reel with a classy goal from the pocket, while Liam Jones was moved to the forward line to provide another marking option after keeping Ben Brown to just three marks and one behind. It would end as a 26-point defeat for Carlton when the siren blared around the MCG.
Dees lift as heavyweight showdown looms
Melbourne must have seen what the Western Bulldogs put down on Saturday night. Barely 12 hours after the high-flying Dogs accounted for fellow premiership fancies Port Adelaide, the Demons returned serve to stretch their unbeaten start to the season to nine matches for the first time since 1956 on Sunday. The comfortable victory over Carlton would prove significant, as Melbourne passed another test in the weeks leading up to that heavyweight battle against the Western Bulldogs in a fortnight's time. Beat the reigning 'wooden spooners' in Adelaide next week and the Dees will be 10-0 heading into that round 11 bout at Marvel Stadium. It will make for a mouth-watering occasion.
Blues relent as Williams heads back
Carlton played a few mind games as to where prized recruit Zac Williams would line up on Sunday, starting him on a wing before immediately rolling him to half-back. It's where he would feature for the remainder of the game, returning to a position that became natural to him at previous club Greater Western Sydney. Although it perhaps appeared out of necessity with David Cuningham – who started at half-back – subbed out of the match within five minutes due to a knee injury, a return to the backline had been pre-planned by the Blues. His role change came after criticism of his impact through the midfield to start his Carlton career, with Williams finishing the defeat to Melbourne with 19 disposals.
Three things from the game:
1.The Blues brought the heat against the Demons, but it was their lack of polish on the big stage which cost them on Sunday afternoon. Carlton amassed its highest tackle tally of the season with 76 in a physical encounter at the MCG, with 21 of those coming inside 50. However, something which had been their strong suit in recent weeks - turning inside 50s into scores - was what was lacking against the undefeated Melbourne (18 scoring shots from 53 inside 50s).
2.It was a welcome sight for Carlton supporters to have Nic Newman back in the line-up, who provided his touch of class in possession as well as his experience behind the ball. It was just the start after a lengthy injury layoff, but finishing with 20 disposals and rebound 50s was a box ticked for the left-footed defender.
3.Lachie Fogarty continued to add to his impressive early form in Navy Blue. Finishing with 23 disposals, six inside 50s and six clearances, Fogarty relished the opportunity of more midfield minutes after the unfortunate early injury to David Cuningham. He was one of four Blues who ended the game with six or more tackles, with Patrick Cripps (11) leading the way in that aspect.
Moment of the match:
It’s hard to go past your first goal in Navy Blue. In his ninth game, Liam Stocker's maiden major in the big time showed the class which the former Sandringham Dragon possesses. Getting the end of a handball receive from fellow 2018 draft class member Sam Walsh, Stocker's instinctive right-foot snap sailed straight over the goal umpire's hat.
Best: P. Cripps, S. Docherty, S. Walsh, Z. Williams, A. Saad.
|24 Nic Newman
|14 Liam Jones
|20 Lachie Plowman
|42 Adam Saad
|23 Jacob Weitering
|28 David Cuningham
|46 Matthew Cottrell
|9 Patrick Cripps (c)
|6 Zac Williams
|15 Sam Docherty (c)
|41 Levi Casboult
|8 Lachie Fogarty
|19 Eddie Betts
|10 Harry McKay
|44 Matt Owies
|27 Marc Pittonet
|18 Sam Walsh
|35 Ed Curnow
|3 Marc Murphy
|13 Liam Stocker
|26 Luke Parks
|43 Will Setterfield
|40 Michael Gibbons
|12 Tom De Koning
|32 Jack Newnes
|36 Josh Honey
Medical Sub.: Michael Gibbons (replaced David Cunningham) in the first quarter)
In; Marc Murphy, Nic Newman, Will Setterfield
Out: Jack Silvagni (concussion), Jack Newnes (omitted), Sam Petrevski-Seton (omitted).
First Goal: Liam Stocker
8 - Tom McDonald (MELB)
6 - Jake Lever (MELB)
4 - Sam Walsh (CARL)
1 - Christian Salem (MELB)
1 - Sam Docherty (CARL)
2 - Tom McDonald (MEL)
1 - Sam Walsh (CAR)
Sam Docherty 8, Sam Walsh 6, Harry McKay 5, Lachie Plowman 5, Patrick Cripps 5, Eddie Betts 4, Ed Curnow 4, Lachie Forgarty 4, Adam Saad 4, Zac Williams 3, Marc Murphy 3, Nic Newman 3, Matt Owies 2, Marc Pittonet 2, Levi Casboult 1, Will Setterfield 1
Round 8 | Round 10