2024 Pre-Season

Practice Match No.1

Carlton 2.5 17 4.5 29 6.8 44 8.8 56
Geelong 5.1 31 7.4 46 8.5 53 10.13 73
Venue: IKON Park, Carlton.
Date: Thursday February 22, 2024 (11.30 am).
Result: Lost by 17 points.
Crowd: TBA
Goalkickers: H. McKay 2, A. Moir 2, P. Cripps, C. Curnow, O. Hollands, J. Motlop 1.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: TBA
Injuries: Nil.

Match Simulation vs Geelong

Carlton falls short in its first hitout of 2024. - By Cristian Filippo, Carlton Media.

Carlton has completed its first hitout against external opposition for 2024, falling to Geelong by 17 points. On a day where the likes of Adam Saad, Ollie Hollands and Jordan Boyd shone for the Blues, the Melbourne heat and wind made for a scrappy affair at IKON Park with both sides blowing out the cobwebs in their opening match simulation of the year.

Quarter one:
The focal point inside the opening 10 minutes was undoubtedly Harry McKay, who took two strong marks in the early going. His first ended in an opportunistic major to Jesse Motlop, before his drop punt sailed through to give the Blues the opening two of the game. Carlton rotated a host of names through the middle of the ground, including David Cuningham and Ollie Hollands, while McKay also had some minutes in the ruck. Adam Cerra was busy as ever in the middle of the ground, while Elijah Hollands was getting involved pushing high up the ground as a forward. Carlton’s opportunities went begging while Geelong capitalised on its own as Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron became increasingly involved. The Cats kicked five major in a row while the Blues could only muster five straight behinds, ending the first time period 14 points in arrears.

Quarter two:
While the first term was a more high-scoring affair with seven goals, the second quarter was anything but, as the conditions played a big part in a scrappy game of football emerging at IKON Park. With both teams looking to blow out the cobwebs, the play transitioned from end to end, with neither side able to generate meaningful forward entries. Once again some shots on goal went begging for the Blues from set shots, before some selfless play from Charlie Curnow, Matthew Cottrell and Orazio Fantasia all allowed Ashton Moir to slot home the easiest of goals from the line. A similar result followed just a few minutes later, when Tom De Koning assisted Patrick Cripps to convert from close range. Jordan Boyd had some solid moments behind the ball, turning defence into attack, but a pair of late goals ensured Geelong’s handy buffer was reinstated.

Quarter three:
The second half began much the same as the first, with a Harry McKay mark inside 50. Like the first two quarters, the Blues struggled to make the most of their forward entries when they had them, with the blustery conditions at IKON Park not assisting matters. One of Carlton’s bright sparks throughout the course of the afternoon, Ollie Hollands - who continued to combine his usual wing time with some minutes on ball - produced one of the Blues’ brightest moments of the day, sharking the ball and then converting truly when streaming inside 50. In his first Navy Blue outing, Moir doubled up with his second goal, nailing the goal on his left boot after a spillage inside 50. The Blues’ defence improved in the third term, restricting the Cats to just one goal for the quarter, with Adam Saad the heartbeat for the Blues in the back six, with his ability to rebound out of tight spaces drawing the cheers from the Carlton faithful at IKON Park.

Quarter four:
As the rotations came thick and fast on a hot day, midfielder Jack Carroll came into the game for the first time in the fourth term, winning the opening clearance of the quarter. With an 11-point deficit from the last break to bridge, Carlton looked to put its situational training to the test against external opposition, generating some shots on goal but to little avail. The Cats’ two goals in quick succession took the sting out of the contest in searing heat, despite a long-range goal from McKay and a snap from Charlie Curnow bringing the difference back to within two straight kicks. The contest ended with a flurry of Geelong behinds with 17 points the final margin, as Carlton now turns its attention to Melbourne at IKON Park next Wednesday night in its final dress rehearsal before Opening Round.

Hamill on backline mix, match simulation debrief

Who impressed the coaches in Carlton's match simulation against Geelong? - By Cristian Filippo, Carlton Media.

The feedback the team and coaches needed. Carlton assistant coach Aaron Hamill said the team “got what we wanted” from the match simulation with Geelong, which saw the Blues fall by 17 points at IKON Park. Speaking on the Blues’ backline mix, the performances of individuals and the preparation for the season ahead, this is what he had to say.

On the overall outlook on the game:
"We got what we wanted. We got through unscathed and got some feedback around our contest and how we move the ball. Geelong always tests you defensively, so we got some good feedback about that. We had a look at a couple of different structures around personnel and team-wise, so we got what we wanted."

On the performances of Ashton Moir and Orazio Fantasia:
“With these sorts of games, you get a couple of free hits — Ashton is one of them. He’s had a really good block as a first-year player: it stems a little bit from the injury to ‘SOS’, how we can inject Ashton in there. There’ll be some good moments for him . . . He’s certainly got some work to do as a first-year player, of course, but for him to be picked today, we like what he has done and we saw little bits of improvement today which is what we’re after. “We know Orazio is quite clever in front of goal and puts on a lot of pressure for us. He can hit the packs at the right speed and got good footy IQ: we wanted to get him through the game, and he did that. We liked what we saw from him.”

On Harry McKay’s showing up forward and pinch hitting in the ruck:
“We liked him. We know what he does forward of the ball, but he had stints in the ruck which gives us another option. It certainly does give ‘Vossy’ and the coaches another lever to pull with Harry going in there: we liked his follow up and second efforts, plus his ability to stretch the ground at both ends and support. “It’s another good stepping stone for Harry, it just gives us an option.”

On how many markers Zac Williams needs to tick off:
“Not too many. He’s got to get through a couple more milestones physically with what he’s doing, but he’s had an excellent couple of months. We won’t be in any rush with him, but when he’s right and the high-performance team are comfortable with him ticking all the indicators, then we’ll inject him into the game. “He’s not far away, Zac.”

On how the defence fared without Jacob Weitering:
“’Weiters’ is such a dominant force for us back there, but it gives other opportunities with Kemp, Lewis Young - who’s played there quite often for us - and Sam Durdin is another one. They’re still working on that chemistry with ‘Gov’, as those hybrid key backs. “There’s a bit to go to work on, but they’re working on their chemistry and others have to step up without Jacob there.”

On Jordan Boyd’s showing:
“We liked ‘Boydy’. He came in for the prelim against Brissy with very limited prep. That high running back, if we can adding some bounce with him off half-back, because defensively he’s quite sound. “We like what he has to offer there, with him and Adam Saad and Nic Newman around the ball, plus their ability to defend quite strong for us. We’re trying a couple of different mixes, and when Zac’s right, he’ll slot into that as well.”

On where Sam Docherty will play his football in 2024:
“’Doc’ was playing more midfield. He can play in most positions, he’s quite flexible and has a really good understanding of the game. In the midfield, what he does running-wise on the outside, he can also play wing and he’s been an All-Australian defender. “We’ll throw him around where we need to.”

On Ollie Hollands’ pre-season:
“For a second-year player, Ollie has been outstanding for us. His running capability is what sets him apart, he’s got a really good understanding of the game for such a young player. 1”We like him on the wing, we can throw him inside where he’s done a little bit more midfield work with Cerra, Cripps, Walsh, Hewett and Kennedy. It’s a good baptism of fire with him, and if we can keep developing his game, it’s only going to help us long-term. We still want to have him be flexible with us, rather than just pigeonhole him as a winger.”

On how the game played out from a defensive standpoint:
“Stats-wise, they kicked five in the first term and four were from defensive-50 turnovers. We weren’t able to absorb their pressure and they scored off our turnover: it wasn’t transition or actually us having the ball in transition, it was purely from us not absorbing their pressure well. That wasn’t ideal for us, so that gave us some feedback around their pressure and contest work which they’ve been great at for a decade. “The connection part is something we want to keep exploring, particularly off turnover and going fast at the game at the right moments.”

On bringing players in under injury clouds for Opening Round:
“We won’t take any risks. It’s a long year, we ask a lot of the players. There’s always risk management with them, and if that means they’re not right, they won’t play — regardless of the break Round 2 bye. “We need 23 fit ones out there, and if it falls into the category that they’re not right, we’ll hold them off and they won’t play. That’s more of a high performance question around milestones and knowing the player.”

New Blues catch Clarke's eye in match simulation

A number of new Blues impressed Tim Clarke in the practice hitout against Geelong. - By Rose Zarucky, Carlton Media.

Lots to like, better for the run. Carlton midfield coach Tim Clarke was impressed with what he saw from the Blues in their match simulation with the Cats, noting the team's ability to play out in hot conditions will be vital when taking on Brisbane at the Gabba in Opening Round. With the temperature hitting a high of 38 in extremely blustery conditions, it was a battle for the Blues and the Cats alike, but Clarke was grateful for the opportunity to play in a tough climate against a tough opponent. “It’s great to get a game against a quality opposition in Geelong,” Clarke said. “For us, getting conditions like today is terrific because our Round 0 clash is against Brisbane at the Gabba, so the opportunity for us to play in the heat - to be able to absorb what those conditions throw at you - is really good for our group.”

In terms of standouts for Clarke throughout the day, he highlighted a few new faces who were wearing the Navy Blue for the first time. Elijah Hollands and Orazio Fantasia were positives for Clarke, not only throughout the match, but during pre-season as a whole since their arrival at the Club. “For us it was great to see some of the new guys put on the Navy Blue jumper for the first time: Elijah Hollands came in and played a role, Fantasia came in and played a role,” he said. “Both ‘Raz’ and ‘Lij’ have had terrific pre-seasons. They’ve given themselves every opportunity to play early in the season. “They provide really good run and acceleration with our ball movement, and they also provide good leadership. They’ve been in the system for a few years and they’ve made our group better.”

Up forward, Clarke noted the likes of youngster Ashton Moir and Harry McKay as the ones who caught his eye in the front half. Moir and McKay both slotted two goals each, with Clarke saying that both have been putting in diligent and dedicated goalkicking work behind the scenes. “Young Ashton was there up forward, and kicked a couple of goals which is good to see for both us as a Club and the supporters,” he said. “Harry is confident in his process and so are we – he does a power of work on it both physically on the ground but also a lot of work on what the process looks like and his approach to the kick. “He had an impact in multiple roles today, it was good to see.”

Young guns
Carlton's top-30 pick Ashton Moir flashed glimpses of his significant potential in the forward line, staking him claim for an Opening Round debut with two nice crumbing goals on either side of half-time. Geelong's No.11 pick draft pick Connor O'Sullivan started the match on the wing, having trained there across summer. But he also pushed into a more natural role in defence and spent periods of the second half matched against back-to-back Coleman Medal winner Charlie Curnow. Mature-aged recruit Shaun Mannagh only played the second half.

AFL squad:

2. Lachie Cowan, 3. Jesse Motlop, 4. Ollie Hollands, 5. Adam Cerra, 8. Lachie Fogarty, 9. Patrick Cripps, 10. Harry McKay, 11. Mitch McGovern, 12. Tom De Koning, 13. Blake Acres, 14. Orazio Fantasia, 15. Sam Docherty, 16. Jack Carroll, 17. Brodie Kemp, 20. Elijah Hollands, 24. Nic Newman, 28. David Cuningham, 29. George Hewett, 30. Charlie Curnow, 31. Harry Lemmey, 33. Lewis Young, 37. Jordan Boyd, 39. Alex Cincotta, 42. Adam Saad, 43. Ashton Moir, 46. Matthew Cottrell

Notable absentees: Jacob Weitering, Jack Martin, Zac Williams, Jack Silvagni, Sam Walsh, Matthew Kennedy, Caleb Marchbank, Marc Pittonet, Matthew Owies.

VFL squad:

16. Jack Carroll, 25. Jaxon Binns, 31. Harry Lemmey, 34. Rob Monahan, 35. Billy Wilson, 39. Alex Cincotta, 40. Hudson O’Keeffe, 41. Dom Akuei, 43. Ashton Moir, 51. Heath Ramshaw, 52. Liam McMahon, 55. Lachie Young, 56. Flynn Riley, 57. Luke Nelson, 58. Michael Lewis, 60. Blake Kuipers, 62. Hayden Gill, 63. Kristian Ferronato, 64. Archie Stevens, 68. Jess Gedi, 69. Hugo Nosiara, 72. Ollie Badr, 75. Darcy Hogg, 77. Will White, 79. Jack Lefroy

Practice Match No.2

Carlton 2.0 12 4.0 24 8.2 50 10.3 63
Melbourne 5.1 31 9.4 58 12.7 79 15.11 101
Venue: IKON Park, Carlton.
Date: Wednesday February 28, 2024 (6.40 pm).
Result: Lost by 38 points.
Crowd: TBA
Goalkickers: H. McKay 3.1, C. Curnow 3.0, B. Acres 1.1, D. Cunningham 1.0, P. Cripps 1.0, J. Boyd 1.0, L. Fogarty 0.1.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Curtis Deboy, Andrew Stephens, Andre Gianfagna.
Injuries: J. Motlop (toe).

Match Simulation vs Melboume

Blues' pre-season comes to a close

Harry McKay and Adam Saad once again featured prominently in Carlton's pre-season defeat. - By Cristian Filippo, Carlton Media

That marks an end to another pre-season. Carlton’s final dress rehearsal for the 2024 campaign ended in a 38-point defeat at home to Melbourne. Despite the best efforts of Harry McKay (10 marks, three goals) and Adam Saad (26 disposals), the Blues were outgunned in transition by the Dees, who opened the game up in the latter stages of the second quarter and were never headed over the course of the night.

Quarter one
In hot conditions, it was Melbourne which made the fast start, with a Max Gawn goal from long range opening proceedings. It wasn’t long after when Harry McKay picked up from where he left off in last week’s match simulation, taking a clever mark from an Orazio Fantasia inside 50 and converting to level the scores. The Blues were winning the ball at the contest, eclipsing their opponents for both contested possessions and clearances, but it was defending in transition where the Blues were vulnerable, as the Dees kicked five goals in the opening term largely off Carlton turnovers. Another intuitive mark inside 50, this time from Charlie Curnow, ensured Carlton had put a couple on the board, while crucial defensive moments from Adam Saad, Elijah Hollands and Brodie Kemp drew the love from a good crowd at IKON Park. However, a second goal to Gawn on the siren meant the Blues trailed by 19 points at the first change.

Quarter two
After sustaining a jarred toe in the first quarter, Jesse Motlop played no further part in the game at IKON Park, being replaced by Jaxon Binns. The Blues enjoyed a bright start to the second term, with David Cuningham and Harry McKay both hitting the scoreboard to bring the team within single digits. Once again playing in the midfield, Sam Docherty provided some drive for the Blues in the first half of the term, while Ollie Hollands continued to impress with his run both in the contest and around the ground. However, after Carlton’s early good work, Melbourne well and truly took charge of the contest, dominating time in possession and in forward half. After inside 50s were even at quarter time, the Dees were +8 in the stat come half time, piling on four consecutive goals to open up a 34-point lead. That was despite the best efforts of Adam Saad, who defended with typical vigour throughout the first half.

Quarter three
There was a renewed sense of vigour about the Blues in the third term, as they looked to put a disappointing second quarter behind them and take the game to the Dees. Saad continued to look to create at every opportunity coming out of the back half, while Brodie Kemp started to get his intercept game going with five for the term. It wasn’t all perfect for the Blues, with the Dees still managing to kick three goals of their own, but the Blues’ offensive game clicked into gear in the third term. Harry McKay, who started to spend more time in the ruck after Marc Pittonet completed his allocated minutes, assisted Charlie Curnow for his second and kicked his third, while Blake Acres snuck forward from the wing to hit the scoreboard. The highlight of the game from a Carlton perspective came from Jordan Boyd, who continued his impressive pre-season when his holding-the-ball tackle was rewarded and he slotted a left-footed snap for his first unofficial goal in Navy Blue.

Quarter four
Carlton fans got their first look at Billy Wilson in the last quarter, with the draftee brought into the game at three-quarter time and immediately slotting in across half-back. The sting was largely taken out of the contest when Melbourne kicked a pair of early goals, once again reopening a lead in excess of seven goals. Brodie Kemp continued to intercept well in an impressive second-half showing from the young key defender, finishing with 11 intercept possessions, while George Hewett battled hard at the coalface to finish with 25 disposals — one shy of Adam Saad and Patrick Cripps. The captain recorded a final-quarter goal to go with his seven clearances for the night, while an opportunistic soccer from Charlie Curnow ensured he matched the scoreboard output of Harry McKay with three majors. It ended in a 38-point defeat to Carlton, with attention now turning to the Blues’ first clash for the 2024 season against Brisbane at the Gabba next Friday night.

Best: P. Cripps, H. McKay, A. Saad, C. Curnow.

No.7 pick firms for debut, Max's big night, Blues' backline worries

Skipper Max Gawn put on a clinic and a new face shone as Melbourne was untroubled in a big win over Carlton - By Riley Beveridge at Ikon Park

Melbourne youngster Caleb Windsor appears certain for an Opening Round debut in eight days' time, showing flashes of his immense potential in the side's AAMI Community Series victory over Carlton on Wednesday night. In the absence of Lachie Hunter, who is still battling a calf injury, Windsor was among the game's most influential performers and kicked two classy goals on the run as the Demons secured a comfortable 15.11 (101) to 10.3 (63) win at Ikon Park. Sharing wing duties with fellow Melbourne off-season recruit Jack Billings, last year's No.7 pick also provided plenty of run in the oppressive February heat to do all he could to feature in next Thursday night's proper bout with Sydney.

It was a night where the Demons also quietened any simmering concerns over their attacking potency leading into the 2024 campaign, finding 10 individual goalkickers and taking 20 marks inside 50 throughout a dominant display. Carlton looked undermanned and was outgunned defensively in the absence of Jacob Weitering, who will miss Opening Round due to a calf injury, with Josh Schache (two goals) and Jacob van Rooyen (seven marks, one goal) combining well in attack. Schache and van Rooyen also provided capable ruck support to veteran Max Gawn, who was easily the contest's best player. In a vintage display, the Demons captain finished with 24 disposals, 30 hitouts, five clearances and two goals in the 38-point win. The returning Christian Salem (23 disposals, nine tackles) was another big tick for Melbourne's chances ahead of the upcoming season, having dealt with hamstring and back issues over the summer, while Tom Sparrow (20 disposals, seven tackles, three goals) was arguably the game's best midfielder.

Carlton's defensive concerns in Weitering's absence will trouble coach Michael Voss ahead of next Friday night's opener against Brisbane, though in attack Harry McKay (18 disposals, 10 marks, three goals) and Charlie Curnow (three goals) looked as dangerous as ever. Patrick Cripps (26 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) was also a reliable midfield contributor, while youngster Ollie Hollands (16 disposals) joined him on the inside and was another to impress within an otherwise sloppy Blues outfit.

New faces
Melbourne's No.7 draft pick Caleb Windsor was excellent across the wing, staking his claim for an Opening Round debut with a performance capped by two nice running goals on either side of half-time. Ex-St Kilda star Jack Billings shared wing duties with the youngster and also impressed, while Blake Howes did some nice things across half-back. Kynan Brown, Will Verrall and Koltyn Tholstrup only saw late action, coming on midway through the last term. Orazio Fantasia should make his Carlton debut in Opening Round after flashing glimpses of his quality as a small forward, while Elijah Hollands also looks bound for plenty of footy in 2024 after continuing his nice summer. Jaxon Binns came on after quarter-time and showcased some of his elite running capacity, having already played in a VFL practice match earlier in the day. Billy Wilson came on for the final quarter and played across half-back.

Round one chance
Melbourne should feel confident in picking new recruits Caleb Windsor and Jack Billings, who impressed in the absence of the injured Lachie Hunter. There were also some nice signs from Jacob van Rooyen and Josh Schache, who could both be needed if Harrison Petty misses. Bailey Laurie will be an option if there is no Shane McAdam or Charlie Spargo for Opening Round, especially with Kysaiah Pickett suspended. Sam Durdin impressed in a VFL practice match earlier in the day for Carlton and could challenge Lewis Young for a spot in the backline, though Brodie Kemp settled after a nervous first half. There were good signs from Orazio Fantasia and Lachie Fogarty in small forward roles, which was timely given the likely absence of Jack Martin, Corey Durdin and Matt Owies.

Medical room
Carlton took no risks with small forward Jesse Motlop, who jarred his toe in the opening quarter and didn't return afterwards. The club is still hopeful that Sam Walsh (back) plays in Opening Round, while Zac Williams (knee) made his long-awaited return and got through successfully in a VFL scratch match earlier in the day. But there are doubts over Jack Martin (knee), Corey Durdin (hamstring) and Matt Owies (calf), while Jacob Weitering (calf) has already been ruled out. Melbourne star Clayton Oliver (personal) also made it through a VFL practice match earlier in the day, while Harrison Petty (toe) and Shane McAdam (calf) are others being monitored going into Opening Round. Lachie Hunter (calf) and Charlie Spargo (Achilles) are in some doubt.


B: 33 Lewis Young 17 Brodie Kemp 39 Alex Cincotta
HB: 11 Mitch McGovern 42 Adam Saad 24 Nic Newman
C: 13 Blake Acres 9 Patrick Cripps 4 Ollie Hollands
HF: 32 Matthew Cottrell 28 David Cuningham 14 Orazio Fantasia
F: 30 Charlie Curnow 10 Harry McKay 12 Tom De Koning
Ruck: 27 Marc Pittonet 5 Adam Cerra 29 George Hewett
Interchange: 2 Ed Cowan 3 Jesse Motlop 8 Lachie Fogarty
15 Sam Docherty 20 Elijah Hollands 25 Jaxon Binns
35 Billy Wilson 37 Jordan Boyd
Coach: Ashley Hansen

Contributors to this page: Bombasheldon .
Page last modified on Thursday 29 of February, 2024 07:53:13 AEDT by Bombasheldon.

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