Carlton show some real guts & determination to defeat the Dogs by 18 points with 3 debutants to boot........

Round 17, 2012

Carlton 2.1 13 5.3 33 10.4 64 16.6 102
Bulldogs 3.3 21 8.4 52 10.9 69 12.12 84
Venue: Dome
Date: Saturday night, July 21, 2012
Result: Won by 18 points
Crowd: 24,615
Goalkickers: A. Collins 3, J. Garlett 2, B. Thornton 2, B. Gibbs 2, E. Betts 2, A. Joseph, T. Bell, P. Bower, A. Carrazzo, F. Dale 1.
Umpires: N. Foot, S. Stewart, S. Wenn
Ladder: 11th

Game Review

Another week of intense media scrutiny down at Princes Park (excuse me, VISY Park for our more youthful readers) highlighted just how big a team-man Chris Judd is. Juddy took most (all?) of the heat from the media (following his notorious "chicken-wing" tackle against the Kangaroos) which otherwise would've fallen on Brett Ratten's aching shoulders, but I digress. There was actually a game to prepare for. This time versus another AFL power in the Western Bulldogs. Three months beforehand most pundits would've pencilled this one is as a gimme for Carlton, but the Blues were a vastly different side these days. Form, injuries and suspension had all conspired one way or another to derail a season that had been so filled with optimism back in April. Despite all this, many - including the bookies - had the Blues as warm favourites for the game, even with as many as ten regular first-18 players absent.

So, who was missing? It might almost be quicker to name who was available, but in a nod to tradition I'll nominate the departures from the round 16 team first (grab a cuppa, this might take a while). First and foremost, the great man Chris Judd. Four weeks on the sidelines for essentially bringing the game into disrepute courtesy of a nasty looking tackle on Kangaroo Leigh Adams. The tackle clearly hurt Adams at the time, though I noticed him trotting around pretty comfortably for the Kangaroos this round. The footage didn't look good, but I'm not convinced it was worth four weeks, but hey, I'm biased. Next went Andrew Walker with a dodgy calf, then Matt Kreuzer's hip started playing up, Lachie Henderson's groin, Kane Lucas' hammy and last, but not least, Mitch Robinson's calf which packed it in late in the week. Disappointment for some breeds opportunity for others. Marc Murphy got the gig as captain for the month while Juddy gets himself cherry-ripe. Three rookie-listers got the call up (Levi Casboult, Tom Bell and Frazer Dale) in the same game for the first time since round one last year - which surely goes some way to testing the depth of the list. And three (almost) forgotten men (Bret Thornton, Paul Bower and Jordan Russell) got another crack, presumably close to playing for their careers with this opportunity. Safe to say it was an unusual looking team, some going as far to say it was the worst line-up the Blues had put down on paper for many a year.

The indoor stadium was Carlton's destination for the Saturday night clash against the Doggies and a paltry 24,000 fans went along for the privilege. The game started as you might expect for the Blues, with things looking a bit disorganised as the newcomers adjusted to the speed of the game at the highest level and quickly found themselves a couple of goals behind. Casboult in the ruck was finding it difficult, given his part-time ruckman status and lack of preparation but he competed and gave a contest. We haven't seen much of Andrew Collins in navy blue since he crossed from the Tigers, but he was very busy at the start of this game. After a few early touches he got the Blues on the board with their first goal when Murphy found him lurking about 20 metres out with a beautifully-weighted pass. After a period of sustained mediocrity from both sides, the Bulldogs finally ended the goal drought to push their lead back out to two goals. Late in the term Eddie Betts setup Aaron Joseph who won the raffle over Chris Yarran for the floating ball. Joseph kicked truly from a slight angle just inside 50 and the Blues had somehow managed to be within eight points after a largely forgettable quarter of footy.

The Blues got out of the blocks fast in the second term with Jeff Garlett notching a goal inside two minutes; deftly picking a pocket before spinning onto his right and snapping truly. If you thought that would be the start of a sustained run of brilliance from the Blues you'd be horribly mistaken. The Bulldogs turned the screws and answered with five of the next six goals to open up an alarming 25-point lead as the game approached half-time. The only Carlton goal in that period came from some hard, persistent run and chase from debutant Tom Bell - making no mistake this time in the open goal, having wasted a similar opportunity in the first quarter. The Blues pegged another one back after Yarran's dash again opened up the play just forward of the wing, and his beautiful pass found Garlett. The ensuing heart-in-mouth play-on to Betts, then back to Garlett, finished with a goal - but it was far from a text-book finish for his second of the term. The Dogs held the ascendency at half time with a 19-point break.

From all reports the Blues copped a decent rocket from Ratten at half time and it appeared to give an almost instant reward. Clearly Collins got the message. He kicked the opening two goals of the term, the second coming from a wonderful ball inside 50 from Andrew McInnes, to really get the Blues back into it. The Bulldogs responded quickly to once again extend their lead before a few of the Blues older heads knuckled down. Bower and Thornton have probably spent the lion's share of their AFL careers in defence but both were stationed forward during the third term, and both found a way to goal - along with the ever-reliable Andrew Carrazzo - to give the Blues three on the trot and their first lead of the game, albeit a narrow one. Hanging on by a mere two points and with the time-keeper's finger hovering above the button that would sound the siren, Jordan Russell gave the player marking in front of him a little nudge to go on with. Sadly, the umpire saw it slightly differently, and gifted the Bulldogs a goal from a 50 metre penalty, and with it the breathing space of a five-point break at the final change.

The old journeyman Thornton bobbed up for his second goal after an accurate set shot from 50m, thanks to a generous free-kick as the Blues opened the final term with a bang. The Bulldogs responded to narrow the margin to a solitary point and the game was still anyone's. When the game was still very much in the balance some of Carlton's more experienced players stepped forward when it mattered most. Bryce Gibbs had started slowly but eventually worked his way into the game, much the same could be said for Eddie Betts. Between them they delivered the next four goals to take the game out of the grasp of the Dogs. Whilst Gibbs' two goals were important they were never going to stand up alongside Betts'. Eddie's first had goal-of-the-year candidate stamped all over it, even before he kicked it. Tucked tightly into the pocket on his preferred right side, it was tailor-made for one of those dribbling, bending, bobbling, bouncing goals that he seems to be able to conjure almost at will and he did. His second was full of zip and speed as he swept on the loose ball, eluded defenders left and right, ran onto his left foot - and guided it through with superb precision.

In between the Betts' highlight reel, there was some excitement at the Bulldog end. First came that man Thornton again, highlighting why he seems to polarise supporters, and controversially being pinged for a deliberate handball through the goals from the top of the square. The confusion over that gem of a rule reigns supreme, was he under pressure or not? The resulting free-kick caused its own bit of controversy as it was first awarded full points, then subsequently reviewed only to find it had skimmed the post on the way through and was correctly (and thankfully) down-graded to a mere behind. With most of the excitement finished, and the Blues seemingly home and hosed with a comfortable three goal break, the Dogs once again breathed life into the game with a late goal. Their resurgence never amounted to anything of substance and the game was left to finish in the hands of substitute and first-gamer Frazer Dale, who marked just seconds before time was called. The siren having sounded, Dale tucked the ball under his armpit and paced back. He sucked in a couple of deep breaths, turned and ambled in, launched from about 40m and guided home his first goal to give the Blues a well-earned victory by 18 points.

Subs: Frazer Dale replaced Dennis Armfield at the start of the last quarter.


B:45 Aaron Joseph 40 Michael Jamison 18 Paul Bower
HB:26 Andrew McInnes34 Nick Duigan 4 Bryce Gibbs
C: 13 Chris Yarran 14 Brock McLean 29 Heath Scotland
HF: 16 Andrew Collins 10 Matthew Watson 38 Jeffery Garlett
F:19 Eddie Betts 32 Bret Thornton 27 Dennis Armfield
Ruck: 41 Levi Casboult 44 Andrew Carrazzo 3 Marc Murphy (Acting Captain)
Interchange:2 Jordan Russell 28 Tom Bell 35 Ed Curnow
Substitute: 39 Frazer Dale
Coach: Brett Ratten
Emg: 12 Mitch Robinson, 43 Simon White, 46 David Ellard

-*Frazer Dale replaced Mitch Robinson in the selected side


250 Goals: Eddie Betts
Debuts: Tom Bell, Levi Casboult, Frazer Dale
Last game (Carlton): Jordan Russell, who would depart for Collingwood in the off-season
Last game: Paul Bower
Interesting Fact: This was the first time that Carlton has blooded three new players in a match since Round 5, 2001. Furthermore, it was the first time that three new Blues on debut had played in the same side since Round 6, 1988
First Goals: Tom Bell, Frazer Dale
Guernsey Games Record: Bret Thornton equalled Bob Green's record of 187 games in guernsey 32
Interesting Fact: Andrew Collins earned the first Brownlow Votes in his AFL career with 2 votes in this match

Brownlow Votes

3. Brock McLean, Carlton
2. Andrew Collins, Carlton
1. Heath Scotland, Carlton

Best & Fairest Votes

Heath Scotland 36, Brock McLean 34, Andrew Carrazzo 33, Andrew Collins 31, Jeffery Garlett 28, Eddie Betts 25, Tom Bell 24, Chris Yarran 11, Levi Casboult 3


Pos 2012 Rd 17 P W L D For Agst U/D Strk % Pts
1 Sydney 16 13 3 0 1661 1127 +0 W 7 147.38 52
2 Adelaide 16 13 3 0 1742 1302 +0 W 4 133.79 52
3 Hawthorn 16 12 4 0 1898 1212 +1 W 7 156.60 48
4 Collingwood 16 12 4 0 1557 1344 -1 L 1 115.85 48
5 West Coast 16 11 5 0 1644 1317 +0 L 2 124.83 44
6 Essendon 16 11 5 0 1640 1344 +0 L 1 122.02 44
7 Geelong 16 10 6 0 1550 1361 +0 W 1 113.89 40
8 North Melbourne 16 9 7 0 1742 1617 +1 W 2 107.73 36
9 Fremantle 16 9 7 0 1350 1285 +1 W 3 105.06 36
10 St Kilda 16 8 8 0 1687 1439 -2 L 1 117.23 32
11 Carlton 16 8 8 0 1467 1400 +1 W 1 104.79 32
12 Richmond 16 7 9 0 1516 1427 -1 L 2 106.24 28
13 Brisbane 16 7 9 0 1339 1433 +0 W 1 93.44 28
14 Port Adelaide 16 5 11 0 1234 1495 +1 W 1 82.54 20
15 Western Bulldogs 16 5 11 0 1140 1516 -1 L 5 75.20 20
16 Melbourne 16 2 14 0 1112 1731 +0 L 4 64.24 8
17 Gold Coast 16 1 15 0 1055 1800 +0 L 1 58.61 4
18 GWS Giants 16 1 15 0 859 2043 +0 L 9 42.05 4

Agst Rich Bris Coll
Frem Gws St.Kilda Adel Melb Port Geel
% 154.3 193.7 194.6 152.3 146.51 157.8 140.2 122.2 128.8 118.6 115.3 113.1
Agst BYE Haw Coll N.Melb W.Bull Rich Sydney Bris Ess G.Cst St.Kilda
Carl .
Opp .
% 113.1 107.1 108.7 103.7 104.7

Round 16 | Round 18
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