|Date:||Saturday 10th July, 2021 (4.35 pm)|
|Result:||Lost by 26 points.|
|Goalkickers:||H. McKay 2.3, S. Walsh 2.1, S. Petrevski-Seton 1.1, M. Owies 0.2, P. Cripps 0.1, E. Curnow 0.1, M. Kennedy 0.1, J. Newnes 0.1, Rushed 0.3.|
|Umpires:||Jamie Broadbent, Chris Donlon, Rob Findlay.|
Carlton gave itself opportunities for an upset but wasted them time and again - By Riley Beveridge / Rose Zarucky.
You can't gift Geelong opportunities like that. Carlton, against an opponent more than capable of beating the best, instead gave the reigning Grand Finalists the perfect chance simply not to lose on Saturday, its woeful skill execution resulting in a forgettable and regrettable 26-point defeat. The Cats, by no means at the top of their own game, did just enough to survive in a scrappy 10.10 (70) to 5.14 (44) victory at the MCG. Thanks to the profligacy of the Blues, the result was comfortable even if the performance was not perfect. Carlton kicked 11 straight behinds, had one shot miss the target altogether, and went well over an hour between goals on either side of half-time. It missed chances both routine and extreme, all the while kicking itself out of the contest. Geelong needed no second invitation to make its wilting foes pay the ultimate price. Close behind Carlton itself, Zach Tuohy (24 disposals, two goals) was the main architect of his former side's demise.
But he had willing help from Tom Stewart (25 disposals, 12 marks) behind the ball and Cam Guthrie (28 disposals, six clearances) in midfield, as the Cats consolidated their position inside the AFL's top-four with victory. Sam Walsh (35 disposals, two goals) was one of few who couldn't be blamed for Carlton's wastefulness in attack, again the best performer in the Blues engine room. The issues were instead confined to what was happening forward of the ball. The frustration had started early for Carlton, who spent large periods of the opening stages as the game's better side. But it butchered the ball in attack, registering 1.13 (19) on the scoreboard at one stage, turning it over just as many times off half-back.
The result was a series of routine chances for Geelong to capitalise at the other end, equating in a seven-point lead at the main break. It was an advantage that was only going to grow when the Cats eventually got the game on their terms. That, to a certain extent, started in the second term. But an undermanned and undersized Blues backline admirably held firm throughout. Even still, there was always a sense the dam wall would burst and when it did the margin grew steadily with it. Geelong kicked five unanswered goals, including three straight majors in the third quarter when it finally found its rhythm, crushing any remaining hopes of a Carlton upset that had been lingering after a scrappy first half. After a series of Carlton shots failed to find the target, Harry McKay finally found his range in front of goal to bring the Blues back to within 18 points at three-quarter time, but it proved a false dawn. Successive majors from Tuohy sealed the deal, rubbing salt into the wounds of his former side, as the Cats comfortably edged clear to pile on the misery and solidify their top-four standing.
It was a slow start to the game, with neither side able to lock the ball in their 50 or make any scoreboard impact. The end-to-end play finished with Esava Ratugolea kicking the first goal of the game at the nine-minute mark, however a superb grab out of the centre by Tom De Koning saw Sam Petrevski-Seton answer Geelong’s goal within seconds. There were a few surprising highlights in defensive 50, with both Jack Newnes and De Koning taking contested grabs to ease the Geelong pressure, along with the usual quality of Jacob Weitering and Liam Stocker. Geelong’s intercept marking was too good as Carlton tried to move the ball through the corridor, resulting in a lopsided inside 50 count in favour of the Cats. Ed Curnow had a significant impact early, taking contested marks at both ends of the ground. But inaccuracy in front of goal hindered the Blues momentum, heading into the second term trailing by two points.
Weitering was a solid competitor in defence, taking the job of containing Tom Hawkins while also providing leadership in the absence of Liam Jones. Petrevski-Seton moved the ball well in the contest while Jack Silvagni and Stocker administered pressure at every opportunity. Lachie Plowman and Nic Newman were consistent contributors in moving the ball away from dangerous Geelong territory as the Cats gained the lion's share of time inside 50. Jack Henry and Lachie Henderson proved difficult to deal with in Carlton’s forward 50, keeping Harry McKay and Jack Martin contained and leaving the Blues with limited options in front of goal. Sam Walsh was instrumental in moving the ball down the wing, but Geelong’s intercepting was too strong in the forward half. While the ball lived in the Cats forward half for most of the quarter, the Blues did well to minimise scoring opportunities, preventing a big blow out heading into half time.
Carlton started the term with opportunities in front of goal but, like most of the first half, they were unable to make them count. Two quick goals from Geelong were costly, as Carlton’s inaccuracy in front of goal started to become glaringly obvious on the scoreboard. Adam Saad’s pace and tackle pressure was valuable for the Blues’ defence, while Newnes and Walsh were able to move the ball freely down the ground, but having viable forward targets was where the Blues’ game consistently fell down. A goal finally came in the very late stages of the quarter off the boot of McKay, putting Carlton within sniffing distance heading into the final term.
Two goals from Zach Tuohy was not how Carlton wanted to start the quarter, with Geelong pushing out the margin early. The Cats intercept ability was definitely a deciding factor of their game, scoring six goals directly from intercept possessions, as the Blues struggled to out mark the finals contenders. Carlton pushed to finish the game on a high note, moving the ball forward with accuracy, but were soundly beaten in their forward 50. Two goals from Walsh and a goal from McKay were the highlights for the quarter but any fightback from the Blues was left too late, as the Cats took home a 26-point win.
Blues suffer double-blow before Cats clash
Normally, it's Geelong springing the late changes. However, on Saturday, it was Carlton that was forced into a dramatic double-alteration on the eve of the first bounce. Key position pair Liam Jones (back) and Levi Casboult (knee) were both deemed unable to play in the clash, having sustained knocks during last week's victory over Fremantle. It meant the Blues went smaller, with Tom Williamson replacing Jones down back and midfielder Setterfield coming in for ruck-forward Casboult. In the latter's absence, a combination of Patrick Cripps and Jack Silvagni helped Tom De Koning in the ruck, but without Jones the Blues were forced to play undersized duo Lachie Plowman on Esava Ratugolea and Liam Stocker on Gary Rohan.
Best: S. Walsh, J. Weitering, J. Newnes, P. Cripps, A. Saad
|B:||13 Liam Stocker||23 Jacob Weitering||20 Lachie Plowman|
|HB:||42 Adam Saad||24 Nic Newman||6 Zac Williams|
|C:||5 Sam Petrevski-Seton||9 Patrick Cripps (c)||32 Jack Newnes|
|HF:||8 Lachie Fogarty||35 Ed Curnow||19 Eddie Betts|
|F:||21 Jack Martin||10 Harry McKay||1 Jack Silvagni|
|Ruck:||12 Tom De Koning||18 Sam Walsh||2 Paddy Dow|
|Interchange:||7 Matthew Kennedy||31 Tom Williamson||43 Will Setterfield|
|44 Matt Owies|
|Medical Substitute||46 Matthew Cottrell|
|Emergencies:||25 Zac Fisher||14 Liam Jones||41 Levi Casboult|
Note: there were two late changes with Will Setterfield and Tom WIlliamson replacing the injured duo of Liam Jones (back) and Levi Casboult (knee), Williamson had originally been omitted from the selected team.
Medical Sub.: Matthew Cottrell (unused).
In; Will Setterfield, Zac Williams
Out: Liam Jones (back), Levi Casboult (knee)
Jack Newnes joined the AFL 200 club (185 premiership games and 15 pre-season games)).
Zach Tuohy would play his 100th game for Geelong and become another AFL/VFL player to play 100 games at two different clubs.
2. Another ex Blue Lachie Henderson would achieve a milestone and play his 200th AFL game (15 Brisbane, 102 Carlton and 83 Geelong).
Sam Walsh (CARL)
8 - Zach Tuohy (GEEL)
6 - Tom Stewart (GEEL)
2 - Jacob Weitering (CARL)
2 - Mark O'Connor (GEEL)
1 - Cameron Guthrie (GEEL)
1 - Isaac Smith (GEEL)
Sam Walsh (CAR)
2 - Zach Tuohy (GEE)
1 - Tom Stewart (GEE)
Sam Walsh 14, Jacob Weitering 12, Lachie Plowman 9, Adam Saad 8, Nic Newman 8, Jack Newnes 7, Tom De Koning 7, Patrick Cripps 6, Harry McKay 6, Ed Curnow 6, Zac Williams 6, Jack Silvagni 5, Sam Petrevski-Seton 4, Tom Williamson 4, Paddy Dow 3, Matthew Kennedy 3, Matt Owies 2
Round 16 | Round 18