|Venue: Docklands (Etihad Stadium)|
|Date: Saturday, 29 August||Result: Lost by 72 points|
|Umpires: S McBurney, S Meredith, M Vozzo||Crowd: 42,356|
|Goalkickers: Fevola 5, Stevens 2, Walker, O'hAilpin, Hampson, Joseph, Simpson, Gibbs, Murphy, Carrazzo, Yarran 1.|
|Reports: Nil||Injuries: Nil||Ladder Position: 7th|
Game ReviewWith their first finals appearance since 2001 already secured, the prize of fifth place and a home final was on offer when the Blues met the Crows in round 22. The game started as a free-flowing, high scoring affair but after quarter time it was all Adelaide and the Blues looked a long way from the fifth best side in the competition.
The selection committee meeting on Thursday must have been a busy one with five changes resulting. An off-field incident after the Melbourne game involving Eddie Betts, Cameron Cloke and Jeffery Garlett, a late night, and a subsequent late start to a recovery session, instigated three of those five changes. All three received a single game suspension from the club right at the time when the players and the team could least afford it. Richard Hadley continued his wretched run with injury after he received a broken arm from an innocent looking collision in the previous game, while Joe Anderson was omitted. Into the side came Dennis Armfield, Steven Browne, Shaun Hampson, Chris Johnson and Chris Yarran all given the chance to display their wares in the knowledge that a good showing may offer an elimination final berth as reward.
The opening 17 minutes of play were dominated by Carlton and the game had all the hallmarks of being "one of those days" - everything was looking rosy. Andrew Walker opened proceedings with a nice left footer after a little burst of speed to get himself into the open and four more goals followed in steady intervals to provide a 22 point lead. After that initial shock the Crows steadied the ship and worked themselves back into the game. Their intensity around the ground and particularly in their forward 50 lifted a notch and the Blues found themselves short of time and space. Two goals to Nick Stevens late in the quarter gave the Blues a slight edge at the first break, but given the periods of domination by the Blues the five point lead seemed like a poor return on investment.
Kade Simpson got the Blues off to a flyer within 30 seconds of the resumption but the flickering flame of hope which the goal provided was quickly extinguished by the torrent of Adelaide goals that followed as the Crows poured on seven of the next eight. Once the Crows had the ball inside their forward 50 the Blues simply could not find an avenue out. Several of Carlton’s kick-outs from behinds resulted in direct turnovers and goals. Carlton’s disposal in general was under constant pressure, inevitably leading to turnovers and goals. Twenty points behind at the main break and Carlton’s grip on fifth place had weakened significantly.
The third quarter was a virtual carbon copy of the second. Another seven goals to Adelaide and only two in response from the Blues meant the fat lady had already sung, packed her bag and left the building by the time the deficit hit 53 points at three quarter time. The one highlight for the quarter, for lovers of football in general, was seeing Adelaide’s Brett “Birdman” Burton launch himself for one of his trademark hangers which will be a short-priced favourite for mark of the year honours.
With goals from Brendan Fevola, Andrew Carrazzo and Marc Murphy early in the last briefly providing the possibility of some scoreboard respectability, normal service resumed and Adelaide’s unexpected offensive dominance continued with six of the last seven goals of the match. The Carlton supporters leaving the stadium started as a trickle but by the 15 minute mark it had become a steady stream. Adelaide’s final score was the highest by any team for the season and inflicted Carlton’s biggest losing margin for the season, 72 points. Their dominance should give them plenty of confidence going into the first week of finals. The Blues, on the other hand, have plenty of soul-searching to do in the coming week and need a major form reversal to stand any chance when they fly north to Brisbane for an elimination final.
Adelaide scored their highest score and their greatest winning margin against Carlton in this match, they also broke their record score in a quarter against Carlton in the 3rd and last quarters. With Brisbane also winning by 8 points means that Carlton has lost the change to play a home final in the first week of the finals and now has to go to the Gabba to play Brisbane in a knockout elimination final. At least Fev won the Coleman Medal for 2009 with 86 goals at the end of the home and away season, 8 goals ahead of Jonathan Brown.
The average age of this Carlton team was 24 years and 15 days, with an average League experience of 91.0 games per player. Nick Stevens was the oldest, at 29 years and 238 days and the most experienced with 230 games. Chris Yarran was the youngest at 18 years and 253 days old and the least experienced with 6 games.
|B:||34 Simon Wiggins||32 Bret Thornton||18 Paul Bower|
|HB:||27 Dennis Armfield||2 Jordan Russell||33 Ryan Houlihan|
|C:||1 Andrew Walker||5 Chris Judd (c)||24 Nick Stevens (vc)|
|HF:||3 Marc Murphy||45 Aaron Joseph||6 Kade Simpson|
|F:||17 Setanta O’hAilpin||25 Brendan Fevola||29 Heath Scotland|
|Ruck:||8 Matthew Kreuzer||4 Bryce Gibbs||44 Andrew Carrazzo|
|Interchange:||9 Chris Johnson||13 Chris Yarran||15 Steven Browne|
|22 Shaun Hampson|
|Emg:||7 Adam Bentick, 14 Brad Fisher, 39 Sam Jacobs|
MilestonesColeman Medal: Brendan Fevola
50 Games (As Coach): Brett Ratten
Greatest Losing Margin / Score Records: Adelaide scored thier highest score and their greats winning margin against Carlton in this match.
Losing streaks: Adelaide extended their record run of 7 wins over us in this match
Interesting Fact: This game would end a record run of 176 games played by the Blues without a Final
Brownlow Votes3. Bernie Vince, Adelaide
2. Andrew McLeod, Adelaide
1. Chris Knights, Adelaide
Best and Fairest Votes26 Brendan Fevola, 24 Bryce Gibbs, 17 Andrew Carrazzo, 16 Jordan Russell, 14 Heath Scotland, 2 Kade Simpson, 2 Nick Stevens
Round 21 | Three Blues Suspended | Elimination Final