|Sunday 3rd April, 2022 (1.10 pm).
|Won by 1 point.
|J. Silvagni 3.1, C. Curnow 3.1, H. McKay 2.0, C. Durdin 1.2, P. Cripps 1.1, M. Owies 1.0, J. Boyd 0.1, Rushed 0.2.
|Leigh Fisher, Matt Stevic, Andrew Heffernan.
|M. Pittonet (back), C. Curnow (ankle).
It was the best of Carlton, it was the worst of Carlton, and for the first time since 2012, the Blues are unbeaten through the opening three rounds. After bursting out to a 41-point lead nine minutes into the second term, the Blues withstood a Hawthorn tidal wave, which yielded nine goals to two from that point, to run out winners 11.8 (74) to 11.7 (73) in a Sunday afternoon thriller between old rivals at the MCG. Dylan Moore kicked the opening goal of the game after five minutes, before the Blues piled on seven unanswered majors – the first time they have had kicked seven goals in a first term since round five, 2014 (against the Bulldogs). It was scintillating footy from Michael Voss’ men, who took a 34-point edge into the first change. The Blues’ dominance was there for all to see: they led clearances 10-6 (and kicked five goals from it), centre clearances 7-2, inside 50s 17-8, and Charlie Curnow (three goals) and Harry McKay (two) continued their imperious form of last week. The Hawks were forced to use their medical sub (Daniel Howe), after losing Jack Scrimshaw before half-time to a suspected fractured scapula. Moore kicked the opening goal of the second term, before Jack Silvagni (three goals) and Curnow both added their second in quick succession. It took 14 minutes for Luke Breust to kick the next goal, and the crafty forward added a second and cut the margin to 27 points just a minute later.
Curnow kicked his third goal in the early stages of the third quarter, after getting on the end of a lovely pass from Lochie O’Brien, but Mitchell Lewis (one goal) opened his account soon after. The Hawks continued to press, and goals to Connor Macdonald and Chad Wingard – playing his 50th game for the club - reduced the margin to 18 points. The Blues swung for home 17 points in front, but their lead soon evaporated, as goals to Tom Mitchell (23 touches, one goal), Harry Morrison (19 disposals, one goal) and Jack Gunston (two goals) made it six majors on the bounce for the Hawks. The Blues need a hero, and Silvagni stepped up to the plate, kicking his third via a banana, but Gunston’s second four minutes later had Hawthorn back within a point. Jacob Weitering peeled off his man to take a game-saving mark and McKay also came up with a clutch play to secure the four points. “If there was one guy that was going to be on the end of it I’m pretty glad it was him (Weitering)… for him to be able to do that… he was huge in that second half,” Voss told Fox Footy post-game. In what was a war of attrition, the Hawks also lost Grainger-Barass to injury, while the Blues have some concerns themselves, with both Marc Pittonet and Curnow headed to the bench in the dying stages. “I just had a quick roll of the ankle and was a bit slow to get up,” Curnow told Fox Footy post-game.
Cripps continues sublime form
Heading into the game with a possible six Brownlow votes to his name, the Blues skipper picked up where he left off. Cripps was instrumental in setting up a 34-point quarter-time lead, before finishing the afternoon with 31 disposals (11 kicks, 20 handball), 11 tackles, one goal, six score involvements, six clearances and five inside 50s. Cripps would probably like to clean up his ball use at his times (he went at 68 percent disposal efficiency and turned the ball over eight times), but his first three weeks have reminded us of the player he was in his pomp.
Carlton forwards prove a handful
Last week, McKay, Curnow kicked nine goals between them, and during the first term of this one, the dynamic duo looked as though they were ready to repeat the dose. The Blues’ two-headed monster had the Hawks’ defence in a spin during the first quarter, before finishing the game with a combined five goals. McKay has kicked seven goals in 2022, after two today, and had 11 disposals, five marks (two contested), while Curnow has eight goals for the season after his bag of three. The injury-prone star also took five contested marks, had five score involvements and tallied 11 touches. And don’t overlook Silvagni’s role; the versatile forward is averaging two goals per game after another three against Hawthorn.
Best: P. Cripps, J. Weitering, C. Curnow, Z. Williams, S. Docherty, G. Hewett.
Three from three. A blistering first quarter and gripping final stanza has secured Carlton a victory over Hawthorn by the smallest of margins. Sam Docherty was superb for the Blues and finished the game as a two-time David Parkin Medallist, while it was Jack Silvagni’s third goal of the game which proved to be the decider.
While the quarter started slow, with neither side able to capitalise on their forward 50 entries, it was all the Blues after that. Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow, Patrick Cripps and Jack Silvagni all recorded set-shot goals after impressive contested marks inside forward 50, before the Carlton smalls brigade got to work. Buzzing around in the front half, with Corey Durdin and Matt Owies both slotting a goal, with Durdin’s in particular an opportunistic snap from the boundary which Eddie Betts - who undertook a lap of honour with Marc Murphy pre-game - would’ve enjoyed. Matt Kennedy was influential early in the centre, combining with Sam Walsh to gain the ascendancy in the middle of the ground. It was up forward where the Blues well and truly did the damage, recording a seven-goal quarter for the third consecutive week.
After having the game on its terms throughout the first quarter, Carlton had to battle as Hawthorn upped its pressure in the second quarter. After the Hawks opened the scoring, the Blues managed to extend their margin to 40 points thanks to Silvagni and Curnow: after waiting six years for the 2015 NAB AFL Draft trio to record multiple goals in the same game, it took just one week for history to repeat itself. The game turned into a grind from the midway point of the term, with Luke Breust looming dangerously at Carlton’s defensive end. While there was a typical MCG roar reserved for McKay’s two first-quarter goals, it was his chasedown tackle of Josh Ward which brought the biggest cheer of the term from a Carlton faithful which turned up to the home of football in big numbers.
The Blues got the start they were looking for, and it was courtesy of the individual who has been the man for the big moments in the last fortnight. Another contested mark in forward 50 was met with an accurate snap from Charlie Curnow, reinstating Carlton’s five-goal lead. However, what ensued from there in the third term was a scrappy affair, with Hawthorn’s two goals generated from counter attacks on the back of the Blues not being able to capitalise on their multiple forward forays. Sam Docherty played a busy role in the back half, collecting 12 disposals and operating at 83 per cent efficiency for the quarter. Similar to the Round 2 bout against the Western Bulldogs, the Blues held a 17-point lead heading into the final term, but would’ve been rueing the fact that it could’ve been more if not for some costly skill errors.
An early Hawthorn goal was the last thing that the Blues needed heading into the final term. The Blues had issues with their forward connection which was a strong suit early, as the game continued in its contested vein. George Hewett continued his positive work around the contest, carrying the team in clearances and also picking up influential contested possessions. The Hawks took the lead for the first time in the match, as Carlton scrambled for answers up forward, unable to stop Hawthorn’s quick transition. Silvagni kicked a much-needed goal for the Blues, putting them just ahead in the final minutes of the term. Jack Gunston brought the margin back to a point with minutes to spare, but it was his direct opponent - Jacob Weitering - who saved the day with an incredible diving mark in the last minute.
Three things we learned
1. Carlton’s forward mix is very much beginning to jell, and that was never more evident than the first term. Once again under the tutelage of last week’s stand-in Senior Coach Ash Hansen, the Blues capitalised on their attacking play early in the game, producing seven first-quarter goals. For the second straight week, all three of Charlie Curnow, Harry McKay and Jack Silvagni recorded multiple goals.
2. In his Carlton debut, Lewis Young slotted in well. After making his AFL debut against the Blues at the MCG back in 2017, it was a full-circle moment for the new Blue No.33. Stationed for large portions of the contest against the in-form Mitch Lewis, Young handled his direct opposition well and performed strongly in his new defensive partnership with Jacob Weitering.
3. Sometimes, you’ve got to win ugly. After the glorious opening term from a Navy Blue point of view, the Blues were challenged and simply had to find a way to win. In front of 66,317 people at the MCG, the relief and euphoria was evident come the final siren. It may not have been as stylish as the Round 1 and 2 victories, but it was another four points on the board.
Best: S. Docherty, M. Kennedy, J. Weitering, P. Cripps, J. Silvagni, C. Curnow, S. Walsh.
|37 Jordan Boyd
|33 Lewis Young
|20 Lachie Plowman
|6 Zac Williams
|23 Jacob Weitering
|24 Nic Newman
|43 Will Setterfield
|9 Patrick Cripps (c)
|4 Lochie O'Brien
|30 Charlie Curnow
|12 Tom De Koning
|18 Sam Walsh
|44 Matthew Owies
|10 Harry McKay
|19 Corey Durdin
|27 Marc Pittonet
|5 Adam Cerra
|29 George Hewett
|1 Jack Silvagni
|7 Matthew Kennedy
|15 Sam Docherty
|25 Zac Fisher
|21 Jack Martin
|2 Paddy Dow
|8 Lachie Fogarty
|26 Luke Parks
Medi-Sub: Jack Martin replaced Marc Pittonet in the last quarter.
In; Adam Cerra, Lewis Young, Jordan Boyd, Jack Martin (medi-sub).
Out; Adam Saad (Health & Safety Protocol - Covid-19), Oscar McDonald (back), Mitch McGovern (hamstring), Lachie Fogarty (omitted).
Debut (Carlton): Lewis Young
400th Game as a Player or a Coach: Michael Voss
Interesting Fact: The Blues would be 3 and 0, the first time since Season 2012 we would do that, and only the second time since 1995
Sam Docherty (CARL)
8 - Changkuoth Jiath (HAW)
5 - Jacob Weitering (CARL)
5 - Patrick Cripps (CARL)
3 - Dylan Moore (HAW)
Round 2 | Round 4