|Date:||Saturday April 12, 2014 (1.45pm start)|
|Result:||Lost by 23 points|
|Goalkickers:||D. Ellard 2, C. Yarran 2, M. Murphy, L. Casboult, L. Henderson 1.|
|Reports:||R. Warnock reported for striking J. Spencer during the 3rd Quarter|
|Umpires:||J. Dalgleish, A. Mitchell, J. Mollison|
|Injuries:||T. Menzel (left thigh), D. Thomas (left shoulder), M. Jamison (shoulder)|
Game ReviewCarlton’s 2014 season hit a new low, and the club plunged headlong into crisis after Melbourne snapped a 12-game losing streak to hand the Blues a shock defeat on this sunny afternoon at the MCG. Playing without confidence, courage or inspiration, the insipid Blues were held to a miserable total of just 58 points - losing by four goals to a team that had not won a game for ten months.
On top of three straight defeats, including a humiliating thrashing by Essendon the previous weekend, this latest debacle turned a blowtorch on Carlton’s administration, coaching panel and playing list. The Blues’ hopes of making the finals had been snuffed out in straight sets, and the club’s supporter base was boiling with anger when the final siren sounded.
Earlier, Carlton’s selectors had reacted as expected after the huge loss to Essendon by dropping four players; Jarrad Waite, Jeff Garlett, Tom Bell and Simon White. Their places were taken by Kane Lucas, Levi Casboult, Heath Scotland and first-gamer Patrick Cripps. A fifth change became necessary when Mitch Robinson withdrew on the morning of the match, so Nick Graham was called up late and named as Carlton’s substitute.
Both teams shuffled their key positions prior to the opening bounce. Melbourne lined up with Jack Watts, Chris Dawes and their best defender James Frawley in attack, while Carlton coach Mick Malthouse opted for Lachie Henderson and Casboult up forward, and sent Cripps straight into the middle for his baptism of fire. Opposing captains Marc Murphy and Nathan Jones exchanged pleasantries as the ball was bounced, and the early minutes were dominated by the Blues.
With Cripps involved both times, Carlton slammed on the first two goals of the match within three minutes. Melbourne replied, before Dylan Buckley, Chris Yarran and Henderson combined to kick the Blues’ third at the 12-minute mark. It was starting to look like a fun day at the footy for the Navy Blue masses, but when Dawes landed a long bomb from outside the arc, and Frawley took his third strong mark for the game and kicked another, the difference was suddenly only two points at quarter-time. Meanwhile, Troy Menzel had limped off the ground with a thigh strain, so Graham was sent into action earlier than anticipated.
During the second quarter, the nightmare began. Growing in confidence, the Demons swarmed all over the Blues, tackling hard, forcing repeated mistakes and turnovers and asserting their authority all over the ground. With their tenacious captain Nathan Jones leading the way, the Demons kicked five unanswered goals to lead by 17 points approaching time-on. David Ellard then dragged Carlton back into contention with successive majors at the 24 and 26-minute marks. At the long break, Melbourne led by only 4 points, but the momentum was all theirs.
With their backs to the wall, Carlton at least put up some resistance for the first ten minutes of the second half, until shoulder injuries to Michael Jamison and Dale Thomas sent both temporarily from the field. The levee broke, and with Frawley ever-dangerous inside Melbourne’s forward 50, the Demons booted 4.1 to Carlton’s 1.2 to hold a 21-point advantage at three-quarter time. Adding to Carlton’s woes, ruckman Robbie Warnock was reported for striking his opponent Jake Spencer late in the term, Jamison continued to struggle with his chronic shoulder problem, and too many Blues had gone missing. Frustration was everywhere, and the chorus of boos directed toward the Carlton huddle from the grandstands starkly reflected the crowd’s mood.
With Jamison in trouble, Henderson was switched back into defence amid a number of changes for the last quarter. For a few brief minutes, the Blues rallied – but missed attempts at goals by Everitt, Cripps (twice), Ellard and Gibbs sapped Carlton’s last dregs of energy, and it was left to Melbourne’s Watts and Pederson to administer the coup de grace to a dispirited and well-beaten Carlton team.
As the surprisingly-large crowd of 37,000 filed through the exits afterward, a common theme of discussion among Carlton supporters was dismay at the team’s on-going lack of composure in a crisis. No player stood up when leadership was so desperately required in this game. No-one seemed to be willing or able to rally the side, and no-one led by example.
If that issue (among many others) couldn't be resolved quickly, a bleak season stretched ahead for the Old Dark and way off the mark Lazy Blues.
Subs: Nick Graham replaced Troy Menzel at quarter time.
|B:||17 Sam Rowe||40 Michael Jamison (DVC)||13 Chris Yarran|
|HB:||39 Dale Thomas||42 Zach Tuohy||1 Andrew Walker|
|C:||33 Andrejs Everitt||44 Andrew Carrazzo (vc)||35 Ed Curnow|
|HF:||6 Kade Simpson (VC)||41 Levi Casboult||16 Patrick Cripps|
|F:||9 Kane Lucas||23 Lachlan Henderson||2 Troy Menzel|
|Ruck:||11 Robert Warnock||4 Bryce Gibbs||3 Marc Murphy (Captain)|
|Interchange:||7 Dylan Buckley||29 Heath Scotland||46 David Ellard|
|Substitute:||32 Nick Graham|
|Emergencies:||10 Matthew Watson||12 Mitch Robinson||28 Tom Bell|
- Nick Graham replaced Mitch Robinson in the selected side
MilestonesDebut: Patrick Cripps
Brownlow Votes3. James Frawley, Melbourne
2. Nathan Jones, Melbourne
1. Kade Simpson, Carlton
Best & Fairest VotesEd Curnow 5, Kade Simpson 5, Chris Yarran 5, David Ellard 4, Sam Rowe 4, Levi Casboult 3, Andrew Walker 2, Bryce Gibbs 1, Robert Warnock 1,
Round 3 | Round 5