The family has lost its balance in the last couple of weeks with the Heir off to the UK, I am now outnumbered by the fairer sex at home and they are both Demon supporters. However with the current plight of the Dees the Princess chose party over pain and the bride conceded the pickup duty. Equilibrium at the game is not just restored but goes to my favour with the siblings and their offspring who are all Blue, in fact the Princess is the only defector of the generation on the maternal side. Some perspective for the day is put in place by The Paradox and his son, the Paradox makes his living as a fitness guru but he needs a hip replacement!
He is a lifelong friend and lifelong suffering Demon supporter who follows the game more passionately than he follows the club at the moment. His son’s first game was The Kreuzer Cup, the final round clash in 2007 where the loser took the spoils of the number one draft pick which was to be Matthew Kreuzer. His theory was sound, the Dees were a good chance to win so it could ignite a lifelong devotion to the Dees – alas it was not to be he is lost to the Cats. But he is in full support of Dad today regaled in Melbourne beanie and a scarf coloured with the royal blue of yore. That scarf was probably on the Paradox in the outer at Princess Park through the late 70s and early 80s.
Monday at the forefront of most players’ minds. But the plight of the two clubs since then is an interesting study. Melbourne only has three of the protagonists from that game on its list now, Lynden Dunne and Nathan Jones are playing today with Mark Jamar injured. The only other player still on an AFL list wears the Navy Blue today in Brock McLean. The Blues were suffering at the time and Brett Ratten was about to coach his sixth game and loss, but they were clearly more advanced in hindsight. Eight players from that game are in today’s team: Betts, Hampson, Jamison, Murphy, Scotland, Simpson, Waite and Walker. Carazzo and Gibbs are injured and Grigg (Rich), Kennedy (WC), Russell (Coll) and O’hAilpin (GWS) remain in the AFL system today.
Today’s game is somewhat of a foregone conclusion with the plight of the Dees, but as a Carlton supporter I am keen to see if they have the killer instinct to really crush weaker opponents. I had witnessed first-hand the Essendon-Melbourne game and then also the Demons victory over the Giants. How would they approach this game against well fancied opposition?
The opening is a messy affair but Melbourne are getting opportunities, but through poor decision making and execution fail to register a goal. They are made to pay and whilst it took time the Blues through Garlett and Betts register the first two goals of the day. The ensuing restart is frenetic with players contesting vigourosly and the Demons looking to make a stand, the ball finds its way from the city end of the centre square to the Punt Road end of the square via the rolling maul contesting it. Eventually the Blues get possession, but the consequences are dire for the Dees with Co-captain Jack Grimes left on the ground with a serious shoulder injury.
The three amigos are running amok, Yarran has not hit the scoreboard his creativity is a delight to watch. Simon White is Mick’s “Plus One” mopping up virtually every Melbourne clearance from the Carlton forward line. The final goal of the quarter is a masterpiece with Betts handball to Garlett running into an open goal, that was just the close out. The mastery was in the beginning with the deft touch in the aerial contest from Warnock to put the ball to Betts running into space. He and Hampson would have a field day in the rucking duels over their inexperienced opponents Gawn and Spencer, whilst clearances were relatively evenly spread the quality of the Carlton clearances would be decisive.
The Dees were able to hit the goals column after quarter time with Gawn being a handy target, Sylvia getting involved in the midfield and Tapscott proving himself a feisty opponent. Even getting the better of Andrew Walker to win a free kick in the goal square immediately after a goal from Lynden Dunne who got away from Judd to mark strongly up forward. The disposal from the Blues is becoming as profligate as Buddy Franklin’s goal kicking, Melbourne pull it back to 23 points. They have three “gettable” shots at goal in succession from N.Jones, Viney and Bail but they all miss – they have missed their opportunity to expose the Blues panic button! A steadying goal for the Blues through Armfield via Yarran and Betts and a 27 point half time lead. The Paradox reckons Sylvia is going the best of the Dees.
It’s about now some of the stats coming out from the Paradox – he loves his facts and figures. The one of most interest being the SEN app prediction of the Blues by 55 points. Meanwhile the young fella has disposed of the Melbourne headwear – I love you Dad, but enough is enough! The second half begins and the game pretty much goes to script with the Blues having multiple scoring opportunities, Melbourne have an open forward line but they don’t have any amigos to be able to escape the Blues defence. A 43 point lead at the final break, but the Carlton throng is not happy. An imbalance in the free kick count has many foaming at the mouth; overall the umpiring has been OK apart from a couple astounding non-calls for incorrect disposal that benefitted Colin Garland and Mitch Robinson.
The throng was overjoyed though in the last quarter with every Bronx cheer for a Shaun Hampson mark after Mick’s criticism the week before. He took eight for the match and five contested. I found the criticism a touch unfair, he is rarely outmarked and with the quality of scavengers at his feet just making sure of a contest is the most important job for Megan’s man bag. The scavengers kick much straighter too. As the game comes to a close I am reminded of the SEN App prediction of a 55 point margin which is looking spot on. That would have been under par to me hoping for a landslide result. In the closing seconds Eddie Betts marks and after the siren finishes the game with what every 10 goal win should be closed with – a big long cigar!
The Paradox emailed later in the evening thanking me for the company and his appreciation of the quality of Carlton. He of course was referring to the convivial draught variety we enjoyed after the game!
Carlton 5.1 8.4 12.10 18.13 (121)
Melbourne 0.2 3.7 5.9 8.12 (60)
Carlton: Betts 4, Garlett 4, Murphy 3, Waite 2, Armfield 2, Curnow, Robinson, Walker
Melbourne: Sylvia 2, Bail 1, M.Jones 1, Kent 1, Dunn 1, Garland 1, Tapscott 1
Carlton: Garlett, Betts, Yarran, Murphy, Warnock, White
Collingwood: Sylvia, M.Jones, N.Jones, Dunn, Evans
Umpires: Stuart Wenn, Andrew Mitchell, Matthew Leppard
Official crowd: 35,286
Our Votes: 3 Garlett (C) 2 Betts (C) 1 Warnock (C)