Round 4 – Carlton v Gold Coast: As interested in the third game as Gary is about one
The final leg of the Easter triple header. The last chance to catch footy at the elite level before the local stuff begins the next weekend. The last chance to see if anything used in this game could be translated for my reserve grade coaching debut. One final opportunity to see if either of these teams could improve enough to at least look like figuring in the finish before the mind wanders elsewhere rather than exclusively on the main game in town.
Interest in this game from the media and around town was considerably lower than mine, particularly after both sides claimed the 4 points in Round 3 to keep themselves somewhat in touch with the chasing pack. For the team that some should refer to as a tribute to a lost treat from past summers, the Sunnyboys, it would keep the Media (and chief Tony Cochrane, known to V8 Supercar fans as the Black Wiggle) off Rocket’s back and give them hope that if they can establish a home ground advantage that they may sneak into the 8 at season’s end.
Unfortunately for the Blues this was a doomed affair right from the start. I’m not referring to the curtain raiser, where their VFL team thumped a bunch of kids destined to become the next stars of the competition. I’m not even referring to the first quarter or the ringing of the bell by Kouta before the game (stolen from Lord’s perhaps). You may remember how last year Captain Carlton was about to dazzle everyone in his hovercraft, only for the machine to find its way somehow into the Yarra River. Well this year he was joined by another character called Navy Nina, undoubtedly introduced in the wake of the women’s revolution. Everything was going OK until Nina started waving her white CFC flag just when Captain Carlton was about to start doing cartwheels, back flips and whatever other various gymnastic prowess he would display. Captain Carlton tripped over the flag and landed on his back, causing much mirth in the crowd, although surprisingly he was not forced to submit to a concussion test. I wonder if the league will investigate….or perhaps he should have been shown on Oblivious Cam, the latest and greatest of innovations to get the crowd somewhat involved.
The game itself proved to be an antidote for the plague of inaccurate goal kicking under the Docklands roof for the first 2-and-a-half quarters from the visitors. Tom Lynch didn’t look like getting stopped on his way to 5 of the first 6 majors from the Suns. The Carlton faithful simply groaned every time the ball got near him, for they knew that he was converting every time from the set shot. Indeed the Suns only miss of the first half came after the half time siren (which was actually a simple Peter Wright set shot that went wrong, I’m sure that’s been used before) but prior to a typical melee with Number 9 (for those playing I refer to Mr Ablett as Number 9) involved. That was a sure sign that Number 9 at least was showing interest in something football related, even though the statistics would prove that his interest in this contest was considerably more than just flying the flag at half time.
It was half time that basically finished off the Old Dark Navy charge for the night. By kicking 7 out of the 8 goals kicked in the premiership quarter the Suns ensured the commencement of an early exit from the predictably low crowd. There was near silence save for the 500 or so Gold Coast fans (I wasn’t counting but even that’s probably an overestimate) as an exhibition of goal kicking not seen all weekend. The fact that in the last quarter Carlton started with a 4 man forward line and still allowed a loose man for Gold Coast in their back half told me how much they’d given up. Unless I’m very much mistaken if you are trailing by 6 goals with a quarter to play, is there any reason why you should have less than the regulation 6 players in your front half? You’re trying to win the game Carlton not tank for picks (no point doing that anymore thanks to the confusing bidding system). Then if playing loose men behind the ball in an effort to justify your game plan in the last quarter was the key to success, how could you let number 9 run loose to kick an easy goal by his standards? Surely you knew by now that he was very interested given his team was well ahead and on their way to a rare Melbourne success?
The main entertainment that night actually came from a lone spectator sitting about 2 rows behind me. Nothing was of an abusive nature, but his booming voice was persistent with his favorite “Here he is” coming out at least 4 times a quarter. Of course every time Lynch got the ball in the first half it was “Oh no not him”, which later turned to “Come to Carlton we’ll pay you what Gary gets!” after goal number 5. I was tempted to give him 3 votes for the effort, but given I don’t know his name and “Random Carlton Fan” doesn’t exactly sit too well with official counters he only gets an honorable mention. Whether suitable beverages was the key to his performance is something I don’t wish to know, but there are some bandwagon fans who may be able to learn from this bloke.
So the doom and gloom on the Gold Coast football landscape once again leaves the AFL side of the building for a while after the Titans lost again. It’s likely to be short lived as, like Carlton, the city of Adelaide is a common thread for Round 5 as the Blues travel to Adelaide and the Suns host the Crows. How much interest will Number 9 show in next week’s battle with the top dogs in the AFL yard? Well hopefully a little more than what Carlton did in trying beat his team.
GOLD COAST 17.6.108
CARL: Casboult 3.0, Silvagni 3.0, Pickett 1.1, E.Curnow 1.0, Fisher 1.0, Rowe 1.0, Simpson 1.0, Weitering 1.0, C.Curnow 0.2, Wright 0.2, Docherty 0.1, Kreuzer 0.1, Marchbank 0.1, Murphy 0.1, RUSHED 0.1
GC: Lynch 7.0, Matera 3.1, Wright 3.1, Lyons 1.2, Number 9 1.1, Bowes 1.0, Lemmens 1.0, May 0.1
CARL: Fisher, Murphy, Docherty, Simpson
GC: Lynch, Harbrow, Number 9, Saad, Matera, Martin
3: Tom LYNCH (GC)
2: Jarrod HARBROW (GC)
1: Number 9 (Gary ABLETT) (GC)
FIELD: Leigh FISHER, Dean MARGETTS, Brendan HOSKING
BOUNDARY: Jason MOORE, Tim MORRISON, Jordan ANDREWS, Mitchell LeFAVRE
GOAL: Michael CRAIG, Stephen WILLIAMS
CROWD: 24968 at Docklands