AFL Round 13 – Carlton v Hawthorn: The Opposite Report

Well, it’s great to see two very equally matched teams, with such a similar wins-loss record play each other. Unusually, Carlton have a family friendly night game and probably the biggest disappointment is that the teams are not playing at Etihad on a Thursday or Monday night as of late. It is also wonderful to see the AFL has acted on recent criticism to lower the price of food and drinks to bring the total cost of attendance right down.

Carlton came into the game as hot favourites based not only on tremendous recent form but due to the wonderful late inclusion of fan favourite Matthew Watson. Young upstart coach, Mick Malthouse (“the Relaxed One”), always jovial and convivial, continues to get the most out of his playing list despite being littered with late draft picks (their on field success in recent years a credit to the recruiting staff).

The game starts with typically aplomb with the ever reliable Mitch Robinson kicking truly. Soon, the relatively unknown Hawthorn players of Rioli, Hill and Roughead combine for their first. Perhaps Hawthorn are up for it tonight after all, dispelling the myth that they cannot beat Carlton or win at the ‘G. Suckling soon converts another one – surprisingly with the left boot- before order is restored with a hard ball free and goal to/from Bryce Gibbs. While only early on in the match, it is apparent that Carlton continues its recent favourable treatment from the umpires. The remainder of the quarter goes against the trend with numerous bit players from the Hawks kicking 4 unanswered goals, despite the wonderful body work and careful use of the ball of Matthew Watson whose pace continues to aid the development of Carlton’s back line.

The second quarter shows the potential of Chris Judd, who despite being the same age as Gary Ablett, appears to have the freshness and body of a teenager. Robinson converts truly from outside 50 (as we’ve all come accustomed to) and not long afterwards the petite Levi Casboult takes an average pack mark before converting. In no time, the ball is once again in the Carlton’s forward line, and it was great to see the genuine camaraderie between opposing players Grant Birchall and Dennis Armfield (as Dennis tried to help Grant to the boundary fence) as they contested the ball. It must have had an impact on emerging players, as shortly there afterwards Cyril Rioli kicked an accidental, dribbling goal from 40 metres out, when obviously he could have kicked a safe punt goal. Casboult takes another couple of marks and goals on both occasions, interspersed with a Breust goal for the hawks. Zach Tuohy misses a shot at goal completely inconsistent with his wonderful season. The slow paced Suckling, plays on from the behind and runs to the 50 metre mark before being appropriately awarded a free kick (well done umpires!) that leads to a Roughead behind, clearly a travesty for Hawthorn who deserved more. At the half time break the difference is an even 3 goals.

A great bounce (something we’re all accustomed to) starts the 3rd quarter and the ball soon finds itself in Chris Yarran’s hands. He really needs to work on his skills and pace, let alone his confidence this season, but somehow he manages to kick the ball with his wrong foot to Waite neat the goal square who gets the ball to Casboult who kicks his 4th goal. After the bounce, that unknown Hawthorn player, Cyril Rioli, accidentally coat hangers Tuohy and heavens knows,he gets reported. How is this possible? I’m sure the match review panel will somehow try and get involved here and properly sort things out, like they always. The action motivates Carlton who through Menzel and Thomas, kick goals to even the scores. For the next few mins it’s goal for goal, before Jarrad Waite taking a couple of marks and extends the lead to 7 points. Clearly you cannot keep a good side down against one that is struggling.

It is not long afterwards that the pivotal moment of the match occurs when star player Matthew Watson, takes a mark from the impossible position of 15 metres out, directly in front. Despite Matthew’s best intention to extend the lead beyond 2 goals, it’s just not possible in these conditions, and a point is scored as expected. This seems to motivate the Hawks more junior players as Brad Sewell and Isaac Smith (from the relatively easy position of the boundary line) as they kick truly and regain the lead. It’s great to see Hawthorn putting in an effort and looking like they have a real chance in a close one – something Carlton has such a fine record this season.

Like everyone in the stadium, I am absolutely shocked to see that Matthew Watson has been unexpectedly substituted out of the game at the final break. I guess you’ll get crazy decisions like that from inexperienced coaches. The decision must have disheartened the navy blues as from then on the Hawks completely take over the match, booting another 6 goals to 2 in the last quarter running away with it by 28 points.

Well done Hawthorn, I’m really pleased you won and hopefully the win will help resurrect your season. As for Carlton, we have probably exceeded expectations already this season and undoubtedly this little setback will be quickly dispelled with a comprehensive win over the Giants next week. Right?



  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    From what I saw and from what I’ve seen of him before, Casboult must have thought it was ‘Opposite Day’ a la Spongebob

  2. Rick Kane says

    This really read as a genuinely objective appraisal but canny reader that I am, I saw through your veil Mr tonyreed. Paragraph 4. Inexplicably (or not) you managed to reduce mighty Hawks to lower case. Lower case! Cheeky!

    And where was mention of Issac Smith great goal from the boundary?


  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Fantastic Tony ( great line Swish ) can the afl please hurry up and have the dream match up between , Matt Watson. and Troy Chaplin to decide the games best player ?

  4. daniel flesch says

    Whoopsie , Rick Kane .. looks like you missed this bit : ” …junior players .. Brad Sewell and Isaac Smith (from the relatively easy position of the boundary line) .. . kick truly …” Also looks like that’s what you get for commenting at two (!!!) in the morning . As a side observation – if Kyle Cheney doesn’t get this year’s Best Clubman award there will be something wrong. Tony – great piece , can’t have been easy to write.

  5. Neil Anderson says

    Bizzaro world! In keeping with this Seinfeld episode, it was heart-breaking to see another loss and I hope they don’t lose another game all season.

  6. Rick Kane says

    Thank you Mr flesch, in my hurry to expose Tony as a Blues stooges masquerading as a dispassionate observer I failed to read his exacting generosity and awe into the sentence acknowledging Smith workman-like goal. I do not blame the hour of the day for my lack of attention to detail but a glass or three of a well bodied central Victorian Shiraz may have played its part.

    Yes, Cheney has selflessly played his part through the last few years. He reads the play well, even though he must know that he’s in a team (and backline) of better and bigger players. Spangher is giving our backline some solid strong marking. he just needs to learn how to kick straight, but I do like his work down the back.

  7. It is a truism that the supporters of a club are best able to comment on the potential and ability of their own list.
    Call me crazy, but I pick up an under-current in your comments Tony.
    I’m not entirely sure that Matthew Watson is held in high regard by you!

  8. Peter Fuller says

    In the spirit of this excellent contribution can I provide an addendum.
    Sated fans from this packed-house spectacular enjoyed simple egress from the stadium, and a trouble-free entry to Richmond station. There Metro Trains had laid on a fleet of trains to ensure a speedy return home for eastern suburbs fans, so they could enjoy an early night, pleasant dreams and trouble-free rest.

    The facts: the MCG was barely half-full (just under 50,000, a miserable attendance). The entrance to Richmond Station was its characteristic chaos. On the platform, we waited for thirty minutes for a Ringwood-line train, which was packed to the doors, so an additional seven minutes elapsed before we actually left the Cricket Ground precinct. My journey – 10 minutes walk to the station, 32 minutes on the train, 25 minutes drive – took in excess of 1 3/4 hours.

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