AFL Round 15 – Carlton v Collingwood: No rivalry tops this

By Tony Reed

Gotta love this time of year!  There’s so much sport happening at the moment.  There’s Wimbledon, ashes tests, Wallabies and Lions rugby series, the Tour de France (lots of teams wearing red and black) and even a top of a table match between Geelong and Hawthorn.  But who cares about that?

Carlton’s playing Collingwood at the ‘G in front of nearly 80,000.

It’s been funny watching the usual build-up.  Dramas at Collingwood with Harry O allegedly walking out over the coach; Carlton bringing back their captain and their prime stopper; the Master vs Apprentice coaching battle; and it goes on.  A must win game for both teams.  The Pies with a reasonable run home hoping to finish in the top 4 and Carlton just hoping to squeeze into the finals.  The punters have Carlton slight favourites.

My usual pre-game ritual is underway as I prepare for the match.  I am wearing all my lucky footy clothes (as the team’s performance is directly correlated to what superstitious supporters wear to a match) and concentrating very hard on match ups.  The ever growing list of Carlton taggers worries me as I see the likes of Cachia and Curnow on Pendlebury and Swan.  One thing you can say about Mick Malthouse is he is prepared to stop the flow of play.  The process.  Is Carlton up to it or are they investing too much in this tactic?

As the ball bounces, I haven’t even had enough time to sip my coca cola when the ball moves from a Kruezer tap from the midfield to Waite to Garlett for a goal.  It moved with the elegance and certainty of the Johan Cruijff strike in the 1974 World Cup almost 39 years to the date, without the opposition even touching it.  My assessment is Carlton is on song.

Play bounces around the ground and after a silly Waite free kick that leads to a Pies behind, the ball moves carefully to the Carlton forward line and into Chris Judd’s hands.  There’s plenty of space and he kicks ahead to Garlett who moves with the grace of a ballerina to pick up the ball, side step his opponent and then casually kick a goal.  Jeffy is so happy, he takes himself off the ground – again – presumably to tell the coach his slump is over.  The signs continue to be good.  Could this be Carlton’s breakaway match for the season?  They appear electrified.

The next few minutes are pretty ugly with about a dozen examples of incorrect disposal not paid in an effort to reduce the number of free kicks.  Goals occur at both ends, and then it happens.  Waite gets tackled by Nathan Brown and Ben Reid, and soon enough you see him limping towards the bench.  It doesn’t matter immediately as the old firm of Judd, Gibbs and Carrazzo combine to Casboult who duly marks and goals.  Centre clearances result in Kreuzer, Lucas and McInnes goals in the ensuing  10 minutes and I have to stare at the scoreboard to make sure I am reading it right, as Carlton have kicked 7 straight – probably the first time this decade.  Carlton’s electricity is flowing and the margin is nearly 5 goals.  Surely this will continue unimpeded.

Enter Ben Reid and Dane Swan.

In the matter of seconds the game’s complexion completely changes with Collingwood winning clearance after clearance and kicking 3 quick goals in the last 5 minutes to make the margin only 9 points at the first break.  The move of Reid to the forward line is the key and the Pies are now energised, with all momentum with Collingwood.  I receive a text saying “wasted quarter” from a friend who sensed what was about to occur.

The Collingwood domination that followed has rarely been seen in matches between these teams.  It was as embarrassing as it was ruthless.

Swan becomes untouchable and omnipotent.  Cloke and Reid commanding.  Pendlebury’s talent compelling.  His mark and goal in the 2nd quarter was done with such professionalism, I felt I was watching Michael Jordan take a free throw.

At half time, the difference is only 4 goals, but the game looks well and truly over.

The Carlton midfielders have unsuccessfully turned into stoppers that can’t stop, let alone get the ball out of the middle.  There’s no run.  Too many Carrazzo’s in a side to win a game on its own merits.

Credit to Buckley as he is out coaching Malthouse.  Malthouse’s demeanour looks anything but calm, reminiscent of a red-faced David Parkin in the early 1980s.  Nothing is working and the message appears lost.

At ¾ time, the Pies are 8 goals up but should be at least 10, having had 17 more scoring shots.  This is an annihilation.

The remainder of the game is a blur for me and the kids disengage entirely.  Talk moves to text messages reviewing our squad of players and the perceived lack of promise with 5 or more starting players.  I am advised that Round 19, 2010 (Jeff Garlett) was the last time Carlton had a Rising Star nomination and the time has arrived to blood new players with new promise.

As the final siren sounds, all I notice is the noise and optimism from the Carringbush supporters.  That’s it.

For Carlton supporters, there’s nothing to gain from this match.  The batteries are flat and players listless.


CARLTON 7.0 8.1 9.3 12.5 (77)
COLLINGWOOD 5.3 11.7 15.14 17.16 (118)

Carlton: Garlett 2, Kreuzer 2, Yarran, McLean, McInnes, Lucas, Henderson, Casboult, Cachia, Betts
Collingwood: Cloke 5, Reid 4, Witts 2, Dwyer, Seedsman, Krakouer, Macaffer, Thomas, Pendlebury

Carlton: Judd, McLean, Walker, Carrazzo
Collingwood: Reid, Swan, Cloke, Pendlebury, Shaw

Official crowd: 78,224 at the MCG

Umpires: Nicholls, Chamberlain, Meredith


3              Swan (Collingwood), 2   Reid (Collingwood), Cloke (Collingwood)


  1. Peter Fuller says

    It’s definitely clutching at straws, but we did win two quarters (lol)!

  2. Neil Belford says

    Brett Ratten won this game last year with more injuries, and against a more dominant Collingwood. It might just be the coach.

  3. Barb Smith says

    Brett Ratten didn’t build the list or play enough young players. But, he did let them play attacking footy. Which worked well some of the time.

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