AFL Round 16: The Blues return to finals calculations as I return to the footy

By Damian Watson

As my Dad and I made our way towards Etihad Stadium I felt a great sense of anticipation. It was the first time in six weeks that I’d been to an AFL game. The reason for this hiatus is thanks to a long bout of the flu, and the wintry conditions certainly didn’t help my cause either. For a mad footy fan six weeks without any action feels like a vastly longer duration, so the sight of thousands of footy fans entering the stadium, talking about the upcoming game, and the sounds of the Record salesmen yelling at the top of their lungs for $4 was certainly welcomed by me. With one hour until game time the sun was shining brightly and the conditions were mild, which made me ponder why the roof was shut inside the stadium.
I commented in typical eastern suburbs fashion: “The atmosphere would certainly be more electric if this game was held at Waverley Park, even if it were freezing.”
The mighty Blues came into this game with two straight wins and all Carlton supporters were wondering what sort of performance Fev would dish up, whether he would kick a bag, become a little more team orientated, or if he would vent his frustrations. The Swannies, who were celebrating their Hall Of Fame Dinner that night, have almost already blown their chances of a finals spot after a loss at home to Essendon, but I was worried that their physical and stoppage-filled style of play would prove to be too much for the more fancied Blues. It has been the problem for the past nine years, since 2000, when Kouta was in career best form and kicked a bag to smash the Swans. But hopefully an improving midfield and a few more tackles can carry the Blues over the line.
As the game commenced the movement was far from free flowing and Sydney were doing their best to slow the game down and block the run of the Carlton midfielders. Swan forward Ryan O’Keefe scored the first goal after six minutes and I was worried that my thoughts may become a reality. Fortunately Fevola scored the quick reply from a set shot that was hopefully a sign of things to come. The Blueboys were looking great after Kreuzer and Judd both converted clever goals to give Carlton a fourteen-point advantage midway through the term. Chris Judd’s presence continued to ignite Carlton and I am still dazzled about the way this man reads the play and breaks through the packs with poise and elegance. However, the Swans came back thanks to a couple of majors kicked by young Jesse White, who I believe will become the club’s most important key forward when O’Loughlin retires. By the first break the Swans inched back to trail only by three points.
The Blues let themselves down in the second quarter due to silly uncharacteristic skill errors across the board as they missed targets and fumbled around with the footy. The absence of Michael Jamison in defence hurt the Blues as White continued to break free and add another goal to his total. O’Keefe continued to stamp his authority on the game, eventually ending up with 33 disposals and was easily the Swans best. Veteran Michael O’Loughlin conveyed glimpses of his best as he was a reliable target in the forward line and managed to kick one major. The only shining light in the quarter for the Blues was the efforts of Kreuzer, who took a couple of brilliant contested marks inside 50 and converted his second goal. Kreuzer can become a real asset for the Blues down forward as he is a brilliant high mark. Sydney eventually snatched the lead and by the main break led by nine points and I can tell you the Blues fans were seething.
The Swans kicked the first goal of the second half through Luke Ablett which gave them a 15-point lead and I was beginning to wonder whether Carlton were real finals contenders. Suddenly the Blues midfield started to crank up the volume in the third term, linking up cleanly and winning plenty of the contested ball. Bryce Gibbs finally got the motor running and picked up plenty of touches after a stint as a loose man in defence, Marc Murphy picked up 21 touches and used most of those effectively. Ryan Houlihan, playing easily his best game in the last five years, picked up a large number of contested possessions and has certainly re-ignited himself as a senior footballer. Kade Simpson returned to form and was one of the best players on the field, running hard on the wing and delivering crisply into the forward line. Late in the term the Blues led by 21 points but there was yet another twist in the tale as the Swans kicked two goals in as many minutes to whittle the margin back to nine points by the last change. I prepared myself for another cliffhanger.
There was, however, no need to bite my fingernails on this occasion. The Carlton side ran riot as soon as the ball was bounced, starting with a goal from Bryce Gibbs that followed a chain of handballs. The two little dynamos, Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran, crumbed sensationally and kicked ripping goals of their own. Brendan Fevola was on song in the final term, building his tally up to a lazy five goals including a clever one- handed mark that typified the events in the final term. To our delight Chris Judd wasn’t needed late in the final term while we kicked nine goals to set up a 61-point win that surely gives us a sniff at the finals.
And, as the later Walker Cronkite used to say, That’s The Way It Was For The Blues.

Carlton        3.4 4.6 10.8 19.10 (124)
Sydney Swans    3.1 6.3 9.5 9.9 (63)

Carlton: Fevola 5, Fisher 3, Kreuzer 2, Murphy 2, Gibbs 2, Judd, Yarran, Simpson, Carrazzo, Betts
Sydney Swans: White 4, O’Keefe 2, O’Loughlin, Jolly, Ablett
Crowd: 42,018 at Docklands
My Votes:   3.  C.Judd    2. B.Fevola     1. K. Simpson

About Damian Watson

Hey,my name is Damian Watson and I am 14 years old. My ambition is to become an AFL broadcaster/journalist in the future. I am a keen blues supporter and I live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I play and write for the Knox Falcons U/16's.


  1. Josh Barnstable says

    Nice writing Damian.

    Your spot on about Jesse White. He and Lewis Johnston will form a feared forward line in years to come.

    Interested to know if you saw Brendan Fevola take out Craig Bolton and then help the Swans defender to his feet. That was really pleasing to see.

  2. Damian Watson says

    Thanks Josh,
    I Didn’t see Fev show that act of sportsmanship towards Craig Bolton but its good to hear. Knowing Fev it must have taken place late in the game when the Blues were on top.
    I feel the most pleasing part of Fev’s performance wasn’t only the fact he kicked 5 goals but also the sight of him placing immense forward pressure on the Sydney defence and become a little more team orientated which is pivotal to the teams performance.

    By the way congrats on getting a spot to write in the Footy Almanac book, it was certainly an interesting game and a heartbreaking draw for both North and the Tigers.

  3. Really, Fev did that?
    he helped someone up?
    are you sure?
    hmm… well well what can i say.
    Better late than never!
    Good work Damian

  4. Steve Healy says

    I think they showed Fevola help Bolton on AFL game day.

    It looks like the Blues will definitley make the finals now.

    I haven’t seen much of this game, but what was with Sydney’s jumper?

  5. Josh Barnstable says

    Second time for the year the Swans have worn the jumper, both times against the Blues. Don’t know if there trying to start a tradition with it though, like the Lions wearing the Fitzroy jumper in Melbourne and Tassie. The jumper is good, but the Red sash across the back really makes the number hard to read.

    Anyone see the outfit Port Adelaide wore against West Coast? Best Power Guernsey i’ve even seen. Should definately be the home jumper, or at least the clash jumper.

  6. Damian Watson says

    The Swans were wearing the jumper for two reasons

    1. It was their Hall Of fame night

    2. They are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1909 Grand Final in which South Melbourne defeated Carlton and prevented the Blues to reach a fourth consecutive flag.

    I agree about the Port jumper much better than the clash jumpers they have dished out in the past

  7. Josh Barnstable says

    This year’s Power clash jumper is actually one of the better ones in there history and one of the best going around in the AFL actually. In my opinion anyway.

  8. Damian Watson says

    It’s certainly better than the jumper worn in the game against Hawthorn earlier this year.

    What is your opinion on North’s Argentinian like jumper in their home game against Collingwood in Round 6?

    Probably the worst clash jumper I have seen was when Hawthorn wore those T shirts during the Pre Season about 10 years ago.

  9. Steve Healy says

    Damian, what about Melbourne’s one last year?

    That was the worst i’ve ever seen. That disguisting silver thing.

    I remember they wore it against St.Kilda in Round 10 and it actually clashed more with the Saints home jumper than their normal jumper would. Every supporter who bought one of those things get bagged.

  10. Damian Watson says

    Yeah, I remember that. It is certainly a forgettable one
    I wonder if that jumper had anything to do with the 150th year celebrations?
    Not that Melbourne’s performance on that day was much better. They got hammered and I think Robbo did his achillies.

    I’ve just though of another embarassing jumper: North wearing orange back in 2000 against Collingwood.

  11. Danielle says

    people, the worst jumper is Collingwood’s away jersey!! ARGHHH the whole thing is so..WHITE. i hate it!!

  12. Josh Barnstable says

    The Melbourne jumper last year was quite…i don’t know the word but it looked good to me. It may not have pleased the Red and Blue blooded supporters but it did look classy.

    North Melbourne’s jumper has taken a while for me to like but i do like it now, as long as we don’t wear it every second match like in 2007 AND in our own home games. I was going to buy one when i was at North Melbourne vs. Carlton in the NAB Cup this year but the AFL shops didn’t have them in yet. I instead bought a different jumper.

    Damian do you remember the Carlton jumper in whatever year it was, late 1990’s anyway. The light blue attire. That was terrible.

    Worst jumper i have ever seen though, is the Hawthorn 1995 Pre Season jumper. The brown, purple and white poxy thing. I can’t believe they expected men to wear that. St Kilda’s 2007-08 clash guernsey also gets an honourable mention.

  13. Steve Healy says

    The blues wore light blue against in 1997 to promote M&Ms.

    What about St.Kilda’s Yellow jumper? The 07-08 one was way better than that, although I didn’t get why the symbol on the front was faded.

  14. Damian Watson says

    Was hoping no-one would mention the Light Blue M&M jumper the Blues wore in 1997.
    But you got me.
    I am suprised Carlton needed sponsors that desperately considering we were a powerful club back in the 90’s.
    How about Gary Hocking changing his name for one week to Whiskers!

  15. Steve Healy says

    There’s a great site about the history of footy jumpers that is interesting:

  16. Josh Barnstable says

    Yeah the symbol on the St Kilda jumper looked like it could have been peeled off. I don’t remember a yellow Saints jumper, but i can remember when they wore Black, Red and Yellow against North Melbourne in 2005 as part of Heritage Round. Hey whatever happened to Heritage Round? I used to love seeing the old jumpers like South Melbourne and Fitzroy running around but it seems the AFL don’t do that anymore.

  17. Damian Watson says

    I think the NRL have stolen the idea as well. The Heritage Round was big when it first came out in 2003.

  18. Josh Barnstable says

    Thanks for the website Steve. I’m looking at it now and it’s gonna take me a while to look at every one of them. It sure does bring back a lot of memories.

  19. Danielle says

    Since this has turned into battle of the ugly jerseys id like to mention a little story.
    I was at the Collingwood vs Adelaide match and i was up front near the Crows’ benches. Naturally the players would parade past me slowly to warm up. i took this as an opportunity to tell them exactly what i thought of their jersey.
    “Your jersey is UGLYY!!!!!”
    NO reaction from the player until the new friends i had made around me joined in!
    Really who puts those colours together??

  20. Josh Barnstable says

    It’s an old Adelaide guernsey from 1997, just a bit redeveloped. It looks good i think, from the front that is. Looking at it from the back is not as good. But some of the players that have to wear the outrageous outfits must be so embarassed when found in a situation like walking along the boundary line while fans throw their own fashion comments over the fence to them.

  21. Danielle says

    OMG lmaoo Josh, you flatter me!
    Once i started the other girls joined in!
    Us girls can’t help these things, if a guy looks bad im the first to tell him.
    if he looks goo i don’t hold back either!
    Most people love my honesty. :)

  22. Danielle says

    i must admit though most guys dont understand. My cousin thought i was so embarrassing that he moved 6 seats away from me just because i was proposing to Nathan Brown. :)

  23. Josh Barnstable says

    Sorry to break the conversation about fashion lol but when sitting near the bench of a team, do you hear any of the players talking to each other on the bench or talking with coaches or fitness staff? Cause i’ve always been interested to sit there one match and try and hear as much as i can.

  24. Danielle says

    lmao..nup cant hear a thing when you have everyone screaming, swearing and whatever else they are doing. id love to be a water girl, you know run out to give the boys a drink and some encouragement, strangle Toovey maybe??? :P

  25. Josh Barnstable says

    Spray him in the face? Haha I did that to my mate on the field a couple of weeks ago. God it was funny lol.

  26. Danielle says

    trust me u dont want to run across me with a drink bottle and an attitude!
    my best friend has spent a couple of lunchtimes under the dryer in the toilets because of my aim!! HAHA good fun i know!!

  27. Josh Barnstable says

    Too bad players can be reported for doing that kind of stuff these days. The AFL are taking the fun out of the game.

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