AFL Round 21 – Carlton v Geelong: Don’t bring me down Blues




Carlton versus Geelong


7.50pm, Friday, August 15 2014.


Etihad Stadium, Melbourne.


Dennis Gedling.


I hate ELO. The reason why I hate Jeff Lynne and anything else related to their smooth 70s sounds from the midlands of England is not because of the Xanadu soundtrack but because of the 1995 GF. After the routine Geelong capitulation that afternoon I was stuck on a boat full of gloating Blues sympathisers heading back along WA’s answer to the Murray from the Ravenswood Hotel to Mandurah with the only CD on board being ELO’s greatest hits. I shudder at the thought of that band and every time I hear them from a night which was of Joseph Conrad proportions.


Fast forward almost 20 years and the fear returns when ELO comes on at the Turf Bar in Melbourne hours before Geelong’s import clash with Carlton. Both teams are now in different situations with Carlton’s ‘brand’ as an arrogant, swaggering, rule-bending colossus worn down to a nub over the years thanks to sanctions, poor recruiting and boardroom battles yet the PTSD is still there. It’s still Carlton. I’m on the annual footy trip from Perth with myself as the token Cat, a mate over to watch the Lions and the usual Eagles who have a glint of hope in their eye they might try and do a Steve Bradbury-like gatecrashing of the finals. With a belly full of Matilda Bay the walk to the Docklands is a mix of footy fans and those cursing their luck to be heading to Southern Cross Station at this time caught with the crowd.


Blicavs (who divides opinion) is out of the blocks early for the Cats with a strong mark and goal with that roar indicating there are more Cats than Blues at this Blues ‘home’ game in a stadium that represents the modern bloated AFL Machine. Selwood is off the leash early also and kicks the Cats second from a set shot as Geelong look comfortable at quarter time.


Selwood is everywhere in the second quarter and gets a soft free kick that in the end results in a goal to Motlop. This seems to wake up the Blues and their supporters and they hit the lead through a brilliant Murphy snap and then go goal for goal with the Cats with Menzel a standout but the Cats still lead at half time by 4 points when HMac snaps after somehow finding an awful kick by the man-child Smedts bounce in to his hands.


The Cats are in a contest. Hawkins’ radar is off and Carlton’s pressure is forcing mistakes while Judd pitches woo the Eagles fans sitting next to me who deep down still love their ex-captain despite the way it ended. The Cats do a howler minutes in to the third when Kelly tries to hand ball across the face of the Carlton goal under pressure but it’s soccered in by Menzel to put the Blues back in front. ‘Bundy’ Christiansen gives Geelong back the lead but Carlton go up an extra gear with Yarran having one of rare games of pure magic outpacing Varcoe to goal on the run that complements an earlier Carlton goal to give them their biggest lead of the night.



Geelong have the ball and the inside 50s but can’t convert from set shots and kick 5 points in a row. Carlton make them pay with the best team goal of the night with no less than a chain of six handballs finding Bell who kicks on the run to bring the house down. The Cats are in trouble. Selwood has now been shut out of the game. I’m boarding a boat in Mandurah in my mind. Motlop is the saviour again in the shadows of half time with his third that mimics Murphy’s snap from the second quarter. The Cats continue to press but again miss easy shots under pressure and trail the Blues by 3 at the last break.


The Lion and the Eagles are in to me about losing to Carlton. One unwritten rule of a footy trip is to lay in to someone if we’re seeing their team play and yours is not. The stirring is more Rodney Rude rather than Oscar Wilde with its wit and sophistication. Even with three injured players Carlton are in the match and have Geelong on the back foot. Geelong miss opportunities to be closer but don’t give them the lead. With what seems like only five or so to go Thurlow proves he is more ready for the AFL than Smedts by nailing a shot to take it back to 5 points to keep Geelong in it. Taylor is again standing tall at the back much like he did against the Dockers. The best thing to ever come from Northampton I remind the others.


There’s still time for Geelong and Varcoe handballs to Selwood who passes on to Kelly. Kelly’s kick in to the 50 is a beauty to Bundy but he spills the mark under pressure. There could’ve been interference. Was he chopped? The ump thinks so. Free kick. The Blues fans are raging like snowmen with hot coals for haemorrhoids once again. I try arguing with the others that Menzel was given a free for exactly the same thing in the second quarter. I don’t care about their retort as Bundy kicks it from 40. Cats back in front.


Geelong have a chance to finish it but Thurlow misses from 30. 38,000 different voices yell out in 38,000 different octaves urging their team on. Rivers cleans up a hopeful Blues kick as they desperately try to get the ball in their 50. That should be it. Siren sounds! That is it! In the drunken celebration that is relief those of us still raw from 1995 remind ourselves in the ramp down from level 3 of brown paper bags and John Elliot’s comeuppance. It dawns on us perhaps that we are now that swaggering arrogant colossus the Blues used to be in many ways. Those on the footy trip with me know I’ll be hard to shut up for the rest of the weekend. Geelong will finish Top 4 and to quote Jeff Lynne:


“Hold on tight to your dream
When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold tight to your dream.”


Carlton     1.4, 5.6, 9.10, 11.10 (76)
Geelong    3.2, 6.5, 8.13, 11.16 (82)

Carlton: Menzel 2, Gibbs 2, Waite 2, White, Murphy, Judd, Yarran, Bell
Geelong: Motlop 3, Christensen 2, Blicavs, Selwood, Horlin-Smith, McIntosh, Caddy, Thurlow




Carlton: Gibbs, Carrazzo, Murphy, Curnow, Menzel, Bell

Geelong: Caddy, Taylor, Motlop, Selwood, Enright, McIntosh, Blicavs


Umpires: Rosebury, Hosking, Schmitt


Crowd: 38,812



3-Taylor (Geel)

2-Caddy (Geel)

1-Carrazzo (Carl)


About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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