AFL Round 5 – Carlton v Adelaide: Second place in reach of Blues

My day had begun with my first outing as a field umpire for season 2013. You can clearly tell he’s an amateur and an idler, when he commences duty on the last Saturday in April! It proved to be a difficult match, one-sided, played in testing windy conditions, which challenged many of the less-skilled performers. As the conditions and the struggle to make the contest relevant intensified players’ frustrations, it took all the experience and judicious decision-making of two veteran umpires to prevent the smouldering atmosphere from producing a major conflagration. The eventual tally was two players sent-off – one from either side.

From there I journeyed to the MCG to see Carlton take on Adelaide. The Blues had surprised West Coast in Perth but whether that confirmed the Eagles’ status as strugglers, or represented Carlton’s turning the corner remained a matter for conjecture. Adelaide had progressed from a shaky start to the season, when a big win over the Bulldogs had offered some promise of their replicating their  successes in 2012.

Carlton began in lively fashion, kicking the opening three goals of the game (McLean, Carrazzo, Yarran). Judd was involved in the first and third, and Carrazzo benefited from a fine tap from Hampson at a forward line ball-up for the second. Taylor Walker goaled from beyond 50 metres following a strong mark on the lead. Soon afterwards he had another direct shot, but missed, and a few minutes later he landed awkwardly from a contest with Brock McLean and ended his season. This was a cruel blow to Adelaide, as it left them with an improvised forward line. The inexperienced Jenkins looks promising, but as a newbie the demands of being the sole marking forward proved too much in this instance. Otten, Rutten and Jaensch each contributed during the course of the evening, but none obviously is a like-for-like replacement for Walker. The Blues’ defenders relished a somewhat easier contest than they had anticipated. This meant that Carlton were able to limit the Crows’ scoring power for most of the match. Yarran, Murphy and Judd added goals to give the Blues a near-five goal break at the first change.

This proved decisive, as it was effectively the final margin, and the the score difference remained two goals greater or less than that for the remainder of the match. Garlett, Otten, Simpson, Vince and Gibbs traded goals during the second quarter to extend the break to six goals at half-time. At the resumption, Douglas and Otten provided Adelaide with successive goals for the first time in the game. Carlton responded with the next three majors from Scotland, Armfield and Betts who had been subbed on for Gibbs (hamstring) at half-time. Scotland’s goal was a highlight. Following an exchange of hand-passes with Judd, Scotland drilled a shot from tight on the boundary line, City end, right.  There is a corner of the MCG which for a generation of Carlton partisans will forever be known as Harmes’ pocket. How fitting then that a player with Collingwood links should be responsible!

Jaensch interrupted this sequence of Carlton goals, but Garlett benefiting from another Judd assist, extended the Blues’ advantage to seven goals at ¾ time.

Adelaide lost a further player when Brown went off concussed, late in the 3rd quarter,  which made their rally in the early part of the last particularly meritorious. This was decidedly the Crows’ best period of the match, in which they slammed on five goals to one, reducing the margin to 17 points with half a quarter to play. This provoked anxiety among the nervous elements of the Carlton faithful (a quite large contingent, these days), and a not inconsiderable chant Adelaide, Adelaide in support of the visitors. Petrenko, Jaensch (2), Jacobs and Lynch all goaled, with a solitary reply from McLean.

A goalless few minutes followed, including a gettable set shot miss by Jaensch, before the decisive last swing of fortune, a contentious holding-the-ball decision to Carlton 20 metres from the Crows’ goal. When Scott Thompson (acting-skipper) dissented from the umpire’s ruling, Andrew Walker advanced 50 metres downfield. A quick exchange, Walker-Scotland-Simpson-Yarran, goal, snuffed out any further threat. As Carlton cruised home, Garlett added a brace of goals, including one ripper where he chased a scrambled kick from Betts towards the boundary line, dummied around an opponent, and scored from a tight angle. Otten added a final (non-) consolation goal for Adelaide.

Carlton now face a run of winnable games which should provide a suitable platform for an assault on the upper reaches of the competition.  How successfully both this period and the tougher sequence, mid-season are negotiated will depend on fitness and form of players such as Betts (reintroduced for a half on Saturday) and Waite, and how effectively the team develops over the next two months. At this point, my pre-season prediction of a finish anywhere between 2nd and 10th remains intact, although the latter position seems a more likely prospect.

For Adelaide confirmation that Walker’s season is over is a body blow. Following Tippett’s defection, the mullet from Broken Hill is surely as indispensable to the Crows as anyone on their list. That they rallied bravely in the final quarter, when reduced to 20 players, and later 19, suggests that they remain capable of a spirited campaign. Yet, the combination of a less favourable draw and an already threatening tougher run with injuries to key players, this year compared 2012 suggests that it will be difficult to match their over-achievement in that campaign.


CARLTON      6.3      9.5      13.8    17.13 (115)
ADELAIDE     1.5      3.6      6.9      12.11   (83)

: Garlett 4, Yarran 3, McLean 2, Judd, Murphy, Carrazzo, Simpson, Gibbs, Scotland, Armfield, Betts
Adelaide: Otten 3, Jaensch 3, Walker, Vince, Douglas, Petrenko, Jacobs, Lynch

: Walker, Scotland, Judd, Armfield, McLean, Yarran, Tuohy (team effort)
Adelaide: Rutten, Douglas, Otten, Sloane, Thompson
Umpires: Margetts, Stewart, Ryan

Official crowd: 44,711 at the MCG

Our Votes: 3. Walker (Carl.)  2. Scotland (Carl.)  1. Rutten (Adel.)


About Peter Fuller

Male, 60 something, idle retiree; Blues supporter; played park/paddock standard football in Victoria's western district until mid teens, then Melbourne suburbs; umpired for approximately 20 years (still engaged on light duties - occasionally fieldie, regularly on the line). I thank the goddess at least weekly, that I was born and grew up in the southern States of Oz, so that Aussie Rules was my game from earliest childhood. I still love it with a passion, although I can't pretend to a thorough understanding of the tactical complexities of the contemporary game.

Leave a Comment