AFL Round 6 – Carlton v West Coast: West Coast get the blues

I was off to Etihad as a neutral, free tickets courtesy of work a plus, the myki machine eating my 50c and nothing in response as I tried to use some spare change to top up my account a minus. Not too many footy fans on the train, though opposite me was a teenager and presumably his father. The son with a looks-a-bit-small backpack featuring BLUES GO! and Captain Carlton logo; both wore 2010 Member caps. I arrived outside gate 4 at 4:10, and started looking through the Record. Within 2 minutes my mate, let’s call him Trevor ‘cause that’s his name, arrived, and we entered. No queue.

There was some sort of marking competition going on, which looked pretty similar to one they’d had at the MCG on Monday. Not much excitement for a neutral so far, the crowd was pretty blue, mainly navy, a bit of azure, and the occasional peacock flash. The Carlton banner had ‘We remember them’ and a poppy on the front, with a 3 game membership advertisement on the back. I didn’t see the front of the Eagles one, but the back said ‘Our strength is you’ whatever that means. We weren’t sure if there’d be an anthem or not, but it turned out a “no” to that question, then Josh Kennedy won the toss. We put in our estimates: me – crowd 25 000, WCE by 2 goals: Trev – crowd 21 000, WCE by 4 goals.

A bit of to and fro at first, then a free, some good marks, all the players in Carlton’s half, Warnock sharks a pack and goals. Under 2 minutes gone, it seemed a lot more. A running goal to Waite, then another from a free. Carlton look the goods at this point, Garlett and Yarran running well. It looks like man-on-man, no loose defender at either end. The first pro-West Coast crowd roar as they get a free. Then they bounce back with 2 goals, make that 4, and it’s a quarter of two halves. At quarter time the Eagles are just ahead, 4.3 to 4.2. No moments of the match yet, but at least it’s close.

In under 2 minutes there’s a 50 metre penalty and a goal to Carlton, it’s the first quarter start all over again! We are subjected to a score review, in the end a mark is paid, but Thomas kicks a point. Nice Nic Naitanui one hand grab. At half time Carlton has the lead 53 to 48, but still less than a goal in it.

At the start of the third quarter there’s a turn over to West Coast, but then very poor delivery inside 50, the story of their match really. Looking at their one-on-one forward match ups, the Eagles players appear taller, but they’re definitely not dominating. There’s high contact on an Eagles player and support staff run onto the ground. Finally we see an Eagles mark inside 50. But the result is punched through, Kennedy’s kick not going the distance. McGovern gets West Coast the lead. A very late reaction from the cheer squad behind the goals as they usually know a good kick from the moment it leaves the boot. His first game and a goal. Sloppy kicking from both sides. As a neutral it looks like both these teams won’t be worrying the top teams if they continue playing like this. Carlton activates their sub with Yarran off, Troy Menzel on. There’s an Eagle long bomb inside 50 and a Carlton player marks amidst three Eagles players who look flat-footed. There’s a deliberate out of bounds paid, much to the disgust of the Carlton fans, but again Kennedy only gets a point. Though he finishes with a grubbing ball snap, and it’s three quarter time, Eagles have the lead back, 75 to 61.

During the break McGovern has been subbed off, Sheed on for the Eagles. He gets the first goal of the quarter, and given the standard of play so far, that could be the sealer. But the crowd is staying put. The clock/temperature display says 14°C, presumably outside, and down from 17°C earlier, but things are hotting up on the field. A point to Rosa, still the crowd stays, and we learn it was officially 31,005 (yes!).

Then it’s a succession of scoring – Garlett goals, a very long-looking 50 metres to Tuohy puts him close enough to goal, Henderson goals, and then a snap goal to Dylan Buckley, and scores are level. Although the standard hasn’t been that high, and no real highlights, at least it is exciting. There’s a point each way, Menzel goals (both subs doing okay in the final quarter), point, point, point to the Eagles and it’s all over.

Carlton get a victory, but I walk away feeling that the top teams don’t have much to worry about when playing these two this year.

Starting my trip home on the Epping train going via Jolimont, it was interesting to watch one fan strip off his West Coast jumper, and change into a Sydney one, as well as donning suitably coloured ‘dreadlocks’ and unfurling a banner. It looked like he’d make the MCG for the kick off, and his night wouldn’t be a total loss.


CARLTON                  4.2       8.5       9.7       14.8 (92)

WEST COAST            4.3       7.6       11.9     12.17 (89)


Goals: Carlton Garlett 3, Waite 2. Henderson 2, Robinson, Warnock, Murphy, McLean, Tuohy, Buckley, Menzel

West Coast: Shuey 2, Kennedy 2, Cripps 2, Lycett, Hutchings, McGovern, Bennell, Yeo, Sheed


Best: Carlton: Thomas, McLean, Gibbs, Simpson, Jamison, Murphy, Garlett

West Coast: Priddis, Shuey, Gaff, Mackenzie, Masten, Cox


Official crowd: 31 005

My votes: Murphy 3, Garlett 2, Cox 1

About Alan Stewart

My first VFL memory is perched on my grandfather's shoulders watching a game at Glenferrie Oval during the school holidays, probably about 1968. Other football immersion is from many hours assisting my father doing maintenance or selling savs at the Tarrawingee football ground during the 1970s.

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