Blues Conquer the Underachieving Crows in a Vital Victory

By Damian Watson

Over the past seven days the football press have dubbed this match as a “D-day” for both of these proud and talented clubs in 2010.

The Crows who at one stage throughout the summer were predicted to be Top 4 finalists this season have somewhat been disappointing in the eyes of the folk in the City of Churches due to their winless commencement to 2010, which has been compounded by numerous injuries.

My Bluebaggers on the other hand produced a dreadful display last week against the Bombers and will no doubt be keen for redemption, particularly with the long-awaited return of the inspirational skipper Chris Judd. I can assure you there is more than the standard four points at stake for these two outfits in the context of this season!

Following my nerves and preparations in regards to Work Experience, co-incidentally at the assigned broadcaster of this match Channel 10, I take comfort on the couch to watch the live coverage (almost a rarity on Free to Air TV in this era). As the match spirals into motion the cloudy and overcast weather hovers over AAMI Stadium, a stark contrast to the clear skies in Melbourne.

At the selection table this week Carlton Coach Brett Ratten dropped the gauntlet on experienced stalwarts Jarrad Waite and Brett Thornton, leaving three crumbers to freely roam in the forward half as a result. Many experts claimed the move to be ambitious but are proven wrong in the early minutes. The three musketeers in Betts, Garlett and Yarran apply offensive pressure and contribute to a scoreline that sees the Blues with the opening four goals. The Adelaide side begin to obtain the bulk of the possession however they fail to capitalise on the scoreboard as inaccuracy looms large. Forwards Richard Douglas and Brett ‘Birdman’ Burton provide some respite, however one receives the sense the Crows are struggling to produce their A-Game.

The insightful Eddie McGuire labelled the South Australian supporters as ‘feral’, however they are uncharacteristically quiet this afternoon as the Blues hold a 2 goal buffer at the first change.

In the second stanza the Blues manufacture an irresistible period of footy to effectively snuff out the oppositions chances. I marvel at Chris Judd’s ability to ignite his teammates through his sheer confidence to break away from the scrimmage with ease and deliver a pin-point pass with precision. His talent and presence enables his teammates to walk taller as the likes of Kade Simpson and Marc Murphy link up through the centre effectively. Others such as Mitch Robinson courageously throw their body on the line in a desperate bid to win the hard ball. Even the relatively uncoordinated Setanta O’hAilpin pulls the rabbit out of the hat to pluck the ball in his lap and boot his first major from the resulting set shot.

It is occasions like these where I am proud as punch to be a Carlton supporter, witnessing a fine exhibition of hard and tough footy from this Blues line-up. It pays dividends on the scoreboard as the Blueboys boot four consecutive goals. A debatable 100 metre penalty resulting in a goal to Crow Scott Thompson leaves the Blues undeterred as they extend the margin to a substantial 37 points at the major break.

Jeff Garlett adds a second goal to his tally within the opening 30 seconds of the all-important third term and I am as relaxed as a senior citizen in a sauna. However the Crows are beginning to press forward through the likes of veteran Andrew McLeod who continues to provide pace in the midfield. Inaccuracy continues to be the enemy of the Crows as they squander frequent goalkicking opportunities. The Carlton defence remains reasonably solid as Andrew Walker and Jordan Russell impose themselves on the match as they clear the ball from the danger zone. Despite a consolation goal to young gun Taylor Walker I am confident the margin of 38 points will prove too insurmountable for Adelaide in the final term.

The Crows open their account in the last quarter with two goals to key forwards Scotty Thompson and Chris Knights, the former with the aid of another 50 metre penalty. All of a sudden the Adelaide contingent finds voice as their side whittle the margin back to 4 goals. It almost feels like my situation as a schoolboy on a Friday afternoon watching the clock hand tick down extremely slowly.

Fortunately the underrated Ryan Houlihan sends one of his prodigious punts through the big sticks indicating yet another goal for the Blues, locking the four points away from their opponents. In the following minutes it is apparent the Crows have conceded the result as Garlett and Houlihan increase the margin to beyond 40. Carlton’s new recruit Lachie Henderson adds more of his input on the contest taking an uncontested in the goal-square and placing the final nail in the coffin from point blank range. The final siren finally blares to indicate a comfortable 8 goal victory for the navy Blues.

The improvement of the composure, accuracy and disposal from the Carlton side will no doubt signal relief for Blues supporters and a pleasing result for Coach Brett Ratten who had the courage to take a gamble with the selection during the week. If the Blues can maintain this form I have no doubt in our ability to reach September for the second consecutive season.

On the other side of the spectrum the Crows remain winless and at this stage with a 0-4 ratio it will take a herculean performance for the club to make an impact in the 2010 finals race. Their decision-making and judgment was a key weakness in their transition of play in this contest.

The Crows like myself, will look forward in both anticipation and nervousness in what the following week will bring.

Adelaide  2.7  3.9  4.15  6.19 (55)
Carlton  5.1  10.4  12.5  16.7 (103)

Thompson 2, Burton, Douglas, Knights, Walker
Carlton: Garlett 3, Houlihan 3, Yarran 3, Simpson 2, Betts, Henderson, Judd, O’hAilpin, Scotland

My Votes: 3. C.Judd  2. A.Walker  1. M.Murphy

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. Good report Damo, great to see Carlton have a win and i’m glad the two bad boys in Walker and Houlihan had great games.

    Good luck with your work experience at Channel 10 too, can I order a hit on Robert Walls through you?

  2. John Butler says

    We don’t do off-field hits at the Almanac Josh.

    What happens on the field stays on the field (or the commentary box).

    Damian, we’ll find out where we stand over the next 3 rounds.


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