Blues Midfield as Hot as the Mexican food

By Steve Healy

It was another quiet Sunday afternoon at home. Carlton, coming into the game four players out injured, and coming off a bad loss, gave the Eagles a sneaky chance coming into this match under a closed roof at Etihad. After I heated up some left over Mexican food (delicious stuff) I settled on to the couch for this intriguing match.

The Blues won the toss and kicked to the Lockett end, which was where Judd burst through the pocket to kick the first goal of the game. The Blues began to dominate possession and put the score on the board, with consecutive goals from O’hAilpin and Robinson. A bit of reprieve came for the Eagles when Kennedy split the middle, but the Blues were simply too good in terms of ball use and widened the gap to 28 points before the Eagles got a couple of late lucky goals to stem the flow. Gibbs, Murphy and Judd were all getting their hands on the ball, the latter kicked two scintillating goals in the opening term.

The second quarter wasn’t exactly scintillating, with Carlton trying to control possession but not capitalizing on the scoreboard. Waters took a spectacular mark inside the fifty before handpassing off to Cox to narrow the deficit to a couple of kicks. I found myself frantically barracking for the Eagles after tipping them foolishly during the week. Betts kicked one and big Setanta added his third for the afternoon while at the other LeCras showed initiative by kicking his second after combining with Kennedy and Naitanui but Mitch Robinson (who is in magnificent form) kicked a superb goal to make it an even four goals again. Bryce Gibbs was up to 21 possessions, while his counterpart Marc Murphy had 18.

The third quarter began with an exciting goal on the run from Scotland, as the Eagles began to look ever slower. McLean had a goal of the year attempt that failed but Browne and Garlett converted simple set shots to put the margin out to a near-unreachable 43 points. Bryce Gibbs got another on the run to rub salt into the wounds, their third goal in a just a couple of minutes. LeCras, one of few Eagles who tried for the day gave the Eagles a little spark and kicked two out a three goal streak to give himself four and bring the deficit back to 32, 12.13 85 to 8.5 53.

With the game done and dusted, the Blues played the game on their terms. The most exciting part of the match occurs when Murphy bursts in to the picture and dribbled it through from the impossible angle. Henderson converted a long set shot while Gibbs just kept on getting the ball in the back half. A couple of goals from the deadly accurate Kennedy (who, ironically, was playing one of his best games ever against his old side) and LeCras gave the away supporters something to cheer about, while the home supporters were cheering every one of Bryce Gibbs’ possessions. My attention turned to something only my attention would turn to- I remembered that last time these two teams played the final score was 16.15 111 to 10.10 70, which was in Round 10 last year at the same venue. When the Eagles got a rushed behind and the score was 105-70, I was hoping the Blues could get it up the ground in the remaining 23 seconds and grant my wish. Unfortunately, they turned it over and Kennedy kicked his fourth after the siren. Gibbs finished with 45 disposals.

Are the Blues a genuine chance to win the premiership? It’s hard to tell, but if they keep playing in the way they have done in recent times they will. Gibbs and Murphy were better than Judd, even though he was spectacular as well, on this occasion. They made an incredible two man show, 81 possessions and 20 marks between them. And at just 21 and 22 years of age respectively, there could be better performances to come.

Carlton 5.5–8.8–12.13–15.15 (105)

West Coast 3.1–5.2–8.5–11.10 (76)


Carlton: O’hAilpin 3, Robinson 2, Judd 2, Garlett 2, Browne, Gibbs, Henderson, Betts, Scotland, Murphy.

West Coast: LeCras 5, Kennedy 4, McKinley, Cox.


Carlton: Gibbs, Murphy, Judd, Robinson, Walker, Scotland, Carrazzo.

West Coast: Priddis, Kennedy, Waters, LeCras.

Umpires: Nicholls, Dalgleish, Chamberlain.                      Crowd: 29,175

My Votes: 3. Bryce Gibbs (CARL), 2. Marc Murphy (CARL), 1. Matt Priddis (WCE).

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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