Round 12 – Carlton v GWS: In the Driver’s Seat

Plenty of heroics for the Blues in the win over the Giants, but none more so that in the coaching team at the Blues.  The obvious one on show was the performance of Liam Jones in defence against Jonathon Patton.  Tall and athletic would have always looked good to the recruiter add a solid pair of mitts was even better, the knock on Liam was not just that did not read the play but he did not have the work rate required to play at the level.  Those knocks were probably closely related, moving him back makes sense where he must play at the opponents work rate and they will take him to where the ball is.  The coaching success is not just the move, but that they have invested time in the process.  And it was game one of the rejuvenation – there will be challenges!


At the other end Levi Casboult has been transformed beyond the mark and kick player that first came into the team.  He has always been a work in progress, that the club did not address his kicking woes earlier is a blight on his previous coaches.  Other changes to his game are more important; he always has defenders wary when the ball is in sky, but on the ground his clean hands and bullocking work now has them worried all the time.  He is more than just the big grab up forward, now leading up also to make a big target for midfielders to hit, playing on him is now even more difficult.  Then as the relief ruckman to indefatigable Matthew Kruezer he adds yet another dimension.


The one that I feared was the Plowman – Greene matchup.  Plowman has been very good being the extra man to the contest in defence but Port and Collingwood exposed him mano-e-mano with Robbie Gray and Jamie Elliott respectively.  Ultimately he did a fine job on his old housemate who only got off the chain when moved into the middle late in the game.  Thought the Maserati driver might have tried to isolate the pair in the forward fifty, but perhaps thought he had enough cylinders running.


Dale Thomas does not need much coaching, he is as a smart a player that is going around.  However he does need confidence in his body and his role, he lacks the zip of his days at Collingwood but his running and movement on the weekend was tireless.  Much of it was seemingly unrewarded with possession, but he continually made space and opened up gaps for his teammates to benefit.  When he did get the ball his stats show his value, 19 disposals might not sound like much but 9 of them were score involvements.


While Daisy has been a “whipping boy” for Blues fans, they have an undying love for the name Silvagni.  Jack was taken as a 50 something draft pick as much for the romance as for the player.  A bit too short and a bit too slow, but his work rate across the forward line is enormous.  Few possessions, but does the hard stuff – 10 touches but 5 score involvements.


The Blues inability to execute in their shots at for goals and inside 50 entries plus coughing up the ball in tight congestion were my concerns during the game and especially the last quarter.  Was  good to hear Brendon Bolton voice those concerns after the match rather than completely focus on the joy of the win.


A great and worthy win it was but enough on the Blues.  The Maserati was out there, just not quite running in the finely tuned manner we are accustomed to watching.  Might have something to do with the driver treating it more like a Tesla on self-drive rather than doing the work at the wheel.  Personnel is without doubt a factor despite have the depth that is the envy of the remainder of the competition, but facing a team without Lobb, Coniglio, Buntine, Smith, … does make it easier.  There did not seem much tinkering of the engine despite the challenges the Blues were presenting.


Cameron and Patton were struggling, but there was nothing done to try and bring them into the game, not that either of them were guilty of throwing themselves at the contest.  The only move of note was Toby Greene into the midfield which just about did make the difference if not for his uncustomary poor finishing.  Mind you the Blues missed three sodas in the third quarter that might have locked the game up.


While the Giants were missing a few, Dylan Shiel was outstanding winning contest after contest, the Blues just did not have a match for him.  He had willing support from Kelly and Whitfield – but reckon they prefer broader expanses to really open up their engines.



CARLTON                                          4.1         7.4               8.7         10.11 (71)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY        2.6         5.8                7.9         9.16 (70)


Carlton: D Cuningham 2 M Wright 2 B Gibbs E Curnow J Lamb J Silvagni L Casboult M Kreuzer.

Greater Western Sydney: D Shiel 2 J Patton 2 C Ward J Cameron L Whitfield M De Boer T Taranto.



Carlton: Kreuzer, Docherty, Jones, Marchbank, Simpson, Gibbs, Murphy.

Greater Western Sydney: Shiel, Kelly, Ward, Greene, Whitfield



3, Dylan Sheil

2. Matthew Kreuzer

1. Liam Jones


  1. John Butler says

    Agreed on pretty much everything here, Sal.

    The most reassuring thing since Bolton took over is that you an see the sense behind the decisions they are making. It’s been too long since we could say that about the Blues.


  2. Sal – I am puzzled by the Liam Jones situation. He plays a good game and they’re talking about 2 and 3 year contract extensions? Yes he is athletic and has a good pair of hands but does one good game make a gun player? What am I missing?

    PS – glad the Blues got up. The Giants are show ponies.

  3. Sal Ciardulli says

    Yes Dips – The they is his management and If I was his manager I’d be looking for some job security for my client. It was one game against a slow moving Jonathon Patton, Tom Lynch this week might present more of a running challenge.

    He has a lot of black marks to cross off before the term Gun can be bandied around. My point was that the coaches have done well to get him to this point – cause I thought he was cooked!

    As for the show ponies – will leave that for you. Lobb, Coniglio, Haynes, Buntine, Smith – will make them good enough to win it all. No Griffin, no Delidio, no issue. Leon Cameron does need to wake up at the wheel, but maybe he is still on his L plates.

  4. Peter Chenoweth says

    I’ve got to confess to not watching all of this game – I did however watch the last few minutes.
    I’m completely mystified as to why GWS didn’t try to just simply get a score at all costs and I feel like there was at least a couple of opportunities. The short pass by Toby Greene to a pocket with a minute to go was the glaring example – as was an opportunity to thump the ball towards goal with only a few seconds to go.
    I’m not second guessing pressure decision making, but for me it poses the question, is it better to try to win or catch a draw in that circumstance?

  5. Peter Fuller says

    Excellent analysis of the match Sal. I particularly liked your complimentary assessment of Daisy Thomas. His intelligent approach to the game and a work rate that defies his injury-caused limitations is a crucial link in the Blues’ progress. I also have the same impression as you (and JB) that the people in decision-making positions at Carlton are now reconciled to a process which will lead to sustainable success.

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