Round 2 – Carlton v Melbourne: Honourable losses butter no parsnips




Carlton v Melbourne

Saturday 13th June, 4.35 p.m.

Marvel Stadium



Carlton’s season mirrors its approach to games. The team seems determined to offer encouragement to the opposition by turning up late, then progressively working their way into contention. However, as has happened  often in the past, the effort to retrieve a dire situation proves too much, and the end result is another honourable loss*.  Saturday provided another instance. At 0-2 along with three other teams the Blues are already behind the eight-ball, although I suspect that commentators’ emphasis on the imperative of early wins in the abbreviated season is exaggerated.


The sluggish start which has been something of a feature of the Teague era, was again in evidence in the match against Melbourne. After conceding a seven goal handicap advantage to the Demons by mid-way through the 2nd quarter, the Blues reeled their rivals in to level the scores with a few minutes left. Quality sides tend to thrive in a “next score wins” situation, but teams which have developed a losing habit lack the steadiness or belief to finish the job. On Saturday predictably, the Blues conceded enough of the ball in the dying moments to allow Bailey Fritsch (Coldstream plumber) to contrive the behind to achieve a lucky victory. Coaches sometimes speak of relief as their overwhelming emotion at the victorious conclusion of a match -especially a significant one – but that was clearly visible on the Demons’ players’ faces as they left the arena.


The one-point margin reminds me of Dickens’ Mr. Micawber, who might well have said, Score 54-53 happiness, 53-54 misery.


I blame myself. Lady Fuller, aka as the boss, has had some health problems, so I am more attentive than usual to her needs. When she proposed a visit to the shops on Saturday morning, I had to prepare myself for whatever time she felt able to venture out. Alas that proved to be 4 p.m. and we returned to the residence during the latter stages of the 2nd quarter. I listened to the debacle of the first 30 minutes of playing time on the car radio – a novel experience in recent times, as I would normally attend matches in Melbourne, or at worst be watching on the box. When I was able to convey my advice to David Teague by yelling at the instrument (hat tip to Barry Humphries’ Sandy Stone), Carlton’s fortunes revived. I feel confident in asserting that if I had been in position at the opening bounce, the situation would not have reached crisis point early in the 2nd quarter.


The optimistic view of Carlton since David Teague became coach is the evidence that the white flag is rarely hoisted. When faced with deficits such as 42 points on Saturday or 50 points against Richmond in the distant opening round, players collectively find the mental resources to fight back. If they can find the switch to turn it on from first bounce – or even some time during the 1st quarter – there is a prospect of their proving competitive. The surprise results across the weekend suggest that there are just a few obviously superior teams and equally few hopeless ones. While it is likely that the next few weeks will establish some sort of ranking system, in the immediate future the teams jostling for position in the crowded middle, will consider themselves a chance against most opponents, and at risk against almost all.


The pessimistic view is that the Blues are so far off the pace in comparison to Geelong, Port Adelaide  and even Richmond and Collingwood, that this gulf is too wide to breach. This week’s encounter with Geelong is a massive challenge, the more obvious for the fact that Carlton were blown away in Geelong in their third most recent match (Round 23, 2019)


*Your correspondent tiring of Carlton’s pattern of occasionally playing well, but not quite well enough, offered the observation that honourable losses butter no parsnips.



CARLTON            0.0    2.5    4.6    7.11 (53)
MELBOURNE       5.2    7.4    8.5     8.6 (54)


Cuningham, Lang, Casboult, McGovern, Gibbons, Betts, Cripps
Hunt 3, Neal-Bullen 2, Petracca 2, Fritsch


Murphy, Docherty, Weitering, Petrevski-Seton, McGovern, Curnow
Melbourne: Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Salem, Langdon, Viney


Newman (knee)



  1. John Butler says

    Peter, this was a wasted opportunity for the Blues. Again.

    All the best to the Lady Fuller.

  2. Michael Viljoen says

    I don’t know how you define an honourable loss.
    I would say it was quite the opposite.
    (I’m trying hard to avoid using foul language.)

  3. Hi Peter,

    I watched the game and wondered what happened with your Blues. They hardly broke the Demons defense line and just allowed them to kick. Where were efforts demonstrated in the season opener gone??

    However Carlton played hard at last half and seemed to be like Saturday of Richmond. Simon Goodwin coming down to the beach seemed to fire up his players. Then the close game ended. Poor Carlton…



  4. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks gentlemen for the comments.
    Thanks for the good wishes, John (fellow-sufferer). Yoshi, good to hear from you, you’ll be delighted with the Saints performance. Michael, the merit of a narrow loss to Melbourne depends on whether the Demons are serious players this year. Is it the Melbourne of 2018, or the rubbish version of last year. They seem to have a good list, and might be contenders, in which case Saturday’s loss won’t seem quite so bad, even though right now it’s bitterly disappointing to gift them the match. Btw, I liked your considered assessment on the “protest” by players. I should try to sort my own incoherent thoughts and add a comment to your post.

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