Round 21 – Carlton v Melbourne: Consolation


We followers of the AFL no-hopers, take our consolations and disappointments in small measure – bonsai style if you will.

Not for us the dramatic mood swings of a Hawk supporter, from the consummate satisfaction of a shellacking of a putative challenger such as Sydney or Fremantle or the presumptuous noting of the comprehensive despatch of Carlton, then the catatonic reaction to the defeat by the upstarts from Port Adelaide. (Note, Hawthorn used only as an example, as the same observations apply to any of the 2, 3 or 4 in the rarefied atmosphere at the top of the ladder, where fans approach each weekend confident about their team’s prospects, distraught and hyper-critical on the rare occasions when they fail.)

No, we take modest pleasure in enjoying an extensive choice of seats on level N of the Great Southern Stand (no booking required, so no wrestle with Ticketek). Similarly we find easy access to Richmond Station for the homeward journey at game’s end. Contrast this with the situation on Saturday compared to Sunday 63,000 at the G, rather than 34,000. Admittedly peak travel through Richmond (and Jolimont) stations was conveniently staggered on Saturday by the Collingwood fans thoughtfully leaving in formation throughout the second half.

I can pleasantly muse that perhaps my grand-children will be in touch with Rick Milne’s son speculating on the possibility of turning a buck on Grandpa’s collection of Carlton membership tickets – especially the piece de resistance those for the years of the Blues (first) four wooden spoons, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2015.

On field, we take modest pleasure in the emergence of Patrick Cripps, and consider that in twenty years he may be regarded with the same awe as Gary Crane, Wayne Johnston or Brett Ratten. More speculatively, we can perhaps be comforted by the emergence of Blaine Boekhorst, and hope that he might become a solid Blues’ citizen equivalent to a Michael Sexton or Adrian Hickmott. During the week, we can ruminate on the possibilities of a(nother) new dawn, with the arrival of Brendan Bolton.

This was my mood as I travelled to Sunday’s game. The outcome was literally shocking – causing intense surprise. From the outset, the most surprising aspect of the match was that Melbourne not Carlton was the team displaying end-of-season ennui. Every teacher and most students will have memories of end-of-term, and especially end-of-year mood, when application to the task is almost as impossible for the teacher as it is for the students.

The game featured numerous mistakes, miskicks and turn-overs. There was a significant number of intercept marks, though in truth many of them scarcely deserved the description as the ball often seemed to be delivered with precision to an opponent.

The scoreboard at multiple breaks claimed implausibly that disposal efficiency was in the order of 70%. Impressionistic observation suggested that 35-40% was an appropriate measure.

Carlton opened in spirited fashion, with Andrew Walker goaling in the opening minute. They ran up six goals to one in the first quarter, which effectively decided the game. The second quarter began dourly. Andrejs Everett goal after 11 minutes opened the scoring for the quarter. A late Chris Dawes’ goal provided the Dees with their first for the quarter and their second for the match and reduced the margin to 47 points. Pleasingly from a Carlton viewpoint, Matthew Kreuzer had been a significant influence contributing three first half goals. Walker had also scored three. The other significant factor in establishing Carlton’s match-winning lead was their scoring accuracy, probably a reflection of the lack of pressure from the Demon defenders.

Andrew Walker kicked his 4th goal early in the third to again stretch the lead. However, Melbourne lifted their work-rate, though they were slower to narrow the margin. Nathan Jones, surprisingly subdued for much of the day thanks to Ed Curnow’s tag, scored their first major of the half, but a dispiriting series of behinds wasted a period of Demon dominance in general play. There was a rally early in time-on which produced goals to Watts, Newton and Garlett. This five minute charge doubled the number of Dees’ goals for the match, and brought them within 24 points at the last break. This was enough to unnerve Carlton supporters, who began to envisage, a match thrown away.

Max Gawn scored in the opening minute of the final quarter to intensify this unease. Unfortunately for Melbourne that was their final goal. Several minutes of indecisive football followed, with the teams trading behinds, and neither seeming to have the capacity to finish the job. Finally Patrick Cripps marked a superb centre from Boekhorst to kick the sealer, breaking the back of Demon resistance. It was just the second Carlton goal for the half, but even though thirteen minutes of playing time remained, it was the last time the goal umpires required two flags.

The Blues’ win although largely meaningless, was nonetheless meritorious in spite of the 2nd half fade-out. Coming off last week’s deplorable performance in Brisbane, they went into the match without Lachie Henderson, whose career at the Club was pronounced at an end during the week. Levi Casboult was a late withdrawal, allowing Matt Watson just his second game for the year. Skipper Murphy was subbed out early in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. Menzel was out of the game by ¾ time and Kreuzer left the field midway through the final quarter.

Kreuzer was a constant threat to the Demons whether on the ball or going forward. Cripps was again a powerful influence as ball extractor and tackler. Curnow did a fine stopping job on Nathan Jones, Docherty was an effective defender and Boekhorst and Rowe were solid contributors.

Melbourne were best served by McDonald with his fine marking and rebounding, Watts who was strong at both ends of the ground and Grimes who played a lone hand through much of the first half when the Demons were on the ropes. Michie also played well, offering run and penetrating kicking. Brayshaw showed flashes of his ball-winning ability and football nous.


CARLTON  6.2   10.2   11.3  12.6. (78)

MELBOURNE  1.2   2.3   6.9   7.13. (55)



Carlton: Walker 4, Kruezer 3, Everitt 2, Watson, Cripps.

Melbourne: Grimes, Dawes, Jones, Watts, Newton, Garlett, Gawn.



Carlton: Cripps, Kruezer, Curnow, Docherty, Boekhorst, Tutt.

Melbourne: Grimes, McDonald, Watts, Michie, Brayshaw.



Carlton: Casboult (knee) replaced in selected side by Watson. Menzel (shoulder) Jamison (concussion), Kruezer (back).

Melbourne: Lumumba (ankle).



Carlton: Marc Murphy (shoulder) replaced by David Ellard in the third quarter.

Melbourne: Heritier Lumumba (ankle) replaced by Alex Neal-Bullen in the second quarter.


Reports: Nil.

Umpires: Foot, Ryan, Hay, Armstrong.

Crowd: 33,962 at the MCG


All Footy Almanac stories on Round 21, Carlton v Melbourne

All Footy Almanac stories on Round 21

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