Round 21 – Fremantle v Carlton: Three quarters out of four not enough for Blues


In the twelve months since Carlton last ventured west, WA AFL football has entered the stadium era, leaving behind its former home in the streets of suburban Subiaco, now at a state of the art colosseum by the river. The new close proximity to a casino would be some urban planner’s idea of synergy, presumably. The venue  move demonstrated how a lot can change in twelve months, but the ensuing result here tended to reinforce how much can also stay the same.


Carlton were looking to improve on their round 13 Docklands Docker shocker. The absence for Freo of a couple of blokes called Fyfe and Sandilands raised some hope for the team in the grey pyjamas. There was also the possibility of a post-Derby letdown for the locals. Though to balance that, if our injury riddled backline was to get any sparser it would probably qualify for drought relief.


Initial proceeding were much more encouraging for the visitors than that goalless first half at Docklands. We actually held sway at early stoppages, won the contested ball, and converted  that into time in possession. Apart from usual prime suspects Cripps, Murphy and Ed Curnow, Paddy Dow showed a promising knack of reading both ruckmen. Crucially, the developing chemistry between Charlie and Harry also saw us hit the scoreboard. This produced only our fourth ¼ time lead for the season.


With Lochie O’Brien doing an effective run-with job on Brad Hill, and Brad’s brother Stephen another Freo absentee, Freo were light on for outside run early. As Lachie Neale worked his way into the game in the second term that was gradually restored. He was ably assisted in that regard by Ed Langdon.


When a Simmo handball landed at Daisy’s feet, the resulting turnover goal saw the Dockers close to within a kick. Daisy promptly made amends by swinging onto his left boot and slamming through a 50 metre reply. A subsequent soft ruck infringement free to Matthew Lobbe saw our first term lead virtually restored by the main break. It had been largely unspectacular, but the graft at this stage of a tough season at least demonstrated commitment to the cause.


The third term would prove Carlton’s undoing. Neale became dominant in the middle, and our disposal coming out of defence collapsed under sustained pressure. With Freo enjoying repeated inside 50’s, our defence cracked. Given our makeshift defensive spine, this was hardly a shock. At this stage of his career, Caleb Marchbank is a better intercept mark than one-on-one defender. Jack Silvagni lacks his father’s strength and octopus limbs. Sam Rowe had the bulk to match Brennan Cox, but not the agility to go with McCarthy or Taberner. When you add the usually injured Michael Apeness to consideration of this Freo forward trio, you see the makings of a future productive Docker forward line. The problem has been keeping them all fit.


Having conceded seven goals to zip in the third term, the Blues were effectively done by the final break. We managed to restore some presence around the stoppages, but apart from a lovely Harry set shot from out near the boundary line, we struggled to take much advantage. Fremantle were largely untroubled in seeing it out for their eighth victory of the year.


In a game unlikely to linger long in the memory, Blues fans were left looking for glimpses of a better future. Harry and Charlie really do look full of promise. Charlie had an entertaining tussle with Alex Pearce, another gifted athlete who will be a likely match-up for years to come. Dow and O’Brien had promising first halves, before petrol tickets ran low. SPS continued his better run of form in the last month. Daisy, along with Paddy Cripps, was probably our best four quarter performer. Mat Lobbe was workmanlike in his fill-in role for the still absent Kruezer.


Old faithfuls Neale and Mundy were crucial in the Docker resurgence. Langdon ran hard all day. Sean Darcy makes  Freo’s ruck succession plan look very sound. Nathan Wilson has been an outstanding pick up from GWS.


Though Carlton’s situation is much discussed, Fremantle have managed to field eight debutants themselves this season, as Ross Lyon continues his own version of a rebuild. Less familiar names like Duman, Giro, Switkowski and Cerra all had their moments today.


Both of these clubs will reflect on 2018 as a season where injury significantly cruelled any initial aspirations. Fremantle look reasonably placed for next year, given a better run in the medical room. Carlton already know they’re in for a long haul.


FREMANTLE            1.4      5.7      12.10  15.11 (101)
CARLTON                 3.6      7.8      7.10    10.12 (72)

McCarthy 3, Ballantyne 2, Cox 2, Giro, Grey, Taberner, Sheridan, Neale, Mundy, Langdon, Kersten
Carlton: Wright 2, McKay 2, C.Curnow 2, Murphy, Thomas, Lobbe, Lang

Neale, Mundy, Langdon, McCarthy, Wilson, Darcy
Carlton: Cripps, Thomas, Lobbe, C.Curnow, Petrevski-Seton

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Haussen, Margetts, Whetton

Official crowd: 40,028 at Optus Stadium


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About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Liveable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has passed his 40th year as a Carlton member.


  1. Gather with my neighbour in the driveway for weekly footy prognostications. His family were political refugees from Pinochet’s Chile in the 80’s. Sadly they first settled in Carlton and he adopted the footy team of his new homeland (the Manus Island of footy clubs).
    Last week I asked if they were making their annual trip to see the team live. I tell him that CFC stands for Cripps; F’all; Curnow. He nods silently – familiar with a life of trauma.
    He said he had counted the cost of tickets, parking, food and drink then offered his 12yo son Seb a bonding session to watch the game at the local for half the cost. Seb was having none of it. Then he offered the direct bribe option, but Seb stuck fat.
    I asked Seb yesterday if he enjoyed the game on Sunday. “For two quarters” he replied with a familiar glazed look.
    Remoteness helps him maintain the faith. I reckon any Melbourne kid would be tested going weekly.

  2. John Butler says

    Harsh, but not altogether unfair, PB.

    The Blues are so covered in band aids and sticking plaster at present, that it’s just a holding pattern for the last two weeks.

    But some of the kids are definitely showing something. We just need to turn it into meaningful collective effort.

  3. For all the negativity about Carlton, I reckon I spy a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel (and it is not the proverbial freight train coming full-throttle in the opposite direction).

    It is so important that they keep the faith with B Bolton

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