Round 22 – Carlton v Hawthorn: Blues have luck on their side

Okay, I get it.

Carlton, once again, has had a poor season and has lost 14 straight against Hawthorn, with about ten of them at this ground.

The greatest club in VFL history has been the worst team in the AFL era and playing against the best in the modern age, you have to wonder just how bad tonight will be.

But I have hope. The Blues have been playing Etihad better recently and with an improved effort against the Bombers last week, I decided to put all $7.99 in my CrownBet account on an upset. I’d love to win to stop the Hawks from making the finals.

The game starts with a free to Kreuzer as Big Boy has been impeding him all night and low and behold, within ten seconds, Gibbs snaps and kicks a goal. Or so we thought. It appears Samo touched the ball, friendly fire style, to make it only a behind. Typical Hawthorn luck.

We tackle hard and it’s not long before Gibbs is afforded a 50 metre penalty to kick the first goal from the goals square. Blow the siren I say! Umps are doing a great job.

We’ve had all the play before another free, this time to Wright, leads to a second and thirteen point lead. The game meanders slowly with no real momentum from either side until little Poppy snaps a goal for the Hawks. It’s not long before Carlton’s only premiership player (I assume that’s why he’s our highest paid player), Daisy marks in the goal square, kicking a major right on his range – 20 metres out. No ankle issues here.

The big screen seems to be focusing too much on Silvagni – presumably because he is yet to touch the ball – while I wonder whether Blaine Boerkhurst could be used in random sentences (for example, the maths teacher might say: “as mentioned previously, if you focus on the hypotenuse you soon realise in trigonometry that the Blaine Boerkurst applies when seeking the right angle,” or “I’m sorry sir, we spoken with your insurance company and they have exercised the Blaine Boerkurst clause.”)

Anyway, the game continues with Hawthorn handballing a lot and Carlton doing little kicks until Lamb does an unfortunate bounce kick behind. Why I don’t know but this may explain why the Blues are in 17th spot. It appears I’m being really unfair as just before the siren, Charlie ‘Curnowfidies’ passes majestically to the ever reliable hands of Levi ‘Tiger’ Casboult, who for a change, kicks truly for a 21 point quarter time lead. There is hope. C’mon the Blues!

The second term starts as it has far too often over the last decade with a Hawthorn goal within a few minutes. God I hate them. Mitchell seems to be getting a lot of the ball, Hodgey looks like his career is already over, Roughie and Breust both miss set shots, before Breust dribbles one through and there’s only seven points in it.

Oh crap! Not again. Please don’t let it happen again. Zac Fisher goals shortly afterwards but this is quickly followed by two Hawthorn goals and they are in front. Please stop!

And it does. With the future of Carlton’s forward line, Charlie Curnow, taking a mark and goaling a la Kouta 20 years ago. At the half we somehow have a three point lead and I’m none the wiser if we can’t halt Hawthorn’s finals charge.

Jed Lamb goals truly from a Sicily free kick early in the third and then the same curly haired umpire does the decent thing again and give Levi Casboult a 50 metre penalty taking him to the goal square. The Blues show some pace with Samo, Pickett and Fisher but the real work is the drive from the backline. Poppy, Ryan Burton and Taylor Duryea (who has just wonderful hair) reciprocate with three great running goals for Hawthorn and just like that we are behind.

But we hold our cool and Pickett marks neatly before giving us the lead once more. This is without doubt his best game for the Blues and I’m beginning to feel we can hold them off. Lamb kicks perfectly from the pocket to give us an 8 point lead at the last break.

The final term starts off with a snap from Isaac Smith, who can’t kick winning goals against good sides or in finals, but always seems to kick perfectly against the Blues. Shortly afterwards Liam Jones executes the spoil of the season to stop a certain Hawthorn goal. It proves pivotal as in the next few moments, Kreuzer is gifted a free and goal to set up an eight point lead. To the umpires, I again thank you and think the karma gods are on our side.

The rest is a bit of a blur, surprisingly not due to alcohol but fear of losing and atmosphere. There are goals from Pickett and Burgoyne, both from true kicks. My recollection is the ball did circle work for the next 10 minutes with the crowd going ape droppings before Gibbs drops the easiest mark in the goal square and then hits the post as the siren sounds. The hoodoo is over and the Hawks can’t make the finals. Ahh, the serenity.

The Blues haven’t won many games this year but wins against GWS, the Swans and old enemies Essendon and Collingwood, and now Hawthorn make it almost all worthwhile. Here’s hoping it is the start of a successful rebuild.

Go Blues!

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