Round 22 – Melbourne v Carlton: Wicked Pickett Blues



Melbourne v Carlton
13th August 2022 7.25 p.m.


In recent years it’s been rare for Carlton to be involved in a match with the stakes as high as they were when the Blues faced Melbourne last Saturday night. Often matches hyped in prospect turned out anti-climatic, when one contender performs below its best or is subdued by the opposition. However, this was a match for the ages. A pulsating contest which was in doubt until the final seconds. With nine lead changes and scores level for long periods of the match, each team enjoying periods of ascendancy and a single kick margin reflect a truly competitive game. Defences dominated the opening quarter in which the first score was registered after seven minutes. Each team managed a solitary goal, and Carlton secured a one point lead at quarter time with a behind in the final seconds of the term.


Melbourne threatened to take control during the second quarter, but the Blues managed to hang in. Fritsch goaled after the siren following his speccy to enable the Dees to take an eight point lead at the interval. To that stage, Melksham had surprisingly been their most productive forward with two of their four goals. Otherwise it was the usual suspects, Oliver, Brayshaw, and Petracca, while Viney was performing an effective lockdown on Walsh. The Blues were scrapping hard with defenders, Young, Weitering and Marchbank countering Melbourne attacks, McKay a lively roaming forward and Docherty and Cripps solid in midfield.


In the opening minutes of the third quarter, the Demons again looked ominous. Twice they stretched the lead to a game-high 11 points, significant in itself in a low scoring game, but also promising or threatening to be extended. However, Carlton’s response, which seemed scrappy, somehow yielded three goals in four and a half minutes. A cheap downfield free to McKay from Salem’s barely late tackle on McGovern was followed by goals from two brilliant individual efforts by lesser lights.


Owies’ superb smother of May’s clearance attempt saw the ball rebound to Curnow and his accurate square pass gave Durden a regulation set shot. Cottrell then won the ball in a contest with two opponents and centred to Martin who also goaled. This left the Blues improbably seven points up, when the game had seemed to be flowing away from them just minutes previously. Melbourne then engineered another shift in momentum, but managed one goal five to one behind for the balance of the quarter, so that they led by a mere three points at the last change.


The final quarter raised the tension and the quality another notch.


Martin, closing on the goals, was legged by Hunt and his free kick major put Carlton back in front. Langdon scored from the goal line, when Melksham’s shot fell short to restore the Dees’ lead. Carlton then mirrored Melbourne’s late third quarter effort, scoring one goal six in a fifteen minute period, interrupted by Brown’s mark and goal at the other end. Martin’s second goal for the quarter and third for the match had an element of good fortune about it, as he barely connected foot to ball as Lever tackled him desperately as JM ran towards an open goal.


Then Charlie Curnow, quiet for much of the night, marked and goaled to stretch Carlton’s lead to eight points. Those of us relying on the stadium clock rather than the countdown version knew that there was still time to play as there had been three score reviews and a blood rule delay during the quarter.


Little did we know that the clock would stop at 36 minutes.


This allowed time for Melksham to add a postscript by way of his fourth goal, and then the final seconds stroke of magic by Pickett.


Ultimately Melbourne prevailed, probably the right result as they were the more convincing over the four quarters; yet as a genuine roll-of-the-dice contest, which might well have seen the outcome reversed, Carlton can feel unlucky. The other sense in which I consider Melbourne’s victory was the right outcome is my misgiving about Carlton’s successful effort to employ a legalistic strategy to have Patrick Cripps’ suspension overturned.


The end result is that round 23 should be riveting with only Geelong of the top nine teams assured of their final position, and the Cats of course don’t know who they will meet in a fortnight’s time.


MELBOURNE 1.2 4.6 7.11 11.13 (79)
CARLTON 1.3 3.4 7.8 10.14 (74)


Melbourne: Melksham 4, Pickett 2, Fritsch, Gawn, Petracca, Langdon, Brown
Carlton: McKay 3, Martin 3, Fisher, Silvagni, Durdin, Curnow


Melbourne: Brayshaw, Viney, Oliver, May, Melksham
Carlton: Docherty, Cripps, McKay, Walsh, Young


Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Nil


Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Adam Cerra (adductor) replaced in selected side by Will Setterfield


Melbourne: James Harmes (unused)
Carlton: Paddy Dow (unused)
Votes: (with tongue planted firmly in cheek)
3. Christopher Townshend QC
2. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
1. Jake Melksham (Melbourne)
With apologies to Sam Docherty, Angus Brayshaw



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  1. Huge game tomorrow, Peter

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    I am gutted for Carlton supporters. I alsi had some self interest as I picked Carlton to finish 6th ‘ish in tip the top 8. Just a couple of errors late two weeks in a row were costly. A riveting last round of football.

  3. Peter Fuller says

    Smokie, from your lips to God’s ears.
    Daryl, Thank you and sorry that the line in our theme song is more truthful as “we’re the team that always lets you down.”
    In truth, the final two rounds’ performances have exceeded expectations, although yesterday was an unforgivable wasted opportunity after the exhilaration of the third quarter. Sorry that we let you down, but you will only lose 9 points (3 squared) rather than four, if the Blues had managed to finish the job, so you should still be in contention for the comp.

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