Round 7 – Carlton v Port Adelaide: So near and yet so good


It is unusual to enjoy a defeat, but this was so nearly a win!


Having spoilt my dinner last week, the AFL nearly spoiled my lunch this week. What’s wrong with 2.10pm?


I have mixed feelings about Port. My Adelaide family are firmly Crows and you are either one or the other, but my first Grand Final as an AFL Member was Port v Brisbane in 2004 and I had to support Port as Brisbane had won three in a row!


They were dealt a very raw deal having to play in teal. They have nearly managed to eradicate it and on Sunday they were in grey which was pretty drab but turned out to be very appropriate.


I have unhappy memories of them doing us by about 15 goals at Princes Park in 1998. It may have been more – I left early!


A really high standard game was opened by Boak with a brilliant long snap. Then Charlie Dixon got his first, followed 17 seconds later by Motlop with a superb shimmy followed by a mongrel which went straight through. 18-0 and things were looking dire.


But Eddie got it to Gibbons for a goal, then McGovern to Eddie to Walsh for another and things were looking not so bad.


They kicked out on the full and McKay took a contested mark on 50, ran to 25 and kicked a left-foot banana in an early contender for goal of the year!


Then Jack Martin into the action on the run from 50 and we were up by a goal!


Curnow missed then McGovern got it to Levi in the pocket. Too close? Yes – behind!


An easy goal to Farrell then Dixon had a shot on the siren which missed. 26-25 to Blues at quarter.


Opening Q2, Eddie gets it in traffic, sidesteps and goals. Levi from 15 hits the post – still too close!


Farrell gets his second then Dixon misses twice, but he’s consistently outmarking Liam Jones.


Butters butters up with a goal and we can only manage a rushed behind. Boak misses and at half it’s 5.4 Carlton to 6.4 Port, who had won the quarter 2.3 to 1.2.


I was talking to my sister in NSW for much of Q3 but saw McKay get a goal and Dixon get one and miss one. 1.2 apiece for the quarter and still Port by a goal at three quarter. Walsh took a fantastic pack mark that I only caught on replay. This kid can do it all!


He starts Q4 with a brilliant crumbed goal (Panko!)


Newnes the ex-saint restores his halo from an excellent handpass by Setterfield and we’re up by 7!


But Dixon marks and goals and looks unstoppable.


Cripps kicks out on the full. McKay does a classic lead, mark and goal.


Houston has a problem and only gets a behind.


Dixon marks through Jones rather than against him but luckily misses.


Robbie Grey gets a free at 25 and misses. No4 misses from the goalsquare. It’s one-way traffic – can we hang on?


With 6 seconds left, Grey marks 40 out on the boundary. It’s death or glory. It’s glory!


Still, losing to the top team by a very good goal from the last kick of the day is about as good as a loss gets. The Blues are back in town (as it were). Won the final quarter 3.1 to 2.4 but lost the match. Robbie Grey, in grey, the saviour.







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  1. John Butler says

    Matt, I vividly remember that thrashing Port gave us in ’98. An abiding image is Tredrea standing on Peter Dean’s shoulders to take a screamer as they piled on the goals. At that stage we looked a chance for the spoon, before a big revival in the second half of the season.

    Then next season, the ’99 Prelim. :)

    Here’s hoping we can stage a similar turnaround now. This was the best game I’ve seen this season. Shame about the end.


  2. Peter Fuller says

    A fine narrative of a good day for the Blues; yes, the result was a disappointment, but from midway through the 2nd quarter, in my observation, we were just hanging in because of the frenetic tempo at which the opening quarter – and a bit – was played. The fact that the effort was sustained for so long suggests a spirit which will carry this team a long way.
    I’m so pleased that you drew attention to Sam Walsh’s mark, reminiscent of my all time favourite, Ken Hunter, as he ghosted across the pack, insensitive to physical danger.

  3. Thanks Peter,
    Perhaps we should put together a collection of Carlton’s Hundred Greatest Marks!
    Building on John’s recollections of Tredrea over Dean, there could be a collection of greatest marks over Carlton players too, but I wouldn’t want to be involved with that one!

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