Round 9 – Fremantle v Carlton: Luck has deserted us

 

 

Carlton endured a fruitless trip to Perth when they were decisively outpointed by Fremantle at Subiaco on Sunday afternoon. Worse, they finished the day two players down on a day when luck seemed to have deserted them. As the corresponding fixture in 2016 had produced a narrow victory (Brendan Bolton’s first as Blues’ coach) and kick-started a run of six wins in seven matches, some optimists were hopeful of something better.

 

The Blues opened in promising fashion, as it seemed that Fremantle had been misled about the scheduling of the game. They didn’t turn up until the 25 minute mark of the opening term, while the Blues rattled on four goals four, and dominated all statistical measures. Fisher aided by a favourable bounce provided the opening goal with a fine running shot. Thomas added the next with a fine kick from the right forward pocket. This resulted from an out  on the full free when Ibbotson unlucklily stumbled and made contact to put the ball over the line. Murphy kicked the next as he collected from a throw-in, and a desperate tackle fortuitously allowed him to straighten his kick. Casboult marked and the 50 metre penalty for an opponent’s encroachment gave him a simple close range shot. Lucky breaks all running the Blues’ way!

 

To this stage, the Dockers had barely reached their forward 50, in fact their first two penetrations of the arc came from Carlton backwards kicks. However the final minutes  of the term saw a restoration of normal transmission. Brad Hill’s probing kick bounced through for the home team’s opening goal, and although they only registered behinds, it was ominous that Fyfe and Neale scored before the break. The other key indicator that Carlton’s luck was running out was Sam Rowe’s injury late in the quarter, which led to his taking no further part in the match.

 

Kersten marked and goaled at the two minute mark of the 2nd quarter, but Gibbs replied a few minutes later, with Simpson, Kreuzer and Thomas providing the service. Crozier answered for the Dockers barely a minute later, but in a fifteen minute goalless period, Carlton managed to keep Freo more than two goals distant. In the final three minutes, the dam wall broke (perhaps inevitably) with a 2nd goal to Crozier and another to the ubiquitos Neale. As well these few minutes brought further problems for the Blues as Daisy Thomas was concussed (contact, alas with Alex Silvagni).

 

When the game resumed, Carlton’s task was evidenced by the fact that Thomas and Rowe were on the bench in their street clothes. Fremantle now went to work with intent. Walters put them in front for the first time, when he converted the free for Docherty’s holding him  in the marking contest. While Casboult was able to score to put the Blues back in the lead, this was all too brief, as Kersten goaled almost immediately. This was the result of yet another indication of Carlton’s luck having run out. While most of the match had been played in driving rain, the sun broke through for long enough to dazzle two Blues’ defenders and cause their failure to complete a chest mark, leaving the former Geelong player a simple snap. Walters (twice) and McCarthy added goals to extend the lead to 22 points, unbridgeable in the conditions and with Carlton handicapped by a reduced bench.

 

The final quarter ran its inevitable course, played in tropical rain. After 13 minutes with just a solitary behind, Docherty goaled from a free, when he was blocked by Pearce at a marking contest. However, this was just the Blues’ 2nd for the half, and their 3rd since quarter time,so it was no surprise to see the Dockers dominate the remaining minutes. Carlton went scoreless while Brad Hill, Mayne and Taberner goaled to extend the final margin to 35 points.

 

Fremantle dominated the match after the Blues’ early flurry. Sandilands exploited his 10-11cm height advantage to dominate the rucks and gave his runners first use. In this, he was assisted by the fact that the umpires were obliged to throw the ball up, as bouncing wasn’t possible. Neale was a prolific ball-winner and as usual his disposal was highly efficient. After the opening minutes, Johnson was a rock in defence. Walters, Crozier and Kersten were effective forwards, and Mayne and Fyfe were solid contributors.

 

For the Blues, Murphy, Docherty and Ed Curnow struggled hard but it was an uphill battle after quarter time, reflected in the fact that Fremantle 13-6 to 3-3 in the final three quarters.

 

FREMANTLE     1.2     5.4    10.7   13.8 (86)

CARLTON         4.4     5.6     6.9     7.9 (51)

 

GOALS

Fremantle: Walters 3, Crozier 3, Kersten 2, B.Hill 2, Neale, McCarthy, Taberner

Carlton: Casboult 2, Fisher, Thomas, Murphy, Gibbs, Docherty

BEST 

Fremantle: Neale, Blakely, Johnson, Weller, Walters, Crozier, Sandilands

Carlton: Docherty, Murphy, Gibbs, A.Silvagni, Curnow, Cripps

 

INJURIES 

Fremantle: Nil

Carlton: Sam Rowe (knee), Dale Thomas (concussion)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Dalgleish, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 30,313 at Domain Stadium

Malarkey Medal Votes:

3.  Neale (Frem.)    2. Sandilands (Frem.)  1.  Johnson (Frem.)

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