Round 1 – Carlton v Richmond: Same Old

My late father proposed a ninth beatitude to the eight of the Biblical Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed is he who expecteth little for he will rarely be disappointed.

I approached the Carlton-Richmond clash in this frame of mind, indicating my pessimistic prediction to anyone who would listen. I am uncertain how much that reflected my assessment or whether it was merely pre-emptive protection of my post-match emotional equilibrium.

In the event Carlton teased us by enjoying ascendancy for the first forty minutes of the match, where they ran to a 44-21 advantage. Recruits Jones and Jaksch were contributing, Gibbs was demonstrating his effectiveness, Wood was holding his own in the ruck, and the defence was holding firm, aided by the Tigers inability to exploit their opportunities.

From then until half-time, Richmond reversed the early pattern of the match – 4 goals 7 to a solitary behind reflected their complete dominance. Griffiths, Lloyd and Ellis were lively forwards, McIntosh a first-gamer revelation and Houli, Vlastuin and Rance launched attacks from a series of inept turnovers by Carlton going into their forward line. Taylor Hunt indicated that he will be a very useful acquisition.

The Blues rallied in the early minutes of the third term, when the ball spent most of the time in the forward fifty. However the miserly return of two behinds proved their final opportunity to make a contest of the match. The dismal quarter yielded 2 goals 3 to the Tiges against three behinds in a scrappy demonstration of the sport at its least edifying.

While the mathematical margin ensured that my Tiger companion Terry remained nervous, the pattern of the game was established, so that the conclusion was now inevitable. In a regulation final quarter, Richmond slightly extended its lead to ensure a solid first-up victory.

A minor consolation for the writer was a late flurry of goals and the fact that the quarter ran long enough to allow Sam Rowe to slot one as the siren sounded. This was (barely) enough to secure my speculative wager on the total game points exceeding 181.

It’s easy to read too much into a single performance, but some worrying signs are evident at Carlton. Elementary mistakes, especially by foot, poor decision-making and a lack of composure remain serious issues. In any environment – domestic, workplace, sports field – the person who responds well to crisis or emergency is prized. Carlton have too few such steady hands. While I await the reincarnation of Bruce Doull, and I’d settle for a Peter Dean, Andrew McKay or Mike Sexton, the contemporary Blues go to water when the heat goes on. Poor kicking remains a problem, highlighted by a terrible example where Gibbs (probably the team’s most reliable ball user) floated a 30 metre unpressured kick out on the full.

The Tigers will need to improve, but surely will. They seem to have an effective game plan and players with sufficient talent and confidence in each other to give promise of a measure of success in 2015.



  1. Neil Anderson says

    Peter, we could be brothers. Either that or our fathers graduated from the same school of advanced pessimism.
    Reading those words about not expecting much and therefore not being disappointed was so familiar it was like a message from the grave. My father would never get too biblical with his tenets, but he would trot out something like, ‘ Don’t bother reaching for the sky, because you’ll probably never make it.” Then again it might have been a variation on Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry with his, ” A man’s got to know his limitations.”
    I can’t add much about Carlton because I’m only interested in my own team and there’s actually a flicker of optimism a few hours from their first match. Do you think the ‘foreign legion’ aspect is causing some disunity at Carlton?

  2. Well said Peter. Not a lot to take out of this match when it’s all said and done.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great catching up with you on Wednesday night Peter. The thing that concerned me most about the Blues was that they weren’t that keen to lay tackles. Most un-Malthouse-like with their lack of intensity.

    If Kreuzer can get back and find some form I still reckon you’ll be near the 8. Cam Wood…oh my God….

  4. Terry Sheehan says

    Enjoyed your synopsis Peter and you company at The Game of the Season ( well first anyway) .Cold be a long season for the blues but with luck a return of Warnock and inclusion of sheehan you never know…thanks for organising the tickets too

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