I really enjoyed my footy last weekend!

It started with great anticipation leading into Friday night footy at the MCG where the Blues took on the Pies.

Then my daughter and I watched an unexpectedly absorbing contest between the Gold Coast Suns and the Bombers on Saturday night.

Come Sunday afternoon, as I thought the weekend was winding down in terms of good footy games, lo-and-behold, the Kangaroos pull a rabbit out of the hat – actually that should be a Cat out of the hat but then that sounds very Dr Seuss really. Well whatever ‘looking glass’ you choose to peak through, North Melbourne pulled off a great and skillful win, beating Geelong at their own game.

But being a Blues girl, I just can’t go past Friday night at the MCG as my game of the round.

Along with 84,258 other people – three of which included my teenage daughter (Carl), her best friend (Coll) and my good friend & work colleague (Coll) – I watched events unfold.

My friend, while a loyal and devoted Pies supporter over many years, is also prepared to be critical. She had just that morning forewarned me of a Collingwood outfit I would perhaps not recognise – in their style of  -anymore and that she fully expected Carlton to have a good win. Of course, I thought she was just being overly cautious and hedging her bets.

But as we sat through game, I was struck by the depletion in skill level and execution I saw. Basic passing, kicking and marking errors seemed almost comical and this continued throughout the game with the exception of a small comeback in the second quarter when Collingwood altered their structure slightly and surged from the backline, through the middle, attacking their own forward 50 and while they only scored three goals, this brought them back into the game.

Of course then the wheels really fell off in the third quarter when the Blues kicked six goals to the Pies’ two.

Significant injuries didn’t help Collingwood’s plight but can by no means be the full excuse for players such as Thomas and Pendlebury who were ineffective and lacking intensity throughout the game.

From the other angle, Carlton did not play a game without mistakes, but overall teamwork and adherence to the gameplan got them pretty close.

The improvement in Carlton’s on-field performance that struck me from last season came from the options available to Ratten and the versatility of nearly every player in the team.

Backline players easily move forward when needed and midfielders move back and forward when assigned to do so with NO disruption to the balance of the play.

Depth is the key!

You could compare it to the emerging abilities in the Australian cricket team that is now seeing blurred lines between specialist batsmen and bowlers and more versatility – all under the heading ‘All Rounder’.

The other element of Carlton’s game that struck me was the pace at which they play. The fitness and endurance of players seems to have worked in their favour this season as they end a game having run the legs off the opposition.

Essendon is the next hurdle and never an easy one no matter the analysis. So as the cliche goes – let’s take it ‘a week at a time’.

Two questions emerge from Friday night… it WAS only Round 3 and Collingwood are too experienced, talented and successful in recent years to be written off just yet, but with the football world now watching with heightened interest, what will happen next?: and in which week will Carlton stumble, if any, on their journey through the season because probability states it WILL happen just how much damage will it do?

My last words though – for those who believe in the aligning of the stars – the last time Carlton won their first three games of the season was in 1995 … their last Premiership year and the year that Brett Ratten won the club’s B&F !!


By Jill Scanlon

Twitter: @ JDScanlon

Blog: Jaydees Halftime



About Jill Scanlon

Blues fan and sports lover. Development through sports advocate; producer, journalist and news follower. Insanely have returned to p/t study - a Masters of International & Community Development. Formerly with ABC International / Radio Australia in Melbourne.


  1. watt price tully says

    Was 1995 the year that Carlton was exposed for cheating & punished by the AFL with deferred round one picks?

    Is winning the first 3 games a sufficient indicator of funny money or simply NQR?

    Lets check Carlton’s books at Price Fixer Park. I’m advised that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

    Carlton unfortunately played really well when the man with the looks of a large dead flathead Kreuzer played a blinder.

  2. No, 1995 was not the year Carlton was exposed for cheating & punished by the AFL.

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