Carlton 18.17 125 def. Richmond 12.9 81
A piece of Chris Yarran brilliance kick-started an avalanche of last quarter goals which allowed Carlton to overrun Richmond and claim their first win of 2012.
In a see-sawing battle Carlton were able to outlast Richmond and coast to an easy 44-point win.
Richmond looked to have all the momentum, coming from 32 points down midway through the third-quarter to draw within 6 points after kicking the first goal of the last quarter.
However, Carlton’s class rose to the top as players such as Marc Murphy and Matthew Kreuzer stepped up a gear and ran over the top of the Tigers.
Richmond got off to a good start, kicking the first two goals of the game, which came from the Tigers’ early midfield dominance, largely thanks to Trent Cotchin.
Despite this, Carlton answered with three of their own goals but were still in two-point arrears at quarter-time courtesy of a Robin Nahas goal.
Second Quarter Domination
With their midfield starting to win the battle and Andrew Carrazzo tagging Cotchin effectively, the Blues began to take control in the second-quarter.
Richmond didn’t help themselves either, returning to habits of old as their disposal efficiency dropped to 59%. Carlton capitalised, kicking 5 goals to 2 for the quarter and taking a 19-point lead into the half-time break.
At the beginning of the second-half, the Tigers’ hopes looked all but lost as Carlton kicked the first 2 goals making it 7 of the last 8.
Richmond needed someone to step up…cue Cotchin and Dustin Martin.
Martin lead the way, breaking the lines and kicking his second goal, while Cotchin returned to his form of the first-quarter, while adding 2 goals himself in a 4-goal run.
Richmond looked like a new team, one that was willing to run and break the lines, leaving Carlton on their heels.
Close, but no cigar.
Jack Riewoldt kicked the first goal of the last quarter which brought the Tigers within 7 points and just as they looked like overrunning the Blues, Chris Yarran brought the house down.
After receiving a handball from Chris Judd just forward of the wing, Yarran proceeded to take on two Richmond players while running along the boundary, jinking to 45m to kick the goal from a few meters inside the boundary.
Although on replay the ball was shown to be out of bounds which begs the question why didn’t it go to video review, it was called a goal and with that, the tide of the game had turned. Carlton were then able to kick 5 of the next 6 to stroll home.
For Carlton, Kreuzer was the star of the night, playing one of his best games since his knee reconstruction. He was dominant both in the air as well as on the ground. With 15 hit-outs, 5 clearances and 5 tackles, the big man showed he is ready to fulfill his potential as one of the elite ruckmen of the competition.
His performance was accompanied by that of Marc Murphy who was prolific in racking up 32 disposals. He was impressive working both offensively and defensively and provided Carlton with a constant source of run and logical decision making.
Carlton’s other best included Simpson and Carrazzo, who played excellent supporting roles in the midfield as well as Shaun Hampson who provided a strong target up-forward kicking 3 goals.
Richmond also had its contributors, most notably Cotchin, who was the Tigers’ best with 27 disposals, 7 clearances and 2 goals. Cotchin was the best on ground in the first-quarter, showing that he will continue his rise into the top tier of players this year.
He had support from Martin who took the game by the scruff of the neck and broke lines when Richmond needed it. There was also Houli who provided drive from half-back and Foley who played well in the center; however the disposals from them were poor at times.
Carlton will come away from this game pleased, erasing any worries from a win-less pre-season.
They will also take solace in the fact that they still have key players to come back that include the likes of Michael Jamison and Andrew Walker. Their only worry will be Jarrad Waite who probably should get off his rough conduct report but the tribunal’s stance on front on contact, as well has his record will certainly cause some nerves.
As for Richmond, they will be a little disheartened, after the hype around the lead-up, the end result may even be seen as bad as previous years.
The return of bad disposals and decision-making is also a worry for a team that had supposedly put it behind them. However, it is only round one and we all know it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Votes: 3) Matthew Kreuzer 2)Marc Murphy 1) Trent Cotchin
Carlton 3.2 8.7 11.13 18.17 (125)
Richmond 3.4 5.6 10.7 12.9 (81)
Carlton: Hampson 3, Betts 2, Armfield 2, Yarran 2, Lucas 2, Waite, Simpson, Garlett, Thornton, Kreuzer, Murphy, Robinson
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Grigg 2, Martin 2, Cotchin 2, Vickery, Nahas
Carlton: Kreuzer, Murphy, Carrazzo, Simpson, Curnow, Hampson
Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Foley, Houli
Reports: Jarrad Waite (Carlton) for rough conduct on Dylan Grimes (Richmond) in the first-quarter.