CARLTON 3.3 7.8 8.14 15.17 (107)
MELBOURNE 3.4 5.7 6.10 6.13 (49)
Carlton have returned to the winners list, accounting for a more competitive Melbourne by 58 points.
While the final margin was quite large, it was not reflective of the whole game.
For the first three quarters, Melbourne were able to take it up to the Blues and make it a contest. At three-quarter time they were only three goals down but seven unanswered goals to Carlton in the last put the game beyond doubt.
After the smacking they got in the midfield last week, the Blues’ star line had come under question but their answer was emphatic.
They dominated the Demons in the midfield, gathering 38 more contested possessions and a whopping 28 more clearances. Despite this dominance, the game was still up for grabs with a quarter left so Carlton still have a way to go.
As for Melbourne, they were able to stay in the contest for three quarters which is a marked improvement from last week, but their last quarter drop off is almost as disappointing. They continually made simple errors which meant that they never gained any momentum.
The Demons came out firing in the first quarter, kicking the first two goals.
Their defence was standing up and they kept the ball in their forward half. However, their inability to capitalise on their opportunities would come back to haunt them.
Two terrible errors in the last two minutes gifted the Blues two goals, reducing Melbourne’s lead to only a point in at the break.
In the second quarter Carlton began to gain ascendency, their class showing as they moved the ball from the backline to the forward-line with ease. Melbourne’s problems were further complicated with the loss of Brad Green five minutes into the quarter.
The Blues’ silky transition and stoppage dominance was rewarded with four goals, whereas Melbourne could only muster two goals through Mitch Clark.
The game then evolved into a gritty contest in the third with the game very much in the balance. However, each team could only muster a goal each.
Carlton had most of the play but some desperate defending as well as poor execution meant they could not put the game to bed.
The floodgates opened in the last quarter as Melbourne could not keep up the pressure. Carlton began to move forward without much resistance.
Eddie Betts was the main beneficiary, kicking three of Carlton’s seven last quarter goals to finish with five.
Mitch Robinson starred for the Blues, collecting 33 disposals, seven clearances and kicking three goals. He was excellent through the midfield and the half-forward line, delivering quality ball to the forwards as well as kicking a few himself.
He was joined by Brock McLean who stepped up in Marc Murphy’s absence and had one of his best performances in the navy blue jumper.
He provided great contested work with 33 possessions, 17 contested, proving he may be the missing link that Carlton have been looking for. Kade Simpson was also impressive in his usual outside role, while Andrew Walker continued to flourish up the ground.
From Melbourne’s point of view it was their backline that stood up. Both Jack Grimes and Jared Rivers provided run and direction off the half-back line and were able to beat their opponents on multiple occasions.
Another Demon who stood up was Jordie McKenzie who did an excellent job on Chris Judd, nullifying his influence.
1) Mitch Robinson (Carlton)
2) Brock McLean (Carlton)
3) Kade Simpson (Carlton)
Carlton: Betts 5, Robinson 3, Hampson 2, Walker 2, Armfield, Kreuzer, Tuohy
Melbourne: Clark 3, Blease, Howe, Jones
Carlton: Robinson, McLean Simpson, Walker, Jamison
Melbourne: Grimes, Rivers, McKenzie, Watts, McDonald
Carlton: Henderson (groin) and Yarran (toe) replaced in selected side by Lucas and Bower, Collins (knee)
Melbourne: Bartram (knee) replaced in selected side by Tapscott, Green (lung)
Carlton: Kane Lucas replaced Dennis Armfield in the third quarter
Melbourne: Jamie Bennell replaced Brad Green (lung) in the second quarter
CROWD: 28,371 at the MCG