THE Carlton Reserves kicked the last five goals of the match to surge to a 19-point victory at Avalon Airport Oval.
The Blues trailed by 12 points at one stage in the final quarter but managed to fight back and gain a valuable four points.
Jack Carroll put in another stellar performance, collecting 25 disposals and slotting two goals while Tom Williamson was important in a new role at crucial times.
Werribee got off to the fast start, kicking the opening three goals of the contest. The Blues then grinded their way back into the game, halting the Tigers’ momentum and kicking a goal themselves. It was Ned Cahill who pounced on a loose ball inside 50 and used his speed to break away from his opponent and nail the Blues’ first. Will Hayes was doing his best to keep Carlton in the game with eight touches in the opening quarter.
After seeing off a barrage of Werribee attacks early in the term, Carlton started to click into gear. A quickfire two goals from Ben Crocker pulled the Blues within a goal, before Hayes took full advantage of a 50-metre penalty to convert a set shot that put the Blues in front. Werribee then responded with the last two majors to give them a 10-point lead at half time, but the game was well and truly in the balance. Liam Stocker’s eight touches in the second term were pivotal in repelling some Werribee attacks, while Jack Carroll also lifted to amass 15 disposals in the first half.
Despite the opening goal of the term going to Werribee, Carlton began to turn the tide of the game in this quarter. Crocker’s third of the match and a Carroll goal got the margin back to just six points, before Werribee answered yet again with two majors of its own. The term finished with a flurry of Blues’ goals through Cahill, Williamson and Kemp to put Carlton in front at the final change. Paddy Dow’s centre-bounce work (seven clearances) in this term was pivotal, while the Blues’ commitment was demonstrated with a mark of pure courage from Lachie Fogarty on the siren.
Keeping with the trend of the game, Werribee started the term strongly and skipped out to a two-goal lead. The Blues would come again, only this time there was no response from the Tigers. Dow’s snapped goal was the kick-starter Carlton needed: then, it was Josh Cripps’ time to stand up. The big forward snapped two goals late in the game to give his side a buffer that couldn’t be overcome. Carroll and Lochie O’Brien also found themselves on the scoresheet as the Blues ran away with a 19-point win.
Three things we learned:
1. These Blues have a lot of fight in them. This is the fourth time this season that the Carlton Reserves have won the final quarter convincingly, and it has led them to victory. The Blues’ fitness and ability to fight the game out to the final siren is a big advantage over opposition sides.
2. Ben Crocker can’t stop kicking goals. Another three today makes it 14 goals for the season, which currently has him sitting in second in the competition: he has kicked multiple goals in every game this year.
3. Jack Carroll was damaging in the middle. He drove the Carlton Reserves inside 50 a total of eight times, as well as kicking two goals himself. After an impressive return last week, he backed it up with a great performance in Round 5 as the Blues went 4-1.
WERRIBEE TIGERS 3.7 5.9 8.11 10.14 (74)
CARLTON RESERVES 1.2 4.5 9.6 14.9 (93)
GOALS: Crocker 3, Cahill 2, Carroll 2, Cripps 2, Dow, Hayes, Kemp, O'Brien, Williamson
BEST: Carroll, Williamson, Stocker, Cincotta, Hayes, Crocker
Tarquin Oakley is a student at La Trobe University, undergoing his Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism). He is currently undertaking an internship at the Carlton Football Club as part of its partnership with La Trobe University.