THE Carlton Reserves were left to rue a big missed opportunity on Saturday night, coughing up a match-winning lead to fall by seven points against Frankston.

Leading by 48 points at the final change in a game dictated by the end which had the breeze, the Dolphins piled on 10 goals to leave the Blues stunned at SkyBus Stadium.

In positive news, Caleb Marchbank made a highly impressive return from injury, collecting 20 disposals in three scheduled quarters to be one of his side’s best.

Quarter one

The Blues were kicking with a hefty breeze at Skybus Stadum, and they made the most of it. The ball got rolling - literally - with Lachie Fogarty’s opener, whose inside 50 from just forward of the centre circle bounced all the way through for a goal. It was the first of five the Blues would kick for the quarter, with Paddy Dow also converting from long range. It wasn’t all simple for the Blues, as the home side converted into the breeze as tempers began to flare. It looked as though the Carlton Reserves would take a slender lead into the first change, but late goals from VFL-listed leaders Will Hayes and Ben Crocker was exactly what the Navy Blue doctor ordered.

Quarter two

The Blues knew the assignment in the second term was going to be tough, but Dow’s second in the opening stages - where he snapped truly after taking advantage from a downfield free kick - was the perfect start. As the Blues’ defensive 50 started to see more of the Sherrin, the second term presented the chance for Carlton fans to see exactly what they had been missing for a long time in the form of Caleb Marchbank. The key defender intercepted at will and repelled a number of Frankston forward entries, finishing the half with 16 disposals: the equal-most on the ground alongside Will Setterfield. A number of chances went begging from a Dolphins perspective, as the Blues took a 21-point lead into the main break.

Quarter three

Cooper Stephens started the third term in the same manner as the others: with a Carlton player kicking a classy goal to get things going. It was an opener indicative of the quality of the Blues’ goals to come that term, with a pair of classy majors from Ben Crocker and a Tom North banana from deep in the pocket adding to it. With Will Setterfield coming from the ground at half time as planned, Paddy Dow and Lachie Fogarty continued their strong form in the middle. They were well-supported by Alex Mirkov, who added to his strong of improving form with seven clearances to three-quarter time: more than anyone else on the ground.

Quarter four

Disappointingly from a Carlton perspective, the final term was where three quarters of good work was undone. Kicking with the breeze, Frankston got wind in its sail when it kicked three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the term, and didn’t look back from there. Ultimately, the home side kicked 10 consecutive goals, as the Blues struggled to get their hands on the footy out of the middle of the ground, while ill-discipline cost them at various stages. Sam Philp dribbled a goal to give the Blues some hope, but it was very much a case of a lost opportunity once the final siren blared out around SkyBus Stadium and the Blues were left wondering how they’d let it slip.

Three things we learned

1. Welcome back, Caleb Marchbank. It was an outstanding return to action for the defender, who - in his first game for over a year - amassed 20 disposals in three quarters of game time. The second quarter in particular was where the returning Marchbank proved his wares, amassing 10 disposals for the term and holding up well amid a Frankston barrage of inside 50s. His presence was missed in the final term.

2. The midfield duo of Paddy Dow and Lachie Fogarty were important in their team’s good work on Saturday night. In conditions which suited the latter in particular, the AFL-listed duo were central in the Blues. Dow’s stat line continued to blossom with 33 disposals, 10 clearances and two goals, while Fogarty added a game-high 12 tackles to 27 disposals and the opening goal of the game.

3. Round 7 will go down as a case of ‘what might have been’ for the Blues. The Blues dominated three quarters, making the most of their time with their breeze while also stopping the Dolphins in their tracks in the second term. However, the final term was a wake-up call for the Blues, who couldn’t arrest the momentum from Frankston on the way to the hosts kicking 10 straight goals to resign the Blues to a second defeat of the campaign.

FRANKSTON                      1.3     2.7     3.7         13.8          
CARLTON RESERVES        5.3     6.4     11.7       12.7


Carlton: Crocker 3, Dow 2, Cripps, Fogarty, Hayes, North, Philp, Shannon, Stephens


Carlton: Dow, Fogarty, Radovanovic, Marchbank, Mirkov, Philp