The Carlton Reserves couldn’t capitalise on a blistering start at IKON Park, falling by four points to Sandringham.

Despite kicking the first four goals in the opening 17 minutes, the Blues only managed five more for the rest of the match which ultimately wasn’t enough.

Paddy Dow was the Blues’ best, racking up 30 disposals and eight clearances while Jordan Boyd was very impressive off the half back line with 24 touches and five inside 50s.

Quarter one

Carlton got off to the perfect start, with the long-sleeved Boyd sending home a long-range goal for the Blues’ first. Sam Philp followed that up with a major of his own, before Dow put on a show for the IKON Park crowd. He nailed one of his two goals for the term off a couple of steps from just inside 50, the other a snap out of congestion that sailed just inside the left goal post. Sandringham kicked a much-needed goal just before the siren and the Blues took a three-goal lead into the first change. Boyd and Dow picked up 11 touches each as well as getting on the scoresheet, while Tom Williamson - playing on the wing - had 10 handballs in the opening stanza.

Quarter two

It was the Zebras who started the better in the second term, kicking two quick goals to get themselves back within a kick. The Blues however found a way to snag a major when they needed to, answering Sandringham’s fast start with a David Handley snap set up by another Williamson handpass. The quarter finished goal-for-goal as Ben Crocker’s 20th of the season was enough to keep the Blues in front at the half despite Sandringham charging back into the contest. Caleb Marchbank was vital in defence, taking the equal-most marks on the ground with seven along with 13 disposals in the opening half.

Quarter three

Williamson’s lovely left-foot major on the run gave the Blues a handy two-goal break early in the quarter. It was Sandringham who then continued to fight its way back, kicking consecutive goals to take the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. The Carlton Reserves managed to stifle the Zebras’ momentum but couldn’t score themselves, as both sides wasted chances in a tight third term. With just two points the difference it was anyone’s game at the final change. Caleb Marchbank came from the field early in the quarter with a sore knee, the opposite to the one he injured last year, and was rested for the remainder of the game.

Quarter four             

It wasn’t the start to the final term the Blues wanted, with Sandringham its third and fourth goals in a row to get the margin out to 16 points. The Carlton Reserves then rallied to make sure this one went down to the wire. Joel Trudgeon and Ned Cahill both kicked majors from holding-the-ball free kicks to get the Blues within a goal. The Blues were willing despite ending the game with just one player on the bench, as Alex Mirkov (ankle) and Matt Shannon (hamstring) came from the ground while Josh Honey completed his allocated minutes on return. The effort continued to the final siren, but it wasn’t enough in the end as Sandringham pinched a four-point win.  

Three things we learned:

1. The long sleeves may be here to stay for Jordan Boyd, after he put in a great performance at IKON Park. Of his 24 disposals, 18 were kicks: he made sure when he got the ball, he had maximum impact.

2. The Blues fought the game out to the end, none more so than Zavier Maher. Although he didn’t get a lot of the football, Maher - who featured for the Young Guns a fortnight ago - laid 10 tackles which was a game-high.

3. You’ve got to play four quarters. Last time out it was a dominant final term from Frankston that stole the match from the Blues, but in Round 9, the Carlton Reserves couldn’t maintain the rage for the full game after a great opening quarter.

CARLTON RESERVES       4.3     6.6     7.9     9.11 (65)
1.2     5.7     7.11    9.15 (69)

Carlton Reserves: Dow 2, Boyd, Cahill, Crocker, Handley, Philp, Trudgeon, Williamson

Carlton Reserves: Dow, Boyd, Williamson, Fogarty, Cincotta, Trudgeon

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.