CARLTON has completed its first hitout against external opposition for 2024, falling to Geelong by 17 points.

On a day where the likes of Adam Saad, Ollie Hollands and Jordan Boyd shone for the Blues, the Melbourne heat and wind made for a scrappy affair at IKON Park with both sides blowing out the cobwebs in their opening match simulation of the year.

Quarter one:

The focal point inside the opening 10 minutes was undoubtedly Harry McKay, who took two strong marks in the early going. His first ended in an opportunistic major to Jesse Motlop, before his drop punt sailed through to give the Blues the opening two of the game. Carlton rotated a host of names through the middle of the ground, including David Cuningham and Ollie Hollands, while McKay also had some minutes in the ruck. Adam Cerra was busy as ever in the middle of the ground, while Elijah Hollands was getting involved pushing high up the ground as a forward. Carlton’s opportunities went begging while Geelong capitalised on its own as Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron became increasingly involved. The Cats kicked five major in a row while the Blues could only muster five straight behinds, ending the first time period 14 points in arrears. 

Quarter two:

While the first term was a more high-scoring affair with seven goals, the second quarter was anything but, as the conditions played a big part in a scrappy game of football emerging at IKON Park. With both teams looking to blow out the cobwebs, the play transitioned from end to end, with neither side able to generate meaningful forward entries. Once again some shots on goal went begging for the Blues from set shots, before some selfless play from Charlie Curnow, Matthew Cottrell and Orazio Fantasia all allowed Ashton Moir to slot home the easiest of goals from the line. A similar result followed just a few minutes later, when Tom De Koning assisted Patrick Cripps to convert from close range. Jordan Boyd had some solid moments behind the ball, turning defence into attack, but a pair of late goals ensured Geelong’s handy buffer was reinstated.

Quarter three: 

The second half began much the same as the first, with a Harry McKay mark inside 50. Like the first two quarters, the Blues struggled to make the most of their forward entries when they had them, with the blustery conditions at IKON Park not assisting matters. One of Carlton’s bright sparks throughout the course of the afternoon, Ollie Hollands - who continued to combine his usual wing time with some minutes on ball - produced one of the Blues’ brightest moments of the day, sharking the ball and then converting truly when streaming inside 50. In his first Navy Blue outing, Moir doubled up with his second goal, nailing the goal on his left boot after a spillage inside 50. The Blues’ defence improved in the third term, restricting the Cats to just one goal for the quarter, with Adam Saad the heartbeat for the Blues in the back six, with his ability to rebound out of tight spaces drawing the cheers from the Carlton faithful at IKON Park.

Quarter four:

As the rotations came thick and fast on a hot day, midfielder Jack Carroll came into the game for the first time in the fourth term, winning the opening clearance of the quarter. With an 11-point deficit from the last break to bridge, Carlton looked to put its situational training to the test against external opposition, generating some shots on goal but to little avail. The Cats’ two goals in quick succession took the sting out of the contest in searing heat, despite a long-range goal from McKay and a snap from Charlie Curnow bringing the difference back to within two straight kicks. The contest ended with a flurry of Geelong behinds with 17 points the final margin, as Carlton now turns its attention to Melbourne at IKON Park next Wednesday night in its final dress rehearsal before Opening Round. 

CARLTON      2.5     4.5     6.8     8.8 (56)

GEELONG      5.1     7.4     8.5      10.13 (73)


Carlton: McKay 2, Moir 2, Cripps, Curnow, O.Hollands, Motlop