IT WASN’T to be at the SCG, with Carlton falling to Sydney by 52 points on Friday night. 

In the annual Marn Grook game, the Blues got off to a hot start, kicking the first four goals of the game. From there, they were playing catch up as the Swans put on a clinical and comprehensive performance in front of their home crowd.

Nic Newman was strong in Carlton’s defence (32 disposals, 668 metres gained), whilst Marc Pittonet held his own against an explosive Brodie Grundy (21 disposals, 16 contested possessions). 

Charlie Curnow was the Blues' only multiple-goal scorer, breaking a record for consecutive games with a goal kicked with his first of the night. 

Patrick Cripps and Matthew Kennedy held the pressure for the away side in difficult conditions, Cripps finishing with 14 contested possessions and Kennedy seven tackles. 

It was the Swans' fast movement out of the middle that gave them the edge, scoring 31 points from centre bounces and ultimately taking home the four points.

Quarter one 

It was all the Blues early as they burst out of the gate, slotting the first four goals of the game. Mitch McGovern kicked things off with an assist from Ollie Hollands, who was busy in the forward half early on. Charlie Curnow’s goal saw him breaking the ‘consecutive games with a goal’ record, registering a goal in 57 games in a row, overtaking Harry Vallence’s record of 56. Back-to-back goals came from Harry McKay and Matt Owies, putting the Blues on the front foot. When the Swans started to bite back, Jordan Boyd and Nic Newman were instrumental in getting the ball out of the defensive half, while the Blues showed clean and efficient movement down the field. An opportunistic goal from Sam Walsh came from a forward-half turnover, while Sydney ramped up the pressure and kicked the next two goals. Carlton had eight scores from 10 inside 50 entries, leading by nine at the first change.


Quarter two

Sydney truly owned the second quarter, carrying the momentum from late in the first term into the second. Keeping the Blues goalless, the Swans were firing on all cylinders, slotting five goals and smothering all movement with their tackles. Jacob Weitering and McGovern were doing their best to intercept in the back half but the fast ball movement down the middle from Sydney was hard to halt. Elijah Hollands and Blake Acres forced the ball from one end to the other for the Blues but they were unable to capitalise on their time inside 50. Patrick Cripps was putting his all into the contest, totalling 12 contested possessions and four clearances at half time. A lack of composure from the Blues started to result in undisciplined tackles and poor decision-making. Nic Newman continued his influence on the game, kicking at 100 per cent efficiency until the last minute of the term but the Swans went into the main break 14 points ahead. 

Quarter three

The Blues bookended the quarter with goals but between that the Swans kicked seven goals in a row. Dominating in the middle, Sydney had all the answers as Carlton struggled to keep their hands on the ball. The home team used their speed to stream forward, finding open players ahead of the ball. With Brodie Grundy leading the charge, the Swans led centre bounce clearances 8-1 in the third term which then converted into 19-1 points. Newman and Boyd continued to toil in the back half while Matt Kennedy was the No.1 ranked Blue for pressure (up to three-quarter time). Newman launched down the field at any opportunity, leading metres gained for his side but Carlton’s forward-half game wasn’t up to scratch. Unable to stick tackles and hold marks, the Blues weren’t able to capitalise on their work behind the ball, heading into the last term 45 points down. 

Quarter four 

Carlton fought the game out, increasing their pressure and eventually able to get some reward on the scoreboard. Zac Williams slotted his first goal for the year, a small personal reward in Sir Doug Nicholls Round, while George Hewett kicked the Blues' only other goal for the term. Both Hollands’ brothers ran themselves ragged end to end, finishing in the top five for distance covered by the end of the game. Brodie Kemp put together a strong game down back, finishing with 19 disposals and nine intercept possessions, filling the hole left by Weitering. As the Swans kicked another three goals, they took home a 52-point victory in the Marn Grook game.

Match summary 

Sydney     3.6     7.8     14.12     17.15 (117)
Carlton     5.3     5.6     7.9          9.11 (65)

Carlton: Curnow 2, Hewett, Kennedy, McGovern, McKay, Owies, Walsh, Williams

Carlton: Newman, Cripps, Acres, Kennedy, Curnow

Carlton: Weitering (thigh)