CARLTON has fallen by 12 points to Greater Western Sydney, ending a five-match winning run.

The Blues made an outstanding start to proceedings in enemy territory, kicking eight first-quarter goals, but had no answers in the middle portion of the game as the Giants dominated.

A late charge by the Blues at one point had them in a position to steal a comeback win against all odds, but they ultimately left themselves too much to do, struggling to contain the Giants’ attacking firepower in the 18.8 (116) to 16.8 (104) defeat.

Patrick Cripps again led from the front with 32 disposals and two goals, while Harry McKay recorded his second five-goal haul of the season.
Quarter one

Two of the key talking points coming into the game were the respective roles of taggers Toby Bedford and Alex Cincotta. Bedford went straight to Sam Walsh, while Cincotta spent his time with Stephen Coniglio — and the Blue had a key win early. A holding-the-ball tackle set the ball in motion for a Harry McKay opening goal, and the 2021 Coleman Medallist was the hot hand early, kicking the first three goals for Carlton. Tom De Koning showed the benefits of freshening up last week with a brilliant start, surging the Blues forward from stoppages: Carlton ended the term with eight goals, five of those coming from clearances. Patrick Cripps was a key beneficiary with 11 disposals and a goal, while Zac Williams had quite the homecoming, kicking three first-quarter goals against his old side to match McKay’s return. Nic Newman and Jacob Weitering had crucial one-on-one victories down back, with the Blues holding up well despite conceding a late goal from a turnover. However, the Blues would’ve been wary of the Giants being able to generate attacking opportunities, conceding 14 inside 50s for the term. At the other end, the Blues were efficient going forward on the back of their clearance dominance (18-7), registering 12 scoring shots from 17 inside 50s.



Quarter two

If the first term was well and truly dictated by the Blues, it was clear from the outset the second was on the Giants’ terms. The Blues were unable to arrest any momentum from the home side, with their defence unable to cope with a flurry of inside 50s. Mitch McGovern was off the ground in the early part of the term after receiving treatment during quarter time, while Weitering spent nearly 20 minutes on the bench following a cork in the dying stages of the first quarter. The Blues went from having a contested possession differential of +7 to -5, as the Giants got their running game going and converted off the back of it. Carlton conceded seven goals for the quarter and could only manage seven inside 50s compared to the Giants’ 14, with the home side scoring freely and looking likely with every entry. The Blues had a brief moment of respite in the middle of the term, with Cripps providing an inspirational solo goal and Fantasia nailing an opportunistic snap moments later. The Giants had nine of the top 10 ball-winners for the quarter, as the Blues went from having a 33-point lead to a two-point ascendancy at the main break.
Quarter three

The third term started in a similar manner to the second, with the Giants dominating at the source and scoring off the back of it. The home side had kicked three unanswered goals - leading for the first time in the night in the process - before the Blues could muster a clearance or inside 50, well and truly putting the team on the back foot and get a hold on the game. Jesse Hogan loomed as the danger man, kicking five goals to three-quarter time, as the home side dominated time in possession. Tom De Koning, Ollie Hollands and Sam Walsh were the most prolific Blues of the quarter with five disposals apiece, with one positive for the Blues being the return of Jacob Weitering to the ground. Harry McKay ended what had been a barren run for the Blues, kicking his fourth from a 50-metre penalty to give the Blues a reprieve. 


 Quarter four

After the form shown in last quarters in recent weeks, the Blues still needed something special if they were to overturn a five-goal deficit at the main break. They weren’t able to get the wheel turning immediately, but the game was back in an arm wrestle — something the Blues hadn’t been able to do throughout the middle two quarters. Eventually, the Blues started to get some positive momentum, with Matthew Kennedy - playing against his old side - providing a target in attack and converting. Despite a Callan Ward goal seemingly putting the game beyond doubt, Carlton rallied and refused to say lay down, at one point drawing within 12 points with minutes still on the clock. Elijah Hollands had more midfield minutes and performed strongly while Cripps (10 disposals) and Walsh (seven disposals) looked to lift their side, but it wasn’t enough, left to rue a middle portion of the game where they had no answers in a 12-point defeat.
GWS GIANTS        3.1     10.2     17.6     18.8 (116)
CARLTON              8.4     10.4     11.6     16.8 (104)
Carlton: McKay 5, Williams 3, Cripps 2, Kennedy 2, Acres, Cerra, Curnow, Fantasia