CARLTON has given its members a day to remember with a stirring 10-point victory over St Kilda at the MCG.
Led by outstanding performances by Nic Newman, Marc Murphy, Matthew Kreuzer, Dale Thomas and Kade Simpson, Carlton refused to say die to record its seventh win of the season.
It was the perfect result for the Blues, as they celebrated their record-breaking membership in front of a crowd of 51,786.
Carlton kicked off the day in fine form at the traditional home of football. Hitting the ground running with a fast and offensive game style, they led the Saints in the inside 50 count early. Matthew Kennedy reaped the benefits initiallly, with his handy set shot beating the Saints to get the first on the board. A crafty kick from Jack Silvagni extended the lead, but a quick reply from the Saints kicked off what was an arm-wrestle of a quarter. It was the veterans that led possession early, with Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson finishing the quarter on seven and six disposals respectively. But missed opportunities got the better of Carlton, finishing the quarter with the five-point deficit.
St Kilda started the second quarter strong, extending the lead to 24 points early with three quick goals. While the Blues continued to dominate around clearances and the contested ball, inefficiency in front of goal continued to cost them. It took a steadying goal from Darcy Lang midway through the quarter to reignite the Blues' confidence. From there, two quick goals from Mitch McGovern and Ed Curnow put Carlton back within striking distance of St Kilda. A late goal from the Saints extended the lead back to 11 points going into the main break.
The Blues came out aggressively in the third term, looking to keep their momentum rolling from the second half. While the majority of the play was locked in Blues' attacking half, the team was unable to make the most of their opportunities early. However, spurred on by an inspirational term by veteran Marc Murphy - including a trademark banana goal which sent the crowd into a frenzy - the Blues lifted to wrestle back the lead. Carlton's back line was at its very best, providing plenty of rebound while Levi Casboult locked down on Josh Bruce to nullify his impact up forward. The Saints were able to take back the lead at the end of the term to hold a four-point lead heading into the final break.
Carlton trailed by just four points heading into the final term, with a gutsy performance needed to silence the valiant Saints. It took just two minutes for another lead change, with a McGovern goal putting the Blues’ nose in front once again. Levi Casboult and Nic Newman were tireless down back in the final term, finishing the day with 20 and 21 disposals respectively. A quick succession of Saints goals putt them three points up midway through the term. But it wasn’t over yet, as a brilliant run-and-carry from Kade Simpson finishing in a Deluca goal to take back the lead. From then, the Blues settled to and played composed football to close out the game, and leave the MCG with a 10-point win after some Harry McKay magic to seal it.
Moment of the match:
We may have seen it a number of times already this year, but it doesn't mean it's any less special. Marc Murphy's banana goal in the third term was exactly what the doctor ordered, and sent 51,000-plus Bluebaggers at the MCG into a frenzy and - more importantly - ignited the Blues into action.
Three things from the game:
- Marc Murphy's presence in the middle has been monumental in the back half of the season. The veteran continued to show class against the Saints today, with clean disposal, perfect positioning around the contest and an awareness which was ultimately the difference on the day. Murphy finished the day with 27 disposals, 15 contested possessions and a trademark banana goal which had the MCG rocking.
- Levi Casboult was a standout in the back line once again for the Blues, and was more than up for the task of manning up against St Kilda's dangerous Josh Bruce. Casboult kept the dangerous forward goalless, and restricted Jake Carlisle to just one goal after the Saints sent the utility up forward.
- Kade Simpson and Nic Newman continue to prove that they are one of the most dangerous defensive duos in the competition. Both competed relentlessly across the backline, and provided the Blues with plenty of run and carry - combining for 12 rebound 50s.
CARLTON 2.4 5.5 8.11 11.12 (78)
ST KILDA 3.3 7.4 8.8 10.8 (68)
Carlton: McGovern 3, Kennedy, Silvagni, Lang, Curnow, Murphy, Dow, Deluca, McKay
Carlton: Kreuzer, Casboult, Murphy, Simpson, Newman, McGovern, Thomas
Carlton: Weitering (groin) replaced in selected side by Lang
Umpires: O'Gorman, Harris, Wallace
Official crowd: 51,786 at the MCG