CARLTON has gone down fighting against a classy Richmond outfit on Sunday afternoon at the MCG.
Led by the performances of Liam Jones, Jacob Weitering and Kade Simpson, the Blues fought admirably in difficult conditions, falling by 28 points to a seasoned opposition.
The skies opened just as the first siren sounded on Sunday afternoon, with a downpour of rain making conditions difficult early for both sides. Liam Jones’ return to the team couldn’t have come at a better time, thrown into the action early as the Tigers’ surged forward repeatedly. While the Tigers looked most likely to score early on, the Blues held their own in the backline with veteran Kade Simpson - who finished the quarter with four rebound 50s - pivotal in Carlton’s defensive efforts. A goal to the Tigers with seconds remaining saw them take an 18-point lead into the first break.
As the rain got heavier, the opportunities to score began to dry up. The Tigers continued to pursue their run-and-carry style, able to penetrate the Blues’ forward line repeatedly. Sam Petrevski-Seton stood tall to provide the Blues with plenty of run off the half-back line, gathering five disposals in the second term. Carlton was able to send the ball inside their forward 50 on a number of occasions, but wasn't able to make the most of its opportunities. The breakthrough finally came through big man Matthew Kreuzer, who demonstrated some clean skills in the wet weather to collect the ball and finish for the Blues’ first goal.
Richmond was able to pick up where it left off in the third term, kicking the opening goal of the term to build on its half-time lead. Weitering and Jones continued to battle gallantly in defence, not allowing Lynch or Riewoldt any easy possessions. If there was anyone who was going to deliver a moment of brilliance for the Blues, it would be none other than veteran Marc Murphy. A trademark checkside from the boundary capped off what was a better term for the Blues, as they were able to wrestle back some momentum from the Tigers. Mitch McGovern was also able to find the scoreboard in what was a boost of confidence for the returning Blue. Around the contest, Ed Curnow and Patrick Cripps fought hard, collecting 26 disposals each come the final change.
Inaccuracy once again hurt the Blues early in the quarter, which would ultimately make a comeback too difficult in deterioriating conditions. A goal to Jack Riewoldt made it even harder for the Blues, as the Tigers pushed their lead to 29 points halfway through the term. However, the Blues refused to throw in the towel at any stage of the game, and were reignited by a big tackle and goal from McGovern late in the term. Despite the spirit shown by the Blues, time was not on their side: a goal after-the-siren sealed a 28-point victory for the Tigers.
Moment of the match:
It was easy to see the emotion present in this game for the returning Mitch McGovern. Having spent the last month completing an intense training block, the 23-year old’s passionate celebration after a hard-earned goal showed just what this game meant to him personally. His second of the game also brought the Blues within 17 points of the Tigers in the final term.
Three things from the game:
- Sam Petrevski-Seton’s move to the half-back line continues to show plenty of promise. The young Blue was composed under constant pressure from the Tigers, combining well with the more experienced heads of Kade Simpson and Dale Thomas.
- Liam Jones’ magnificent season in defence continued, as he was able to hold the in-form Jack Riewoldt to just two goals. The defender - who returned in emotional circumstance - didn’t give the star Richmond forward an inch, while also working well with Jacob Weitering to cover the equally-dangerous Tom Lynch.
- Kade Simpson was monumental playing as a spare man in defence. The veteran proved to be a great launching pad for the Blues, able to use all of his experience to read the play, rebounding a game-high nine times as well as collecting 33 disposals.
RICHMOND 3.2 6.4 8.6 11.7 (73)
CARLTON 0.2 1.6 4.6 6.9 (45)
Richmond: Graham 4, Lynch 2, Riewoldt 2, Edwards, Caddy, Castagna
Carlton: McGovern 2, Kreuzer, Murphy, Casboult, Gibbons
Carlton: Jones, Weitering, Simpson, Thomas, Petrevski-Seton, McGovern
Umpires: Deboy, Whetton, Findlay
Official crowd: 51,039 at the MCG