CARLTON showed many positive signs against Collingwood during Thursday’s practice match at Ikon Park.
Playing in an altered format involving four 20 minute quarters and three ten minute terms, fans would have enjoyed what they saw on display from a new-look Blues.
A big cheer sounded around the ground as the boys took to the field in the first term. Fans would have been delighted to see the likes of Sam Docherty, Tom Williamson and Eddie Betts all out on Ikon Park. The Blues controlled the flow of play in the term, running well off the half-back line and entering cleanly into the forward half. With Matthew Kennedy, Eddie Betts and Levi Casboult all spending time up forward Carlton's midfield was spoilt for choice. While the Pies grabbed the first goal of the day, it was the Blues who dominated on the scoreboard. Goals to Gibbons, Plowman, Casboult and Betts gave the fans in the crowd plenty to cheer about. Williamson and Docherty were both solid off the backline for the Blues, while Marc Pittonet was a handy asset in the ruck and defence.
The Blues’ young midfield group got rolling in the second quarter, with Sam Walsh and Will Setterfield combining well on several occasions to send the Blues flying forward. A new-look forward line featuring the experience of Casboult and Eddie looked extremely solid with the two combining for three goals in the term. It would have been a special moment for Tom Williamson as he slotted a goal from outside 50m and celebrated with co-captain Sam Docherty.
Lochie O’Brien got things started in the third quarter with a sensational bending goal, which was almost outdone moments later by Ed Curnow from the opposite side of the ground. O’Brien was a standout for the term, moving well between the wing and half-forward and using his deadly left foot to help the Blues in transition. Young ruck Tom De Koning also entered the game for the first time and matched opposition ruck Brodie Grundy for athleticism around the ground. Sam Philp continued to impress with his ferocity around the contest, landing a big tackle to win the free kick and then finishing truly for his first goal of the day.
A few of the younger Blues got their chance in the fourth quarter with Josh Honey, Matthew Cottrell and David Cuningham all gaining valuable minutes ahead of season 2020. Co-captain Patrick Cripps was notable in his on-field presence, directing his teammates through both his actions and commanding voice on the field. De Koning and Pittonet did well to share the ruck duties in the absence of veteran Matthew Kreuzer, with the two also providing great versatility in their ability to float both forward and back. The quarter belonged to the Pies, however, who were able to flex some muscle for the first time of the day.
It was the young Blues time to shine in the fifth term, with Sam Ramsay, Ben Silvagni, Fraser Phillips and Finbar O’Dwyer all getting an opportunity out on Ikon Park. After spending the majority of the day up forward, Matthew Kennedy moved to the middle of the ground, while Hugh Goddard provided some valuable experience in the backline. In a shorter term, Collingwood were the only ones able to hit the scoreboard, finishing with two points.
Lochie O’Brien continued to impress as the game went on. The 20-year old worked hard up and down the wing, combining well with David Cuningham to add a touch of class to the final term. Cuningham was rewarded for his efforts at the bottom of the pack, fighting hard to kick the Blues’ only goal for the shortened term. De Koning held his own against a formidable opponent in Brodie Grundy who ran out the game for the Pies. Collingwood would finish the two-point winners of the term kicking 1.3.9 to Carlton’s 1.1.7.
The young Blues would have it cut out for them with the Pies continuing to give more game time to a handful of their most experienced players. Sam Ramsay began to find rhythm off the half-back line, while Tom De Koning continued to take the challenge to Grundy. Kennedy lead through his actions on the field, demonstrating great accountability playing on the ball. His efforts were rewarded on the final play of the day, as he kicked a leveling goal to ensure the more experienced Collingwood didn’t steal the win.
An absolute reward for effort for Kennedy.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) February 20, 2020
He doesn't stop scrapping and gets the final goal of the day. ??
A massive effort by the Blues to not let the Pies run away with that term.
CARL 6 COLL 6#BoundByBlue pic.twitter.com/VT6zZPgmS9
Moment of the match:
While there were many impressive plays that had the crowd on their feet, there was an important moment for Blues’ defenders Tom Williamson and Sam Docherty in the second quarter. After receiving a 50m penalty, Williamson found himself with a rare shot on goal. Having spent a lot of time together on the sideline, there was arguably no better teammate to celebrate the moment with than co-captain Sam Docherty.
Three things from the game:
- While it’s early days, Carlton looks to have truly found something special in 2020 draftee Sam Philp. The midfielder looked right at home when thrown into the mix, not missing a beat during the practice match. Finishing with one goal for his efforts, Philp did nothing to hurt his chances for a call-up early in the year.
- It goes without saying that Eddie Betts’ return to the Navy Blue has added a touch of class to the forward line. Betts was lively throughout the practice match, finishing with two goals and a hand in a number of others. Combining well with Levi Casboult (who ended the day with four majors), Betts’ cool head and experience is certain only to aid a forward line which was missing the likes of Harry McKay, Mitch McGovern and Charlie Curnow.
- Carlton’s ruck stocks are in a very strong position. Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning both demonstrated their versatility filling in for Matthew Kreuzer. The two talls held their own against Brodie Grundy and were able to provide assistance for their teammates by floating into the backline and forward line.
Carlton will have plenty of depth heading into the 2020 season, with recruits Jack Newnes and draftee Sam Philp slotted in comfortably against Collingwood. Marc Pittonet also looks to be a solid back-up option for Matthew Kreuzer, while Sam Ramsay and Josh Honey were able to find their rhythm late in the game.
Carlton only stands to get stronger in the coming weeks with Jack Martin, Zac Fisher, Matthew Kreuzer and Sam Petrevski-Seton all expected to return for the upcoming Marsh Community Series.
Carlton: Casboult 4, Betts 2, Gibbons, Plowman, Williamson, O'Brien, E.Curnow, Philp, De Koning, Moore, Owies, Kennedy
Carlton: Casboult, Newnes, Docherty, Williamson, J.Silvagni, Betts, Philp