ON THE back of an emphatic second half, Carlton ran away with a 74-point win over Essendon in Round 18, 2011.
With highlights aplenty over the course of the game, the win - at the expense of their arch rival - put the Blues in pole position for a finals berth come season’s end.
It was a fluctuating opening term in front of a packed MCG, with Eddie Betts beginning as the star of the show. The enigmatic forward opened the game with three goals, with his familiar forward partners Jeff Garlett and Andrew Walker also hitting the scoreboard in a meaningful fashion. It was a gripping contest early, with both sides trading two goals apiece over the course of the team. However, Betts’ third gave Carlton an eight-point lead at the opening change.
The second quarter began in promising fashion for the Blues, with Matthew Kreuzer - who continues his return from a knee injury - taking a strong mark and kicking truly. Back-to-back goals to Dennis Armfield and Bryce Gibbs opened up a handy lead for Carlton, with the side being brilliantly led by captain Chris Judd: he had four goal assists halfway through the second term. However, Essendon finished the stronger of the two sides, with Carlton holding a narrow seven-point lead at the main change. The game looked delicately poised heading into the second half.
While the Bombers may have looked to have the upper hand heading into half time, the match flipped on its head immediately after the restart. Carlton was irrepressible going forward, kicking eight unanswered goals over the course of the term to put the match beyond doubt. Marc Murphy was supreme in the midfield, capping off an outstanding solo quarter with a running goal, but the highlight of the term belonged to the main man on the night. Hemmed in on the boundary, Betts outpointed two opponents with a series of sidesteps and snapped home from the point post for one of the goals of the year.
Carlton continued inflicting the punishment on its arch rival, but the main talking point was one which will last for as long as this game is played. As the Blues opened up a 10-goal lead over Essendon, Andrew Walker sensed the occasion and went for it: what resulted was one of the greatest marks the game has ever seen. Ultimately, the Blues finished 74 points ahead of the Bombers in Kade Simpson’s 150th game.
Moment of the match:
Eddie Betts will be filthy that it wasn’t one of his eight goals, but the mark from Andrew Walker will be on footy cards for years to come. In one clean motion, Walker placed his left knee on Jake Carlisle’s left shoulder, his right knee on Carlisle’s right shoulder and hung to take the clear mark of the year for season 2011.
Three things from the game:
- “C. Judd, three votes.” We heard it eight times on Brownlow Medal night in 2010, and we’re going to hear it on Brownlow Medal night in 2011. Judd was simply unstoppable at the MCG, with his numbers saying it all: 33 disposals, 12 tackles, nine inside 50s, seven goal assists and a goal.
- It was a career-best night on a special night for Eddie Betts. Surpassing Syd Jackson for the most games by an Indigenous Blue, Betts was far too good on the night for the Essendon defence. Heading into the game with six lots of five goals in his career, Betts smashed his personal best with eight majors.
- After the disappointment of earlier in the season, Carlton got the better of Essendon and in doing so gave their hopes for a home final a significant boost. Should these two sides meet again in September, the Blues will take plenty of confidence from this game.
CARLTON 5.3 9.4 17.8 24.9 (153)
ESSENDON 4.2 8.3 8.4 12.7 (79)
GOALS: Betts 8, Walker 4, Armfield 3, Gibbs 2, Kreuzer 2, Murphy 2, Garlett, Judd, Yarran
BESTS: Judd, Betts, Murphy, Gibbs, Armfield, Scotland, Walker, Warnock