THIRTY-NINE points down. Five points up when it mattered.
Carlton overturned a start which saw it concede the first seven goals of the game to storm home with a crunch win over Sydney.
Matthew Cottrell was the hero, with the rookie taking a strong grab and kicking a clutch goal to give the Blues a stunning victory at Metricon Stadium.
It was all Sydney early, with the Swans making the Blues pay for their missed opportunities going forward. Keeping the ball in the forward half was difficult for Carlton, with Sydney capitalising on missed kicks and fumbles. While both teams registered the same amount of scoring shots, the Swans kicked four goals to none to take an early advantage.
Carlton had the forward territory early, but the second quarter followed a similar trend to the first with Sydney capitalising on Carlton mistakes. Kade Simpson was working overtime in the defensive 50 as the Swans made the most of their forward entries, kicking out to a game-high 39-point lead. Some relief came for Carlton with a snap on goal from the foot of Zac Fisher, followed quickly by a goal from the impressive Walsh. Will Setterfield helped the Blues dominate the clearances in the middle (7-1 for the quarter), before skipper Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay quickly added a third and fourth to give the Blues some life.
Liam Jones kept playing a strong role in defence while Cripps and Setterfield continued slugging it out in the midfield. Sam Petrevski-Seton was crucial across half-back, clearing the ball from Carlton’s defensive half with clever ball use and clean handling. The Blues started to make use of the corridor, which allowed them quicker repeat inside 50 entries and a goal to Levi Casboult. The Blues’ defence stood up, with Simpson acting as the loose man to maximum effect. Jack Newnes closed the gap with a late goal for the Blues, leaving them trailing by just one straight kick.
McKay started the quarter off with a bang, kicking his second goal in the first minute to even the scores. Tom De Koning’s ruck work helped the Blues with at the centre bounce, while Lachie Plowman had some crucial moments behind the ball. As the rain came down, the scoring dried up — but then, enter Matthew Cottrell. An unexpected pack mark from the unlikely hero saw Cottrell give the Blues the lead, with his second career goal ultimately winning the game.
Three things from the game:
1. Sam Walsh continues to rise. The youngster has been among Carlton’s best in most games this season across all areas of the ground, and he was yet again the clear standout on Tuesday night: he had more disposals and metres gained than anyone on the ground while kicking a second-quarter goal.
2. Carlton’s midfield continues to hold them in good stead, with the combo of Cripps, Setterfield and Curnow allowing the Blues to set up plays on their terms.
It was a good night for Carlton's defenders, especially when the game was on the line.
3. Sam Petrevski-Seton played his best game for the season in a performance which oozed class, while Lachie Plowman negated the dangerous Tom Papley and producing a number of key moments with scores level.
Moment of the match:
Matthew Cottrell. Watch it. That's all.
CARLTON 0.4 4.4 6.9 8.9 (57)
SYDNEY 3.0 7.2 8.3 8.4 (52)
Carlton: McKay 2, Fisher, Walsh, Cripps, Casboult, Newnes, Cottrell
Carlton: Walsh, Cripps, Petrevski-Seton, Weitering, Setterfield, De Koning, Plowman