SEE what Senior Coach Daniel O'Keefe had to say about Carlton's AFL-listed players who featured in the VFL practice match win over Williamstown.
4. Lochie O’Brien
Stats: 15 disposals, six inside 50s, one goal
Lochie played wing all through the day. His strength is his running ability, which became really evident towards the second half and even more so in the last quarter where he was running rings around the opposition on a really hot day. He certainly excelled in the later part of quarters and towards the end of the day as well. His kicking was maybe the best I’ve seen it, particularly in the front half inside 50: his ability to hit up our forwards, whether it be hitting leads or just kicking into space, was a real strength of his game. Lochie still just needs to make sure defensively that we’re getting the job done, in terms of taking out the opposition’s options and tackling with intent. Overall, he was a weapon for us.
7. Matt Kennedy
Stats: 22 disposals, seven clearances, four tackles, one goal
Matt, as he did this time last year as well, is in some really good form. He played the majority of the game on-ball and drifted forward a couple of times but mainly played inside. He won seven clearances which was a game-high, but it was how he got those clearances which was a real strength of his game. His ability to own the outside and pressure when needed was also really strong. Some of his ability to get forward off the back of some stoppages was really good once we won the ball: he’s still working on how he can get back and help out our backs defensively, as well as moving forward too. It was a pretty well rounded game for him.
11. Mitch McGovern
Stats: Eight disposals, six marks, 3.2
‘Gov’ played just over a half of footy. In a game where the first quarter proved really difficult for the majority of our forwards to get opportunities, there’s no doubt he got really dangerous as the game went on. Our midfield started to get on top and gave him looks that were dangerous one-on-one opportunities. He kicked three goals and two behinds and gave a couple off as well, all in just over a half of footy. It was a really good return for Mitch and no doubt he’ll be better for it moving forward.
Look back on the highlights from Mitch McGovern's return to action on the weekend, with the forward kicking three goals in his first hitout of the season.— Carlton Reserves (@CarltonReserves) April 6, 2021
13. Liam Stocker
Stats: 21 disposals, six inside 50s, two goals
Stocker played as an inside midfielder for the majority of the day. He floated a little bit forward also, but he actually kicked his couple of goals as a midfielder bursting forward so that was really exciting to see. His ability inside to be that general and a really competitive inside midfielder with that grunt was really strong. His hunt for the ball against the opposition was fantastic, and he balanced our stoppages up really well and used the ball pretty well by foot too. It was quite a well-rounded game of football for him.
28. David Cuningham
Stats: 16 disposals, 11 tackles, two goals
David Cuningham played just over three quarters of the day before he got a head knock in a tackle where his head hit the ground, so he’ll miss next week off the back of that. He was excellent: he laid 11 tackles, so his pressure at the source was really high. It was something that he really wanted to work on, so his ability to tick that box was great. He moved the ball forward for us excellently and kicked a nice goal to finish that off too. He’s still working on his defensive outlets but apart from that, it was really exciting to see him somewhat back to his best.
David Cuningham will be unavailable for selection this weekend after sustaining a concussion in the VFL.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) April 6, 2021
Here's the injury update ahead of Round 4.
29. Corey Durdin
Stats: Nine disposals, five contested possessions
Corey grew from his previous week: we knew he was going to be better for last game’s run in his second game back. Once the ball hits the ground, he is pretty dynamic so his ability to be clean and apply pressure and make tackles is really good too. He actually assisted and got involved with some really nice scoring involvements for others, and without hitting the scoreboard himself as much, he certainly helped his teammates out in that regard too, so that was a real highlight of his game.
31. Tom Williamson
Stats: 14 disposals (95 per cent efficiency), three marks, three rebound 50s
I actually probably had Tom down as our best player on the ground: the main reason for that was behind the ball once the footy landed, his ability to cover out Williamstown’s options moving forward was super. As a group, we didn’t get that done well, so he stood out in that regard to be able to defend really hard which was great. He gave us run and dash and opened it up from half-back as well, and it was equally important to show that this game. We really loved the way that he was the only AFL-listed player in defence for the majority of the game, and he led the game really well and bought into what we wanted from him.
33. Sam Ramsay
Stats: 19 disposals, six tackles
It was certainly Ramsay’s best game this year, no doubt. He played a bit of a mixture of half forward and on-ball. What we loved about Sam’s game was his ability to tackle (six for the game) and it was all from getting his feet set and owning the outside to be able to react both ways. Whether it was chase-down tackles or getting some really nice pressure inside stoppages, that was evident. His kicking was really good too which is a weapon of his normally. I think the more time he spends in the midfield, the more opportunity that he’ll be able to learn and grow with our stoppage set-ups. We just missed a couple of defensive 50 stoppages that he needs to get right as well as some smother opportunities, so I’m sure after a week of reviewing, we’ll be able to get that right with him.
34. Sam Philp
‘Philpy’, it was his first game back for a long time, effectively since halfway through last season: you sort of forget that about him because he’s in your face as a coach all the time wanting to learn and really eager which we love about him. It was great to have him back and he played half a game, probably a bit less, but that was what was set up for him from the start. He didn’t get lots of the footy but he did all the right things and ticked the boxes on his return. When Sam’s at his best, you see him pressuring and really getting into the opposition’s face, running really strong patterns on the outside. That’s what he did on the weekend. Without having a huge impact, he did what we expected of him and needed him to do.
36. Josh Honey
Stats: Five disposals, two goals
Josh played just over a half and particularly in the first half, it was harder for the forwards to get into the game but when the game opened up a bit and we got more dominant through the midfield, his ability to challenge the Williamstown defenders working back towards our goal was really exciting to watch and it was very hard to defend. His ability to get forward of the ball was really strong. He hit the scoreboard for us with two goals, getting out the back of his opponent. It was the first game back for him so we just wanted to see his weapons, which he showed us. Moving forward, he’s got to sharpen up his defensive awareness and make sure he gets his running patterns going as a forward and he’ll be set for a good year.
39. Oscar McDonald
Stats: 10 disposals, four marks, one goal
Oscar played the first half as a forward and the second half as a back. What he gave us as a forward was providing us an option and off the back of that, he brought the ball down to ground a lot which was great for us as a team. His running patterns were really good, as expected: for a tall, he’s a really hard worker and his GPS data always suggests that too. In the second half, he went to half back and he gave us some really good leadership down there along with Willamson and he just set us up. What he did was own the dangerous space which got him in the game and although he didn’t mark as well as what he normally does, he put himself in the position to intercept but also put a halt on their ball movement.
44. Matthew Owies
Stats: 13 disposals, six marks, two goals
Matty regularly just backs up and plays his role really well. His ability to react quicker than his opponent is always evident. He goes hard at the contests even when he’s out of position sometimes which we love about him, while he hits the scoreboard and his ability to pressure and get in the opposition’s faces like Philp was really strong. Something he’s working on is his kick to advantage but that’s getting back to the level we want it to be at. He’s also focusing on absorbing pressure from opposition tackles, but he laid six tackles himself and they’re pretty physical as the season gets closer. I’m really excited by that.