A DOMINANT second quarter has seen Carlton record its second win in a row against Essendon at Windy Hill.
The Round 3 clash was always going to have the attention of the fans, with the traditional rivals looking to build on momentum after both recording impressive Round 2 victories.
It would be the Blues’ day, however, with the returning Nic Newman and Tom De Koning impressive alongside the clean midfield work of Lochie O’Brien and Will Setterfield.
The goal-kicking ability of Ben Crocker and Toby Wooller was once again on display, with a combined six goals helping the Blues to a 49-point win on enemy territory.
Manic forward pressure and an ability to restrict the Bombers to just three goals after the first quarter was a massive highlight for the day, with the team maintaining the fight for an entire four quarters.
Essendon got an early jump with a free kick before the siren handing them a set shot directly in front. However, the Blues steadied themselves with Lochie O’Brien working hard up and down the wing to provide a transition out of defence. Will Setterfield gave the Blues their first goal of the day after bringing the pressure and winning the free kick in the attacking half. It was a similar play only moments later with Caluzzi heaping the pressure on the opposition and kicking his first goal of the game. While Essendon would regain the advantage through a burst of three goals, Carlton’s experienced players worked hard to ensure the lead didn’t blow out. Nic Newman returned for his first game of football in just under a year and slotted back into the team seamlessly, with his clean left foot a real asset to the Carlton backline.
From the moment the ball bounced to start the second term, the Blues played with an intensity and intent that was lacking in the first term. Josh Honey’s first goal for the day helped the Blues reduce the Bomber’s quarter-time lead to just eight points, before Toby Wooller’s first gave them the lead. Dominant across all aspects of the contest, the Blues were able to hold the Bombers scoreless for the second term while pilling on five goals of their own. Ben Crocker was the pick of the forwards, with his relentless work rate and strong-marking rewarded with two second-quarter goals. Matthew Kennedy accumulated 16 disposals in under a half of football, but it was the Blues' spread of contributors which opened a big half-time lead.
It was the Bombers who would once again have the fast start to the third quarter, kicking two goals to cut the Blues’ lead to 11 points. With the wind starting to have an impact, the Blues were unable to make the most of repeat entries into the forward line. O’Brien proved to be the catalyst for a run of Carlton goals, first snapping truly to break the Bombers’ momentum before taking a courageous mark in the centre of the ground and setting Ben Crocker up for his third goal of the afternoon. Josh Honey’s second goal helped the Blues open up the lead to a game-high 31 points, with only inaccuracy thwarting the Blues of a bigger lead.
The good times kept rolling for the Blues in the final quarter, when Tom De Koning worked forward to kick his first goal for the day and give the team an unassailable lead. Not wanting to miss out on any of the action, young Blue Corey Durdin also slotted an impressive goal from the boundary, which was reward for effort after consistently bringing pressure in the Blues’ forward half. Tom Williamson also responded to the challenge of a fast-starting Pat Ambrose, quelling the impact of the opposition forward as the game went on and using his trademark run-and-carry off the backline to help set up a goal late in the game. Ben Crocker and Toby Wooller continued to prove too much for the Essendon defenders to handle, finishing the day with three goals each as the Blues raced away to a 49-point win.
Three things from the game:
- Nic Newman and Tom De Koning will be crucial inclusions into the Blues’ best 22 once they are fully fit. The two had a massive impact across the back line and in the middle of the ground respectively and were a key part to Carlton’s dominance after the first quarter. Newman would finish with 23 disposals, while De Koning would dominate the ruck contest to win 31 hitouts while also kicking a late goal.
- Will Setterfield and Lochie O’Brien are finding consistent form and confidence playing for the Reserves. The two were a class above the opposition midfielders, combining on several occasions to propel the Blues into attack while also winning the ball in the contest and using the run of their teammates to their advantage.
- For the second week in a row, Ben Crocker and Toby Wooller have proven to be a problem for opposition defenders. The two find work well to create space for each other, with their complementing leading patterns and ability to read the play having a big impact on Carlton’s ability to score freely.
ESSENDON 5.1 5.1 8.2 8.4 (52)
CARLTON 2.5 7.12 11.15 14.17 (101)
GOALS: Crocker 3, Wooller 3, Caluzzi 2, Honey 2, De Koning, Durdin, O’Brien, Setterfield
BESTS: Setterfield, Crocker, Newman, O’Brien, De Koning, Caluzzi