IT WAS a different look scratch match when the Carlton Reserves took on Sydney's VFL side on the weekend.
With the Victorian lockdown postponing the VFL competition, Carlton and Sydney were able to organise a scrimmage so that both sides could get some valuable game time and run in the legs.
While it wasn’t what the Reserves expected that weekend, Daniel O’Keefe noted that the team was just happy to get some competitive play under their belts.
“We were really grateful to be able to play footy for the weekend,” O’Keefe said.
“It was fine in regards to handling it, because we’ve done it all last year, so it was just reverting back to what we knew already.”
It was a case of going back to the 2020 hubs for O'Keefe's side, with the Blues calling on an unlikely ally for the hitout.
The Blues didn’t have their VFL-listed players with them in Sydney, but the Swans and the Bombers were happy to help out when it came to fielding an 18-man side.
“We played 18 v 18, so to top up our team, we used the VFL-listed players from the Sydney Swans. Some of them were academy players, so they were quite young and raw, but they were really good to play with,” he said.
“We also played with two Essendon players, so Sam Draper and Zac Reid joined forces with us and we even picked them up on the way to the ground.
“It was really nice to be able to connect with the other clubs that way and just get on with what we’re all about, which is playing footy.”
In terms of performance on the day, there were two standout players to O’Keefe, with the midfield group being the most elusive on the day.
“Paddy Dow was our best player on the ground for the day, he had seven clearances and just shy of 30 possessions, but it was drive and his contest work out of stoppages that was really evident and he showcased his strengths that way,” he said.
“Matt Kennedy had the ball the most on the ground, I think he had 33 disposals.
“His ability to break the ground and take some marks out in the open space was really good, but he also took some good contested grabs and kicked 3.3 on the day as well.”
While it wasn’t an official game, O’Keefe noted that it was a valuable outing for the Carlton players who took to the field, with many pushing for selection in the senior side.
“We want to compete, but it’s also preparation to play AFL footy,” he said.
“We feel like we’ve got some Reserves players knocking down the door and it gives them a platform to show that and show form.”