CARLTON has fallen by 22 points to the West Coast Eagles at the SCG.
Despite an arm wrestle across four quarters, the Blues couldn't get on top of the Eagles, who led at every change in the Round 12 contest.
Two early goals to the Eagles put the pressure on the Blues from the first bounce. West Coast used their spread to open up the ground, playing clean and efficient football. Carlton had some clear opportunities in front of goal, but wasn't able to convert into major scores. Will Setterfield finally broke the drought, kicking a goal from a forward stoppage, before Sam Walsh repeated the dose not long after. The Eagles' quick ball movement going forward caught the Blues' defence out, as Tom De Koning provided a tall target in the absence of Harry McKay, who came off early and didn't return due to a concussion.
As West Coast stamped its control on the contest early, an Eddie Betts assist for Tom De Koning kept the Blues in reach. Marc Pittonet provided a strong target in the air opposed to Naitanui, often rotating forward with De Koning as the Blues looked to reorganise their forward structure. Zac Williams provided consistent pressure across half back against West Coast's surge, before back-to-back goals for Matthew Owies saw the Blues lead for the first time in the afternoon. A pair of late goals saw the Eagles retake the lead at the main break.
The Blues sprung a counter attack in the early minutes of the third term, with a triple effort from Jack Silvagni ending in Matthew Cottrell hitting the scoreboard. Adam Saad was intent on providing run and rebound from Carlton's back half, but West Coast's accurate delivery inside forward 50 saw the Eagles register some clean looks on goal. Betts kicked his first of the day while Walsh continued to battle manfully around the stoppages, before a classy Williams goal brought the Blues within a kick. After arguably being Carlton's best over three quarters, a concussion saw Nic Newman ruled out of the contest, as late goals once again proved costly for the Blues in the closing stages.
Eddie Betts did everything in his power to bring the Blues back into the contest, with an impressive snap putting the Blues within 10 points of the Eagles. The Blues were desperate to get the game back on their terms, but the Eagles managed to ride the wave and play the game in their forward half, kicking two crucial goals to open up a game-high lead. Jones' intercept marking behind the ball gave the Blues hope in the final moments, but it wasn't enough as the Blues were resigned to a 22-point defeat.
Three things from the game
1. Carlton needs to capitalise more when the game is on its term, and limit the damage the other way. The Blues dominated the opening term, but could only register three goals from their nine scoring shots, before late goals in the second and third terms denied them the lead at crucial stages of the game. If the Blues are going to turn these games into wins, efficiency in offence and defence is crucial.
2. The Blues will be buoyed by the performance of Tom De Koning. Playing his third consecutive game, De Koning was forced to be the sole key position forward for the large part of Sunday's game after Harry McKay was subbed out for Jack Newnes. With two goals and bringing the ball to ground, it was a mature performance for De Koning in an unfamiliar role.
3. Carlton's Indigenous brigade did everything possible to get their side a win in Sir Doug Nicholls Round. Eddie Betts' two second-half goals were as crafty as they were important in the context of the game, while Zac Williams was again strong across half back in contributing the most metres gained (602) of anyone on the ground while hitting the scoreboard. Liam Jones was also influential, recording 12 intercepts and nullifying Jake Williams and Bailey Williams as Jacob Weitering locked down Jack Darling.
CARLTON 3.6 6.9 9.10 10.13 (73)
WEST COAST 4.1 8.5 12.8 14.11 (95)
Carlton: Betts 2, De Koning 2, Owies 2, Cottrell, Setterfield, Walsh, Williams
Carlton: Walsh, Williams, Weitering, Jones
Carlton: McKay (concussion), Newman (concussion)