CARLTON Reserves has returned with a bang, overcoming a 20-point deficit to beat Port Melbourne by 15 points in Round 10. 

The Blues' outstanding pressure was on display all day, while dominant performances from the likes of Levi Casboult and Ben Crocker helped see the side home - while young Blue Jack Carroll was a standout with 25 disposals and four clearances.  

It sees the Blues improve their 2021 record to three wins and three losses and move into tenth position on the VFL ladder. 


In what was a see-sawing first term, it would be Port Melbourne charging out of the blocks to record the first goal of the game and putting the pressure immediately on Carlton's midfielders and defenders. However, the Blues were able to wrestle back momentum with Levi Casboult getting involved early to help James Parsons kick the team's first goal of the day. Young Blue Matt Cottrell was able to kick the team's second goal of the day, judging the trademark Port Melbourne breeze to kick truly from 40 metres out. While the Blues were somewhat wasteful in front of goal, Port Melbourne made the most of their opportunities in their attacking half, quickly transitioning out of defence to end the first term with the lead. The quarter was further soured after ruck Alex Mirkov, who was recently elevated onto Carlton's AFL list through the mid-season draft, suffered a game-ending knee injury. 


The first four minutes of the second term were a contested, heavy game with the ball living between the arcs. Luckily for Carlton, Port Melbourne were unable to make the most of their opportunities, allowing the Blues to rebound quickly and set up an attack of their own. Toby Wooller was able to shake off a knock from earlier in the game as he took a contested mark on the sideline 50 out from goal. Unselfishly, Wooller chipped the ball into the pocket where he picked out Parsons who converted a tough set shot from the boundary to kick his second for the day and to bring the deficit back to just four points. Levi Casboult seemed to be transporting himself around the ground, managing to be everywhere when the Blues needed him. He was saving goals by taking contested marks deep in the defensive 50, while also having an influence up forward and winning the ruck contests to finish the half with nine disposals. The standout play of the day was his diving smoother deep in the Blues forward half. Despite their best efforts, Port Melbourne would finish the term strongly to take a 14-point lead into the main break.  

Full player stats for Round 10 are available here. 


The half-time address did wonders for the Blues as they were able to flip the script on Port Melbourne and stop them from rebounding out of their defence with ease. While an early goal from Port Melbourne allowed them to open up a 20-point lead, the Blues were able to ramp up the pressure and get scoreboard reward through Toby Wooller. Josh Honey began to cause problems for the opposition defenders, using his evasiveness through the middle of the ground and his strong tackling in the forward line. Honey would be rewarded for effort, winning a free kick in the forward 50 and kicking his first goal for the afternoon. The goals then began to flow with ease for the Blues, with Crocker's helping cut the margin even further. With Port Melbourne’s lead narrowed down to three points at the last break, the game was there to be won. 

Petrevski-Seton in action for the Carlton Reserves in Round 10. The midfielder would finish with 25 disposals and nine clearances.


From the first bounce of the fourth quarter it was the Blues owning the centre clearances and generating repeat forward 50 entries. Jack Carroll's impressive early clearance through and pinpoint kicking once again found Crocker in the forward line, with the talented forward kicking his third goal and handing the Blues the early lead. Crocker would again be involved in the action minutes later, this time setting up Matthew Cottrell for his second goal of the day. More strong contested marking from Levi Casboult as well as some deft contested work from both Marc Murphy and Sam Petresvksi-Seton resulted in Josh Honey's third goal of the game and helped hand the Blues what would end up being an unassailable 14-point lead. Tom North was another Blue who stood up following the half-time break, finishing with a team-high 28 disposals and 13 marks as an integral part of the Blues transition forward.

Three things:

1. The Casboult and Crocker show was on display today as the pair took control from the get go and were dominant all over the ground. Despite this being the pair's first game together, their chemistry was off the charts as they consistently found each other in the right positions and linked up several times creating countless scoring opportunities.  The pair combined for 44 disposals, four goals and 23 marks and while most of Crocker’s influence was in the forward half, Casboult’s presence was felt around the ground proving to be a constant thorn in Port Melbourne's attack.  

2. The Blues' pressure was constant throughout the day, making it extremely difficult for the opposition to get any clean possession. Although there wasn't much scoreboard reward in the first half, it certainly flipped in the second half with multiple goals coming as a direct result of pressure-induced turnovers from all over the ground. When trailing by 20 points, the Blues could have quite easily put the cue in the rack, however they continued to play with the same intensity and proved that good things do come to those who wait. 

3. Josh Honey continued his fine form for the season and played his small forward role to perfection today. When the ball was deep inside the Blues' attacking half, Honey constantly applied pressure forcing the opposition defenders to second guess and turn the ball over. On offence, he was always showing up in the right places in order to kick three goals for the game. In his last three games Honey has kicked seven goals and looks likely to continue this strong form.     


Port Melbourne 5.3  7.4  9.6 10.8 (68)

Carlton 3.6 4.8 8.9 12.11 (83)

Goals: Crocker 3, Honey 3, Cottrell 2, Parson 2, Casboult, Wooller

Best: Casboult, Crocker, Murphy, Petrevski-Seton, North, Carroll