CARLTON'S opening round of the 2001 campaign – the Autumn Saturday match with Fremantle at Subiaco Oval - coincided with Wayne Brittain’s first as the anointed successor to Senior Coach David Parkin.

Plotting Carlton’s demise in the Fremantle coaches box that afternoon was Damien Drum (thesedays the Deputy Leader of the Nationals), with Justin Longmuir – the current Senior Coach of the Dockers’ - amongst their 22 to take to the field.

For the visitors, Matthew ‘Skinny’ Lappin turned out for what was game No.50 in the dark Navy Blue colours.

Following an even first quarter and scores tied at 3.3, Fremantle led the second quarter charge with a seven goal to two return. Carlton would hit back hard with an eight-goal to two third, to lead by seven points at the final change.

In a frenetic final quarter it was goal for goal, with Carlton prevailing by the narrowest of margins – in no small part due to the showings of old heads Brett Ratten (38 touches) and Craig Bradley (31), and Stephen Silvagni, who split the middle with a big goal from the 50-metre line late in the contest.

It was that late six-pointer which extended Carlton’s lead to seven points – but drew a quick response, with Fremantle full-forward Tony Modra slotting a goal after crumbing the footy at the top of the Dockers’ goalsquare.

With one-point separating the sides and 38 seconds left on the clock, the game called for desperate measures – and Lance Whitnall’s tackle to lock in Shaun McManus and the footy was enough to ensure a meritorious Carlton win.

Fremantle v Carlton – Subiaco Oval, Round 1, Saturday, March 31, 2001

Carlton         3.3 (21)      5.5 (35)       13.8 (86)        18.11 (119)

Fremantle    3.3 (21)      10.7 (67)      12.7 (79)        18.10 (118)

Best players: Ratten, Bradley, Allan, Camporeale, Koutoufides, Silvagni

Goalkickers: Lappin 3, Backwell, Hotton, Houlihan, Koutoufides, Whitnall 2, Bradley, Fevola, Hulme, Ratten, Silvagni.

The Carlton team

B:   23 Dean Rice              22 Glenn Manton              29 Simon Beaumont

HB: 5 Andrew McKay         1 Stephen Silvagni (vc)      17 Scott Freeborn

C:   21 Craig Bradley (c)    7 Brett Ratten                   31 Simon Fletcher

HF: 33 Ryan Houlihan        8 Lance Whitnall               43 Anthony Koutoufides

F:   12 Matthew Lappin      11 Mark Porter                  37 Trent Hotton

R:   24 Matthew Allan        16 Scott Camporeale          27 Darren Hulme

I/c: 2 Brett Backwell      3 Kris Massie       25 Brendan Fevola       32 Heath Culpitt

Coach: Wayne Brittain