A MIX of Carlton's AFL and VFL-listed talent as well as senior players from North Melbourne combined in a reserves scratch match against Box Hill on Sunday.
With all three teams having byes in the rescheduled VFL fixture, a makeshift scratch match was locked in to give players valuable game time heading into the final stages of the 2021 home-and-away season.
The 'Kanga-Blues' emerged victorious on the day, having too much run in the legs on the way to a 65-point victory.
Draftee Jack Carroll impressed once more in a classy two-goal performance, while regular VFL goalkickers Ben Crocker and Josh Honey continued their recent form with respective three-goal hauls.
Carlton AFL-listed players: Lochie O'Brien, Jack Carroll, Brodie Kemp, Zac Fisher, Luke Parks, Corey Durdin, Sam Ramsay, Josh Honey, Matthew Cottrell.
It was a flashback to 2020 for some, with Carlton and North Melbourne uniting on the same time reminiscent of the reserves scratch matches in hubs last season. Lochie O'Brien got the game off on the right note from a Carlton perspective, providing three score assists in the opening 10 minutes. Two of those were off the boot of Josh Honey for a return of 1.1, before North Melbourne's Jed Anderson converted and was quick to celebrate with his teammate for the day. An opportunistic at ground level from James Parsons had the Blues kick out to a handy buffer on the scoreboard, and Matthew Cottrell repeated it moments later with a true set shot following a rundown tackle. It was a first quarter dictated by the Blues who went on the offensive, with Box Hill's only goal of the term quickly answered by Ben Crocker before the first siren: the game was played with four 25-minute flat quarters.
It was a much more even second stanza once the two teams had returned to the field, with the Hawks kicking an early goal to bring the margin back to 24 points. Brodie Kemp and Luke Parks, stationed in defence, had to do more work in the opening 10 minutes of the quarter than they did for the entire first term, with the Blues holding firm to ensure there was no further damage on the scoreboard. After having a sighter from a similar position earlier in the term, Jack Carroll snapped truly from the boundary line in a quarter where he well and truly worked his way into the contest. Returning after two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury, Zac Fisher had flashes of his trademark energy, rotating between the forward line and midfield throughout the day. While it looked like some chances would go begging for the Blues, a Ben Crocker goal meant the margin had been extended by four points at the main change.
It was a quarter of missed opportunities for both sides, with Carlton registering 2.5 to Box Hill's 1.5 at IKON Park in the third term. Corey Durdin had a bigger impact on the game on the back of his forward pressure, while Matthew Cottrell and Lochie O'Brien continued to provide run and carry on respective wings for the Blues. Mirroring the second quarter, it was Carroll and Crocker that once again troubled the scorers for the Blues in a meaningful way: the former's was assisted by fellow draftee Durdin after good work at ground level. The VFL-listed Fraser Phillips had some bright moments in defence throughout the afternoon, while Sam Ramsay got involved as the second half wore on.
While the middle two quarters were more even, the last quarter was played in a similar vein to the first as the combined forces of Carlton and North mustered up a six-goal final quarter. Honey and North's Will Walker both contributed two goals apiece in the final term to take their respective tallies to three for the day, matching Ben Crocker's performance. It was the day of the multiple goalkicker with Cottrell sneaking forward for his second of the afternoon, while Durdin's class was on show with a late finish in front of goal. In the end, it was the home side which ran away with a 65-point victory.
CARLTON 6.3 8.7 10.12 16.15 (111)
BOX HILL 1.3 3.3 4.8 6.10 (46)
Carlton: Crocker 3, Honey 3, Walker 3*, Carroll 2, Cottrell 2, Anderson*, Durdin, Parsons
* denotes North Melbourne-listed player.