It was the Pies who got on the board first at the MCG, springing the Blues on the rebound who managed to generate forward entries to little reward. Zac Williams' intercept game was strong across half back, while Paddy Dow had plenty of the ball and showcasing his physicality with ball in hand. In the absence of Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kennedy was also a useful outlet through the middle, but despite equalling Collingwood's inside 50 count, the Blues weren't able to make the most of their forward entries. It was up to Jack Martin to hit the scoreboard in a meaningful way for the Blues, registering Carlton's first of the day after Collingwood kicked the first three.
Collingwood came out of the gates sprinting, with Will Hoskin-Elliot scoring a goal inside the opening minute. Liam Jones and stand-in captain Jacob Weitering took some contested grabs in defence, but the Magpies' ability to find marking options in attack was becoming a major issue for the Blues. It took a single moment to spark the Blues, when Jack Martin laid a crunching tackle before Liam Stocker broke the scoring drought. Oliver Henry's three first-half goals were difficult for the Blues to contain, but Sam Walsh did his best to get the Blues moving forward out of the middle. An emotional celebration followed a Jack Silvagni goal which was reward for effort for the hard-working forward, before a clever mark and goal from Eddie Betts shifted the momentum and saw the Blues trail by just 10 points at the main break.
Liam Jones' work in the air saved Carlton as, for the third consecutive term, Collingwood made the early running in the quarter. There were a few ‘almost’ moments for Matt Owies, Jack Martin and Harry McKay, but none were able to impact the early stages of the quarter. The Blues played a physical game, able to put tackle pressure onto the Pies in an attempt to lock the ball inside their forward half. Two goals in a row for Collingwood made it a tough ask for Carlton, as they continued to push the margin out without response from the Blues. An impressive game from Kennedy was furthered with a goal from outside 50, followed closely by a major from Williams. Carlton’s clearance work was impressive, giving them more possession out of the middle as the rain started to fall at the MCG. A sharp kick from Martin parted the Collingwood defence, landing in the hands of Tom De Koning, who slotted the goal from directly in front.
What a quarter it turned out to be for the Blues against the old enemy. Well-held for the entire afternoon prior to the final term, Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay's first goal came at the perfect time, bringing the Blues within two points of the Pies. Carlton seemed to be playing with all of the momentum, with Eddie Betts the chief instigator in attack: his accurate snap was a case of third time lucky, giving the Blues the lead for the first time. From that point onwards, the Blues didn't look back, with the brilliant-again Sam Walsh adding to his spectacular highlights reel. Willing himself to win possession and burst through two opponents, Walsh slammed the Sherrin on his boot to give the Blues a two-goal lead. While the physical Liam Stocker and Zac Williams held up well in defence, it was the Harry McKay show in attack, slamming on four goals in the final term alone as the Blues came away with a memorable win.
The moment of the match:
The clutch moment in the game came off the boot of Sam Walsh, but we can't go beyond the emotion of Jack Silvagni on Sunday afternoon.
Days after the passing of his grandfather - and Club Legend - Sergio Silvagni, Jack battled manfully throughout the course of the day and it was capped off in the second term.
With the Blues needing a boost, a contested mark in the goal square was followed by an accurate set shot, with Silvagni kissing the black armband and pointing to the heavens in honour of his grandfather.
A customary Silvagni hanger against Collingwood came in the last term, while teammates were quick to embrace Carlton's No.1 after the final siren when the emotion of the occasion got to the third-generation Blue.
Three things we learned:
1. When the team sheet came in on Friday, the question was quick to be asked: how will Carlton deal without Patrick Cripps? Matthew Kennedy was a big part of that answer. Continuing his purple patch in Navy Blue, Kennedy was combative as ever with 26 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances. There was even room for a ball-bursting goal from inside the centre square at a time when the game threatened to get away from the Blues. It's been a regular comment in recent weeks, but it was another 'best game for the Club' performance from the No.7.
2. It's been a big week for Jack Martin. After getting engaged with partner Britt earlier in the week, Martin was crucial in the Blues' win on Sunday. Three moments stuck out for the 26-year-old, who backed up his three-goal performance against the Pies in Round 2 with another strong showing. First, he kicked a much-needed major for the previously goalless Blues on the quarter-time siren. His crunching tackle on Isaac Quaynor in the second term changed the complexion of the game, before his clever assist for Tom De Koning in the third term was another big moment.
3. Speaking of moments, Harry McKay made it his own. It wasn't the big man's day for the majority of the afternoon, quelled by Collingwood's Jordan Roughead on the way to just six disposals at the final change. However, when the game was there to be won, McKay rose to the occasion. Marking everything that came his way and finding his goalkicking boots at the right time, McKay's four goals in the final term did the damage on the way to a 29-point Carlton win.
COLLINGWOOD 3.2 6.4 9.5 9.8 (62)
CARLTON 1.3 4.6 7.9 13.13 (91)
Carlton: McKay 4, Betts 2, Martin, Stocker, Silvagni, Kennedy, Williams, De Koning, Walsh
Carlton: Walsh, Kennedy, Martin, Weitering, Stocker, Silvagni, Dow