RECORDING its eighth win of the season, Carlton emerged from Marvel Stadium with a 31-point win over St Kilda.
Putting their opposition to the sword in the middle two quarters, the Blues cracked the ton in an efficient performance, having contributors across every line in a pleasing showing for all those in Navy Blue.
Playing his first game in two seasons, Charlie Curnow emerged unscathed while kicking a stunning first-quarter goal, while fellow key forward Harry McKay extended his Coleman Medal lead with a five-goal showing.
Max King proved a handful for the Blues in the opening minutes, with the tall forward kicking the Saints' first three goals. However, at the other end, the return of Harry McKay was welcomed, getting the Blues going on the scoreboard. Paddy Dow enjoyed another fast start, moving the ball cleanly from the centre bounce, while successive snaps from Sam Walsh and Jack Silvagni gave the Blues the lead. A lot of the Blues' good work came from inclusion Josh Honey, who provided two direct goal assists in tthe opening term. Weitering found his groove against King and was able to get his defensive game going, before the moment everyone was waiting for at home happened: after a quick counter attack, Charlie Curnow received possession and launched from one step for a comeback goal to remember.
The term started quietly, with neither side able to lock the ball in their forward half. The end-to-end play resulted in a physical display from Carlton, leading the tackle and pressure count. A classy second goal from Walsh saw the Blues start to widen the margin as their disposal efficiency and ball movement started to clean up. Zac Fisher and Lochie O’Brien provided good running options between the arc, while Honey set up yet another goal, this time for the boot of Matt Kennedy. McKay kept his chances for the Coleman Medal high as he slotted his third and fourth for the day, one with a long bomb from outside 50. The Blues did well to keep the Saints out of their forward 50, with the midfield cutting off the ball before it reached the last line of defence. Despite Tom De Koning spending the quarter off the ground, Carlton still managed to get the better of the stoppages, with Jack Silvagni stepping up as an undersized ruckman.
Another big grab and goal for McKay opened the quarter, followed closely with a Dow goal straight from the centre bounce. Honey got some reward for effort and slotted his first goal at the AFL level while Walsh kicked his third of the day: a career high for the No.18. Fisher started getting involved in the centre, while Jack Martin’s efficiency helped Carlton move the ball forward. Silvagni took on the rucking duties of De Koning, who was subbed out for Marc Murphy, and managed to keep up with the important Rowan Marshall. Weitering’s intercept game was important when St Kilda managed to get the ball forward, backed up by Adam Saad and Williamson. An important captain’s goal from Patrick Cripps saw Carlton almost out of reach of St Kilda heading into the final term.
Tom Williamson continued his impressive form offensively with his second goal of the game, coming from 55 metres after a strong tackle. Josh Honey then brought up the ton with his second goal, before the Saints added some respectability to the scoreboard with four consecutive goals. After having the ascendancy at the stoppages despite the Saints' hitout dominance, Carlton's scoring dried up when its opposition started winning the ball out of the centre. However, a Blues victory was never in doubt, and it was capped off with a goal from veteran Marc Murphy on the full-time siren for their eighth win of the season.
Three things from the game
1. Carlton’s disposal efficiency lifted, and the benefits were there for all to see. After last week's game was marred by turnovers, the Blues went at 75 per cent disposal efficiency, and perhaps most impressively their best work came in front of the big sticks. From their 22 scoring shots, the Blues went 18.4 in front of goal, making the Saints pay whenever they went forward.
2. Two of Carlton's most-improved players in recent months continued their form line. Forced to play as an undersized ruckman for the entirety of the game, Jack Silvagni's desire shone through with arguably a career-best display: he finished with 25 disposals, nine tackles and a goal. Then, there was his locker neighbour Paddy Dow, who enjoyed a particularly brilliant start. The dynamic midfielder accumulated 22 disposals and four clearances to go with his third-quarter goal.
3. Josh Honey’s VFL development has paid off, with the third-gamer producing an exciting cameo on Friday night. Getting his first run of the season (he was the unused sub in Round 10), Honey had a big impact on Carlton's front six. Kicking his first two goals of his career, Honey got himself into the game with three direct goal assists in the first half.
Moment of the match
It had to be Charlie.
Returning after two years on the sidelines, Charlie Curnow reminded fans exactly why they missed him so much.
Kicking a goal from outside 50 off one step, Curnow’s power and precision was a glimpse of his former self and hopefully something he can build on for the remaining games in the season. It wasn't the biggest influence from the returning forward, but it laid down a significant marker for his return, and seeing him emerge unscathed was the cherry on top of the four points.
ST KILDA 3.1 5.3 7.7 12.9 (81)
CARLTON 5.1 10.1 15.2 18.4 (112)
Carlton: McKay 5, Walsh 3, Honey 2, Williamson 2, Cripps, Curnow, Dow, Kennedy, Silvagni
Carlton: Walsh, Silvagni, Dow, McKay, Kennedy, Cripps, Weitering
Carlton: De Koning (pectoral)