ON THE back of a 49-point win over Sandringham, Carlton Reserves coach Daniel O'Keefe was very pleased with the performance of his side. 

After a very interrupted season due to COVID restrictions in Victoria, O'Keefe was proud of the way his side responded after a break away from the VFL competition. 

"As a collective, I thought it was a consistent output from everyone," O'Keefe said.

"Everyone played their part, some more than others but no one had a bad day and collectively as a defensive unit, we were very good.

"We played 80 per cent of the game in our front half and it’s very hard to lose a game of footy off the back of that.

"Unfortunately we scored 25 behinds so it should’ve been a bigger win on the scoreboard, but some good learnings from that as well." 

Here is what O'Keefe made of each of the AFL-listed players performances. 

5. Sam Petrevski-Seton
Stats: 30 disposals, five clearances, four score involvements, one goal. 

‘Samo’s’ game was good on the day, but then I watched the tape back and he stood out even more. The type of game suited him no doubt: the game was in a contest a lot, he positioned himself really well in the sweep role where he either pressured the back of the stoppage or he was able to receive the handball and use the ball going forward for us really well. He had a lot of impact on the day with 30 possessions. In defensive transition once the ball leaves the stoppage, although we’ve seen some really good growth in this area, it continues to be an area that he’ll work on.

8. Lachie Fogarty
Stats: 27 disposals, 12 tackles, 11 contested possessions, five clearances.  

Fogarty played 50/50 as a forward and a midfielder. The ground was quite condensed and it was a small ground, but because we played the game at one end of the ground generally for the whole day, it really suited ‘Fogs’ because we love him in the contest and we love his ability to compete, either winning the ball and giving it out to his mate in space or his tackle pressure.

He had 12 tackles on the day, which was a game and season-high for us in the VFL. It was an enormous pressure game at the contest. Similar to a couple of others given we kicked 25 behinds on the day, ‘Fogs’ missed a few shots on goal that I thought we could lock him down for so he finished on 0.3: he’ll get to work on that at training. 

11. Mitch McGovern
Stats: 15 disposals, seven contested possessions, six marks, two goals. 

He played a really solid game. At times, I felt sorry for him because we played him as a forward, we played him as a backman and we played him in the ruck but to be honest, we basically put him where the ball was and he just made an impact on the game dramatically. His ability to compete in the air as a forward and a ruck was enormous for us.

His positioning behind the ball was what really impressed us, particularly with a strong wind going one way: he put himself into a position where he could turn the ball over or help support our team do the same thing. Unfortunately for ‘Gov’, one of his greatest strengths is finishing shots on goal: he had six of them, but ended with 2.4. He missed a couple of easy shots when it could've been a four- or five-goal game from him.

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16. Jack Carroll
Stats: 11 disposals, eight contested possessions, five clearances, three tackles. 

Jack played more as a forward but also found himself in the midfield for quite a few stoppages, particularly centre bounces. His centre-bounce craft was quite good, with his ability to reference his opponent and own more space and therefore get his hands on it was really strong. He’s been working on his first gives, which is what someone like Lachie Fogarty does really well in extracting the ball out and giving it to his teammates. That’s exactly what Jack’s been working on and that was a highlight of his game on the weekend. He also just needs some consistency with the patterns that he runs, particularly as a high forward or off the back of a stoppage. 

17. Brodie Kemp
Stats: 14 disposals, eight marks, four rebound 50s.

Kemp played on Shaun McKernan for three quarters of the game and he did a really good job on him, particularly when he was in one-on-one positions. He kept him quite quiet and his ability behind the ball to be able to shift and own more space than the opposition was really strong: that actually got him involved in the game a lot more. A focus for him on a couple of occasions was understanding the strong breeze and how much ground to take in terms of pressing off your direct opponent compared to just tucking in behind and defending him. We were finding a different balance for ‘Kempy’ with the strong breeze going down one end. Obviously you wouldn’t get that issue at Marvel Stadium or an AFL ground with a big stand, but at VFL level, this is just something we have to keep working on. 

26. Luke Parks 
Stats: 15 disposals, six marks, four rebound 50s, two tackles. 

Once the ball leaves his area and then the ball moves in our front half, 'Parksy's' ability to shift with the ball but then own more space than his opponent no doubt gets him in the game. The game was played in our front half but a big responsibility that ‘Parksy’ had was to anchor our back six and see the whole game in front of him.

The good thing about him is that he still has a lot of growth in his game but plays quite consistently at this level. We played a seventh defender at times throughout the day and we haven’t done that much this year, so it was a good learning for him about how we can use that extra support in our back half to be able to help his individual game as well. 

29. Corey Durdin
Stats: 11 disposals, three inside 50s, two tackles, two clearances. 

Corey probably didn’t have impact in terms of ball in hand like some others did on the day but he continues to bring that pressure side of his game. Even at times where he doesn’t make a tackle, the fact that he gets at the opposition with speed puts them under a lot of pressure and forces them to make some errant decisions. His ability to get back or lead back towards goal with absolute speed is very hard to defend. He was working on some fundamentals: he did hurt his hand a little bit but he was quite untidy handling the ball, whether it be marks or on the ground. It's generally not a concern for him most other weeks.

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33. Sam Ramsay 
Stats: 14 disposals, four tackles, three inside 50s.

He had a game where he locked away a really dangerous opponent in [Jack] Lonie and off the back of that, he did a really good job. It was a big shift in mindset for ‘Rama’: we know he’s got no issues in finding the ball and his ability to get high possessions is great, but we wanted him to have that defensive first mindset and to give him the role of playing on Lonie was a big task. We felt he got the job done well.

He still found the footy a bit himself, but the beauty of him was that he used his direct opposition as a starting point and then as soon as the ball got turned over, he worked off that and that’s how he found the ball. It was a hard day for kicking and that was probably an issue, but that’s not a common theme: he’s a beautiful kick generally. 

46. Matt Cottrell 
Stats: 21 disposals, eight inside 50s, seven tackles, five marks. 

Cottrell can usually get through a game unassuming, where he can have impact on a game but he generally just does a lot of the right things over and over again. At times in the position he plays, it doesn’t actually get involved as much in terms of ball in hand. Every now and then, he’ll pop up and have moments where it’s really impressive work. He started the game like a house on fire with finding the ball, but he also had seven tackles on the outside too so he got himself in the game actually by positioning himself well and finished a couple of nice chasedown tackles too. His kicking was down a little bit which can generally be really strong for him at this level, so he’ll get to work at that, both in general play and with shots on goal.