Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
After going down to the vastly improved West Coast Eagles last week, Brett Ratten’s Carlton players were keen to re-establish themselves as a genuine Top 4 team on the big stage of the MCG. Richmond on the other hand was in need of a solid showing after playing whipping boy to the Blues in their last seven encounters.
Just under 60,000 hopeful fans turned up to a one-sided affair with the Carlton engine room completely dominating a hapless Richmond outfit. After getting out of the blocks early, Carlton was never threatened on the way to a massive 103 point win. If not for a late Tiger surge in junk time, the Blues would have eclipsed their biggest winning margin over the Tigers of 115 points.
Carlton’s Mitch Robinson dominated possession in the opening quarter, showing how well he can finish with an early goal. With Chris Judd back to his best and Marc Murphy continuing his stellar season in the midfield, Carlton made all the early going with Richmond unable to force its way into its forward 50 for the first ten minutes of the quarter. The Tigers were butchering the ball in the backline, allowing Carlton easy goals from turnovers. Poor starts have been a continuing theme for Richmond so far this season and today’s encounter would prove to be more of the same, as Carlton cruised to a 22 point quarter time lead.
In the second quarter it was a more even contest but it was once again the class of Judd who found the elusive Eddie Betts for the first goal. Betts and his forward line team mates were working hard to keep the ball in the Blues' forward 50, with their high pressure tactics proving too much for the inexperienced Richmond backs. With backline leader Kelvin Moore and young up and comers Dylan Grimes and David Astbury out injured, the Tigers have struggled to keep strong teams off the score sheet all season, and today the floodgates opened. With Robbie Warnock completely dominating in the ruck for the Blues, the Carlton midfielders continually had first use of the footy. The Tigers much vaunted top four midfielders in Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Daniel Jackson and Nathan Foley could manage only one clearance between them to half time. When the siren sounded for the main break, Carlton led 11.7 to 4.6.
After the half time festivities, Carlton continued their own navy and white party as Judd racked up five clearances and a couple of goals to go with them. Warnock continued to feed the ball to his Carlton team mates as raw Richmond ruckman Andrew Browne was given a football lesson. The hitout count ended 40 to 18 in Warnock’s favour with this duel going a long way to deciding the fate of the game. A 16 to three clearance count helped a rampant Carlton pile on nine goals for the quarter as the rejuvenated Andrew Walker and the returning Jarrad Waite got into the act up forward. At the other end of the MCG, Jack Riewoldt was battling hard to score for the Tigers but the lack of supply made his task next to impossible. At three-quarter time, the Blues had extended their lead to a whopping 89 points.
Brownlow fancy Murphy drew first blood for Carlton early in the last quarter and a record winning margin seemed on the cards. Walker and Waite continued to dominate the air while Betts hunted the packs to pick up any loose football that hit the ground, ably assisted by youngster Jeffrey Garlett. Richmond didn’t completely throw in the towel and managed a few late goals, but the damage to the Tigers was well and truly done. When the final siren mercifully rang to put the Black and Gold army out of its misery, Carlton had totally dominated to earn the four points with a comprehensive 103 point trashing.
This victory was the second biggest win of the season for Carlton, falling just short of its 119 point demolition of fledgling club, the Gold Coast Suns, back in Round 2. The percentage boost will be a welcome bonus for Coach Brett Ratten as Carlton moves into third spot on the AFL Ladder with a double chance looming in the Finals. With games against the Western Bulldogs, Collingwood and Essendon on the agenda, the Blues have a chance to stake their claim as contenders to be reckoned with come the business end of the season.
For the Tigers, Coach Damien Hardwick is left to pick up the pieces of a 2011 campaign that has shown some promise, while at the same time proving that Richmond has a long road ahead before being taken seriously by the top clubs in the AFL. Things don’t get any easier for the Tigers as they come up against arch rival Essendon next week in a game that looms as super important, not only to its short term aspirations but for its membership drive into the future.
Scoreboard Carlton 5.2 11.7 20.13 28.16 (184) Richmond 1.4 4.6 6.8 12.9 (81) Best Carlton: C Judd, R Warnock, M Robinson, E Betts, A Carazzo Richmond: R Nahas, N Foley, B Deledio, A Rance
Article last changed on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 2:18 PM EDT