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Charlie Curnow (file photo/AFANA)

A cool dry Melbourne winter's eve greeted these two old foes, for this Round 13 match under lights at the MCG. The Bombers sitting second on the ladder and the Blues, fifth, separated by just two points. It was close to a full house which showed up to watch the clash. The first quarter would be a pretty even affair, at least across the ground, but the Blues were accurate, and the Bombers were not. The Bombers broke forward early, with Perkins marking on the lead out of the square but missing the set shot for a point. The Blues moved it smartly from the kickout, but the Bombers defenders swooped and then rushed a behind.  

The Bombers couldn't clear it though, and Walsh marked inside 50 and also missed the set shot. The ball once again sling-shotted to the Punt Rd end and Menzie marked in the pocket, and he too missed, his set shot from just 30 meters out hitting the goal post. Goals to McGovern, Harry McKay (matched up on brother Ben), and a trademark rove and turn to kick a long goal by Curnow broke the game open early for Carlton.

Nick Cox finally gave the Bombers value for money when he marked just 15 meters out and goaled following three behind from previous forays forward.  Setterfield added a fourth behind, as they continued to struggle to convert. This allowed another foray forward by the Blues and Fogarty skidding home a kick from the top of an open 50-meter arc.  Another bad miss by Guelphi a minute later when he had a shot 30 meters out straight in front after a 50-meter penalty, saw the Bombers trail by 16 points at quarter time.

If you thought the Bombers luck would change in the second quarter, you'd be wrong. They dominated for periods with the ball, but not in the scoring. Instead, it was the Blues who had things go their way.  The Bombers missed one early then at the other end, Elijah Hollands marked in the forward pocket, after the Blues turned the ball over in the middle of the ground and caught the Bombers defenders off guard. His set shot drop punt was on target and the Blues got the start to the second quarter coach Michael Voss would have been after.

Guelfi made amends for his earlier miss when he kicked the set shot goal after Sam Walsh took him high in a tackle. The Blues quickly hit back though as De Koning got the clearance and the long kick from the middle fell into the arms of Hewitt who kicked the Blues' sixth goal. The Bombers yet again squandered a chance when Stringer's skidding shot at goal slid across the face and hit the point post. The Blues took advantage again with a turnover and got it long to Zach Williams, and he kicked their seventh goal for the half. Elijah Hollands kicked number eight, setting up on the attacking side of the stoppage inside 50, roved and goaled as easy as you like. 

McKay shoots for a goal
Harry McKay (file photo/AFANA)

The Bombers couldn't get their finish working, Gresham set sail for home with a long kick, but before it hit the boot he was run down by the pacey Saad.  On the next entry Stringer marked deep in the forward pocket and kicked a great goal from a tight angle. Even still the Blues were equal to the task as they won the ball on the wing, got it to Curnow who played on and speared a pass to Owies running into space in the pocket.  He marked and just managed to squeeze the ball between the big posts for six points to the Blues. Caldwell hit the post scrapping a quick kick out of the pack next to the behind post.  The Bombers seventh behind, leaving them 32 points behind the Blues at half time. 

The Bombers did get the second half off on the right foot with Langford marking in the pocket and then passing to Guelfi who was running into the goal square without an opponent, and he was able to kick the goal from point blank range. That momentum was short lived when a poor clearance saw Williams get the loose ball and hit Elijah Hollands 25 meters out from goal and he kicked the easy set shot. Similarly at the other end Hind found Martin, and this time it was an accurate kick for Essendon's fifth goal of the match. A minute later he repeated the mark on the lead, but this time his long kick drifted right for a behind.  

Essendon were still unable to get consecutive goals necessary to break back into a competitive position. Langford again marked deep in the pocket, this time taking the around the body shot for goal that went across the face for a behind. Stringer banged a kick high and long goalward which looked promising, but it was spoiled on the line by Saad for a rushed behind. While the Bombers were able to stop the Blues from scoring for an extended period this quarter, they could not score themselves. Eventually, when the Bombers did come inside 50 again next time, Perkin's shot was again spoiled by Saad on the line.

Harrison Jones was next on the miss list, when he pounced on the ball and his long check-side kick drifted to the left for the 12th behind for the Bombers. The Blues looked like they would surely break Bombers hearts when Newman looked to shoot a goal on the run, but it was the Blues turn for a minor score. Finally, in the 30th minute, the Bombers managed to kick their third goal of the quarter when Nick Martin got the ball on the run, and sped around the boundary before slotting it home from close range and finally making a dent in the Blues' lead which was back to just 15 points at the final break.

In the final quarter the Blues again got the start they wanted though, with Cincotta goaling from a stoppage in the forward pocket, receiving a short kick from Cripps and snapping from 15 meters out. They were straight into the forward 50, but Curnow's hurried kick missed to the right. Blues fans would have felt they were home when Zac Williams roved a missed mark by Curnow to snap their second goal for the quarter and take their lead out to 28 points. 

Patrick Cripps on the wing
Patrick Cripps (file photo/AFANA)

The next marking contest Curnow didn't mark either, but this time he was paid the free kick for high contact, and he made no mistake from 15 meters out. The next goal came from Durdin in the pocket and that was the signal for thousands of Bombers fans to leave. This meant they missed goals to Durham, Gresham, and Jones as Essendon had their best period of the game, against the tiring Blues. Not that they were in any real danger, but the Blues then snuffed out any remote chance when they physically willed the ball forward in numbers, eventually seeing Cincotta get the ball and snap the Blues' 15th and final goal for the night. Carlton's final winning margin being 26 points.

Carlton looked very good in the first half, and the Bombers poor kicking maybe made them look better than they were. In the end the Blues did what they needed to do to take the four points and move to take second place on the ladder. The Bombers tried hard in the second half, winning the third quarter but in the end, they just could not stop the Blues from finding marking options inside 50. Twenty-five scoring chances for just 70 points is not good enough to win many games.

ESSENDON: 1.5  3.7   6.13   9.16 (70)
CARLTON:  4.3  9.3  10.4   15.6  (96)  

GOALS 
Essendon: Guelfi 2, Martin 2, Cox, Durham, Gresham, Jones, Stringer 
Carlton:  E. Hollands 3, Cincotta 2, Curnow 2, Williams 2, Durdin, Fogarty, Hewett, McGovern, McKay, Owies 

BEST 
Essendon: Martin, Merrett, Durham, Ridley, Caldwell 
Carlton:  De Koning, Walsh, E. Hollands, Cripps, Weitering 

INJURIES 
Essendon: Setterfield (knee) 
Carlton:  Nil 

 SUBSTITUTES 
Essendon: Elijah Tsatas (replaced Setterfield in the fourth quarter) 
Carlton:  Corey Durdin (replaced Carroll at three-quarter time) 

Crowd: 88,510 at the MCG 

Article last changed on Monday, June 10, 2024 - 5:26 PM EDT


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