The Carlton Blues crushed the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium to move within one win of the top eight. The Carlton victory was emphatic. Their bigger more experienced players pressured the young Dockers all over the ground, causing multiple turnovers. The Blues were dominated in the ruck by the Dockers big man, Sean Darcy, but they won more clearances and were much cleaner with their use of the ball. Carlton got numbers to the ball and won contested possessions 155 to 135, with their twin tower forwards, Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow, sharing 24 marks (catches) and booting three goals each. The inexperienced Docker forwards were out-hustled by Jacob Weitering, Nic Newman and Mitch McGovern, who either intercepted or spoilt Jye Amiss and Josh Treacy's attempts to mark . The Blues dominated the midfield battle and set up sixty forward entries, with former Docker Adam Cerra completing eleven, whilst the home team struggled to get clean entries due to the pressure applied by the Blues' midfielders.
On the middle day of the calendar year it was very much a drizzly winter morning in Melbourne. Still a respectable crowd of just over 66,000 turned up. The sun had come out for the opening bounce and the Hawthorn Hawks had the first clearance, then the Carlton Blues eventually winning the back and forth tennis match before getting a high snapped kick onto Curnow's chest. He goalled the set shot to get the scoring started.
Jack Martin kicked the Blues second after getting on the end of a chain of handballs inside the Blues 50 and being in the clear, easily snapped the goal on his left foot. A rampant McKay ran inside 50 and centered to a leading Cuningham who goalled from 30 meters out for three unanswered goals. The Hawks appeared to be asleep for much of the quarter and the return of just three behinds accurately reflected that at quarter time as the Blues took a 19 point lead into the first break. Hawthorn's kicking efficiency was just 50% for the quarter and when they did go forward, the likes of Weitering thwarted their efforts.
The Fremantle Dockers played the complete team game to be convincing winners over the Carlton Blues at Optus Stadium. Both teams started cautiously by playing along the boundary lines when defending and attacking. The Dockers’ ruckman Sean Darcy had a slight edge over Carlton’s Marc Pittonet at bounce downs but Carlton’s midfielders Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra combined well to give Carlton first use of the ball. The Carlton tactic was to kick long and high to their twin towers in attack, Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay. The Dockers lined up with three tall men in the last line of defense with Alex Pearce, Brennan Cox and Griffin Logue intent on punching the ball to prevent marks (catches).
The first quarter was an even tussle, with Matthew Owies snapping Carlton’s first goal when the ball hit the ground after a ruck contest in the forward pocket. The second goal brought Curnow into the game when he marked a centering kick from Jack Martin and kicked truly. Pittonet injured his knee in a ruck contest and retired from the game, which then gave Darcy the chance to dominate in the ruck.
Young forward Tyson Stengle, 23, has officially been delisted. He was originally drafted by Richmond in the 2017 rookie draft and played two games before being traded to Adelaide at the end of 2018. However, he has had several off-field indiscretions. He was originally stood down last December but was officially stood down from the club this past March and has been playing with Woodville-West Torrens since. The Adelaide Crows released a statement confirming that the player and club had come to an agreement to end Stengle's employment. Stengle kicked 15 goals in 16 games for the Crows.
Round thirteen will kick off with Thursday night footy at Adelaide Oval, with Port Adelaide – fresh off a victory over the reigning premiers – taking on the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval. This makes for a short turnaround from a cracking Queen’s Birthday Monday clash that saw a red hot Collingwood take down the highly fancied Melbourne Demons in front of a massive MCG crowd.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The Fremantle Dockers’ have narrowly defeated the Adelaide Crows, and left a big question mark over last year’s Grand Finalists. With a challenging draw in the second half of the season, the injury hit Crows will need a dramatic change of fortune to make the finals again. The Dockers, like the Crows, were not at full strength.