A bumper crowd of nearly 43,000 fans witnessed an epic Semi-final contest in perfect football conditions in Perth. West Coast was charged up to win a game and go one step closer to a Grand Final berth. Carlton had never won a Finals match away from Melbourne but this did not seem to faze them as they produced a cracking start in the opening minutes of the game.
Carlton effectively ended Fremantle’s Finals’ hopes in a comprehensive demolition at Patersons Stadium in Round 21. Fremantle had won the last 12 of 14 encounters with Carlton and got off to a great start winning the ball from the first bounce down. Aaron Sandilands was back after injury and tapped the ball down for a Matthew Pavlich clearance. Pavlich chased up his own kick to goal within the first 30 seconds of the game.
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.
Carlton and Essendon games open up old wounds with a traditional rivalry going back decades. The intensity of feeling was well summed up by long time Carlton fanatic Barb, who wore a button that stated simply "I Hate Essendon".
One week after winning his second Brownlow Medal ahead of Geelong's Gary Ablett and Collingwood's Dane Swan, Chris Judd has won his third consecutive John Nicholls Medal as Carlton's best and fairest. Judd, who was presented with the medal by Nicholls, has won the medal every year since he joined the club.
A sell out crowd was treated to an enthralling Round 22 battle between two teams vying to end the home and away season on a triumphant note with a home Final the prize for the winner.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Subiaco Oval
Big name cuts to both teams for disciplinary breaches and poor form saw the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues face off with new look sides and plenty of youth on display. Carlton wore a new away strip, a yellow jumper signed by Lance Armstrong, each one to be sold at auction post-match as a fundraiser for cancer research. Both teams had looked brittle in previous matches and Carlton in particular were out to show the football public that they were serious contenders for the Finals. The umpire was keen to get the ball bounced at the start of the game with players already involved in shoving and niggling that could have resulted in an all-in brawl had it gone on any longer.