Much maligned Carlton has held on grimly to defeat a fast-finishing Geelong by just two points at Kardinia Park on Saturday night – the Blues first win at Geelong’s home park since 1996. This continued a series of surprising results in this already unusual season. The star of the Carlton show was undoubtedly veteran Eddie Betts, with the plucky goal sneak not only kicking the game’s opening goal but bookending it with a game-saving tackle within the last minute of the match.
Carlton stunned the highly fancied Geelong by dominating the first quarter through some great work by star midfielder Patrick Cripps and emerging ruckman Marc Pittonet, with the aforementioned Eddie Betts chipping in with two goals. At quarter time the Blues led by 25 points after what was comfortably their most impressive quarter for the season to date.
Geelong, as expected, hit back in the second quarter as their prime movers including Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan, and the improved Quentin Narkle started to have an influence on the game. To Carlton’s credit, the Blues steadied with Harry McKay and Mitch McGovern adding goals on the back of some great work from the defense by the underrated Sam Docherty. Levi Casboult also chipped in with some brilliant contested marks and a couple of goals to extend the Carlton lead to a handy 29 points at the half.
The expected Geelong fight back in the third quarter was stifled by more Carlton brilliance. New recruit Jack Martin provided plenty of highlights as he worked himself into the contest all over the ground. Defender Jacob Weitering continued to outpoint Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins, and Carlton marched on to a 42 point lead at one stage. That was reduced to a still significant 35 points at three quarter time.
Geelong could have been excused for not mounting a serious challenge with two players out of action leading into the final change. Luke Dalhaus went out early in the game with a concussion and Sam Menegola was unable to take his place in the final quarter due to an injured back. Come back they did however, reducing the margin as Tom Hawkins hit the scoreboard for his second goal of the match. The Cats had a sniff of an improbable victory and despite the injuries looked the fresher of the two teams, as they continually went forward, threatening the Carlton goal.
A goal barrage included a magnificent piece of individual brilliance by Jed Bews who had Geelong within a single goal with a couple of minutes to go. If not for some uncharacteristic misses by Gary Ablett Jr., and a brain fade by young Gryan Miers, when he took the advantage from a free kick only to have his goal attempt touched on the line, the Cats would have had the lead.
Carlton clung to their two point advantage and as Geelong took possession in the midfield within the last minute of the game, it looked like they would have one last chance to steal a victory. Enter Eddie Betts once more, who made a game-saving tackle that earnt him a free kick, and a famous victory for the old dark Blues.
In a crazy season of match results so far, this may have been the biggest upset. Both teams now hold a 1-2 win-loss record with Geelong to face Melbourne at the MCG next up, while Carlton will take on Essendon – which potentially could be missing some players. Essendon faces more COVID-19 testing and quarantines following Connor McKenna’s positive test and that could rule out a large number of their starting lineup.
Scoreboard: Geelong: 1.2 4.6 6.7 11.11 (77) Carlton: 5.3 9.5 12.6 12.7 (79) Best Players: Carlton: Betts, Cripps, Docherty, Gibbons, Pittonet, Martin, Casboult Geelong: Duncan, Dangerfield, Tuohy, Narkle, Miers
Article last changed on Monday, June 22, 2020 - 12:47 PM EDT