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.
The Dockers' first quarter was their worst start for the year, as Carlton dominated by setting up nineteen entries into their attacking arc. Carlton got players to the ball with Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh consistently winning contested possessions to push Carlton into attack. The Docker defense led by Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce, Jordan Clark, and Hayden Young withstood the siege for the first fifteen minutes, before the Blues broke through with quick goals to Matthew Kennedy and Charlie Curnow. The Dockers were unable to clear the ball from their defense as the Blues had height and numbers to mop up Docker defensive kicks. Relentless midfield pressure created Docker fumbles and turnovers, allowing Carlton to kick the final two goals of the quarter courtesy of Matthew Owies and Harry McKay.
The Dockers responded in the second quarter with an improved rate of clearances and more pressure around the ball, which resulted in better attacking forays. Michael Walters booted their first goal after a turnover on the wing saw Michael Frederick run free and kick long to the small forward. Three minutes later, Luke Jackson kicked truly after being awarded a free kick in a marking contest. However, that was as close as the Dockers got to Carlton for the rest of the match. The Blues worked better at stoppages despite Darcy's continued ruck dominance. Goals to Curnow and McKay in the middle of the quarter negated the home team's early work. The battle for the rest of the quarter was even, with neither side booting a major as the defenders for both teams held sway.
The third quarter was all Carlton. If the ball hit the ground, they won it. If it was a contested possession, they won it. If it was in the air, they marked it. Adam Cerra was busy and his delivery to his forwards was a feature. Sam Walsh, Nic Newman, Patrick Cripps, and Sam Docherty dominated the midfield with their bigger bodies. Cripps used his strength to out muscle his smaller opponents and Carlton locked the ball in their forward line for long periods, courtesy of their pressure and tackling. Goals flowed through Lachie Fogarty, Mitch McGovern, Cerra, Sam Docherty, Owies, and McKay. The Dockers' only score for the quarter was one rushed behind (a deliberately conceded score worth one point). The Dockers were done.
The fourth quarter was a formality. Jye Amiss added an early goal for the Dockers and Curnow replied a few minutes later, after a forward half turnover. Michael Walters benefitted from a clean Docker center clearance at the restart, to boot his second goal. The Dockers mounted more attacks and Sam Switkowski read the ball off hands to boot his his first goal for the match. However, the Blues didn't stop. Matthew Cottrell marked a long kick to boot his first goal at the nineteen minute mark. Finally, Michael Frederick booted a goal for Fremantle just before the siren, but it brought little cheer to the home crowd as their team had been comprehensively outplayed.
Next week Carlton have a tough assignment as they meet Port Adelaide Power at Marvel Stadium. The Dockers meet the powerful Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, where the Dockers' chances of making the finals will likely end.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 0.3 2.7 2.8 6.9 (45) Carlton Blues: 4.3 6.8 12.12 14.14 (98) Best Fremantle Dockers: Ryan, Darcy, Brayshaw, Clark, Young Carlton Blues: Cerra, Walsh, Cripps, Newman, Doherty
Article last changed on Monday, July 10, 2023 - 11:28 AM EDT