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Inaccurate Bombers Lose Second Place on Ladder to Blues

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.  

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Blues Hold Off Fast Finishing Demons

Petracca Goals (file photo/AFANA)

A cool drizzly night made it easy for fans to watch from home but the match saw a good crowd of 58,472 turn up to the MCG. The drizzle was falling early but not enough to make it too slippery at the start. After an early arm wrestle the Blues struck first after six minutes of play, where each team worked cautiously to feel each other out. Walsh broke the shackles, snapping around the body from 35 meters out, straight in front, for the Blues. 

While the Blues midfielders were looking for Harry and Charlie, it was the big man from the middle in Pittonet who marked and goaled at the top of the 50. Martin made it three goals in 5 minutes for the Blues when he marked at the top of the goal square. The rain grew heavier halfway through the quarter. Neither team could score again for another seven or eight minutes, but Harry McKay was able to get a better read on a bad kick to evade the defending Lever and mark and goal from 20 meters out.  

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Carlton Crush Disappointing Dockers

McGovern spoils (Woodley/AFANA)

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.

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Hawks Suffer Mid-year Blues

Cripps Racks Kicks Again (file photo)

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.

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Carlton and Curnow Crush Eagles

Charlie Curnow (file picture)

The Carlton Blues bounced back from two consecutive losses to record a thumping victory against the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium. The match was never in doubt after half time, as Carlton held ascendancy across the field and dominated on the ball. Charlie Curnow had a day out for Carlton booting nine goals and setting up several others. Patrick Cripps was powerful in the middle for Carlton, gaining 33 possessions (22 of which were contested possessions) and laying eight tackles. The Eagles tried hard in the opening quarter and pushed Carlton in the second quarter. However the home team became spectators for the rest of the match as the relentless Carlton powered to a percentage-boosting victory (Ed: percentage in this case is calculated as the ratio of total points scored divided by points against for the season; it is the tie breaker if teams have identical won-loss records).

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2023 AFL Season Opener Ends in a Draw

Jack Silvagni's 100th game (file photo)

It has been debated in the wider footy media on various occasions in past years that these two teams might no longer deserve the season opening blockbuster. But tonight's classic match saw scores level at the final siren and in front of a vibrant and vocal crowd of 88,084, between two teams that finished 7th and 9th last year, should guarantee them both at least a few more years in this opening slot. 

The crowd was mostly in early for the first bounce of the 2023 season. The first ruck contest resulted in a free kick that saw Nankervis kick the ball long into the Richmond forward line and Dustin Martin put the first goal of the year on the board when his Carlton opponent spilled the mark. A great sign for Richmond supporters.

The reply was quick as Zac Fisher for Carlton returned the favor snapping on his left across the body from 25 meters out. Jack Silvagni got a good ride on his Richmond opponents to rise above them and mark, but it was the resulting goal that mattered most. A good sign for the Blues, too.

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Blues Blow Away Bombers After Slow Start

Hooker Battles Cox (2019)

It was a warm sunny day at the MCG, with the late 3.20 PMM start meaning that most of the game would be played in the shadows of the stands. Coming into this match Essendon were 14th and Carlton were 15th on the AFL ladder.  A solid crowd of 57,447 witnessed the match. Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti kicked the opening goal of the match as Essendon looked slick early.

Mitch McGovern and Sam Walsh kicked the next two goals to show the Blues fans they were up for the fight and much of the quarter it was an even competition.  But Essendon got their running game happening and Cale Hooker evened things up on the scoreboard.  With Essendon on the rampage, it took a big mark by Eddie Betts in the goal square to keep the Blues in it. He landed heavily with the ball and limped back to kick the goal.

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Brave Blues Crack Kardinia Curse

Eddie Betts Saved the Day

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.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 15

Crunch!

Round fifteen has opened up the race for the top eight with some highly fancied teams dropping games they were expected to win. Geelong bounced back from defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week by taking care of the other Adelaide team (the Crows) at GMHBA Stadium, holding on to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll in the process.

Collingwood drops down to third on the Power Poll courtesy of a shock loss at the hands of a resurgent North Melbourne which climbs all the way to eighth under the control of interim coach Rhyce Shaw. The Eagles once again used some last minute heroics to defeat an unlucky Hawthorn at the MCG, with Jamie Cripps providing the match winning goal on this occasion.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 14

Cameron with His First Goal!

The bye rounds are over, and as we head into round fifteen the battle for the coveted top four spots and the race for the finals is well and truly on. Geelong moves to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll despite dropping a game on the road to an impressive Port Adelaide, while Collingwood continues to win despite not being at its best in recent weeks. 

The big movers are the Adelaide Crows, moving from 8th to 5th on the back of a three game winning streak while Fremantle and Port continue to look the most likely to take a spot in the final eight unless Richmond can end its free fall down the AFL ladder.

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