Many tipped North Melbourne to finish on the bottom of the AFL Ladder in 2018, and many people might end up being incorrect. That would be because many people didn’t realise just how bad Carlton are in comparison.
The Blues and Kangaroos ventured down to Blundstone Arena to lock horns, and the Roos walked away with four points, and a huge 86-point win. Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly of their game.
Big Bad Ben Brown
That’s a lot of B-words. And here’s a couple more. Battered Blues Backline – they looked all at sea against Brown, whether he was contesting a mark or getting out on the lead, it was apparent very early that he was a cut above anyone Carlton could throw at him.
Brown kicked five, and basically played against two opponents for the entire second half. He was ably assisted by Jarrad Waite and Jack Ziebell when he ventured forward, but in the first half, the only defensive tactic the Carlton backs seemed to be able to employ against Brown was to hold him and hope for the best.
Well, it didn’t work for them. Brown kicked no goals in the lake the Kangaroos had to play in in Round One, but he is making up for it now, and is a genuine Coleman Medal threat.
Levi Casboult’s hip and shoulder on Majak Daw
I tried my best to find one Carlton highlight to put in here, and this is what I came up with.
Last week it was Majak putting the hurt on Jordan Lewis at the ‘G. This week, he didn’t see Levi coming, and the big Blue put Majak on his backside, and he stayed there for a few seconds too – enough for Jarrod Garlett to swoop and kick his first goal.
The Roos have been very patient with Anderson, and tonight he showed that he may be ready to repay their faith.
In his best game for the club, Anderson amassed 23 touches and kicked a goal. His defensive efforts were also impressive, laying five tackles and pressuring the Carlton mids when they got their hands on it.
He had to stand under a high ball at half back in the third quarter, with players bearing down on him. Anderson didn’t blink, took the mark on his chest and the Roos cleared.
Kangaroos defensive discipline
North were able to retain their defensive structures even when the temptation to run up the ground and get involved must have been tempting.
A the game wore on, the tired Blues pumped the ball forward, only to see the ball come straight back out due to the likes of Scott Thompson, Luke McDonald, or Jamie MacMillan standing their ground and not chasing kicks. It was a disciplined display, particularly by Thompson, who added 15 marks to his 25 disposals.
Together, the North defence was able to successfully curtail the influence of Charlie Curnow, who only seemed to get touches when he ventured quite a distance from goal.
The reigning Best and Fairest had another stellar outing, accumulating 35 touches, including 17 contested possessions.
Higgins adds a touch of class to a very blue-collar midfield. His work with the ball in hand complements the work of the Cunnington and Ziebell-types.
Seeing him drift forward and slot a goal was reward for effort on the night.
The three goal club
When four players score three goals or more, it’s a recipe for success.
We covered Brown earlier, but Waite, Ziebell and Atley all contributed three goals apiece in an excellent display of rotating through the forward line. Atley has long been a player I’ve wanted to see produce more. Hopefully tonight can be the start of something bigger for him. Three goals is nice, but multiple games where he sits around 20 touches and adds a couple of goals would elevate him to the next level.
Jack Silvagni’s disposal
This is probably a bit harsh, because he looked as though he was actually putting in a lot of hard work to contest early on, but the problems started once Silvagni got his hands on the pill.
Kicking out of bounds on the full, hacking it and getting caught holding it basically told the story of his night.
Like so many of his teammates, his effort dried up after half time, which was a real shame, as the heat was no longer on, and Jack may have been able to build some confidence with a few more touches.
Charlie Curnow was beaten and forced to run far and wide to get a touch. Marc Murphy was walking gingerly on an injured foot and unable to take his place in the selected side. Patrick Cripps appeared to stop caring, and Matty Kreuzer sat out the majority of the last quarter to avoid injury.
The Blues are a team crying out for someone to stand up and make a difference. None of them, not even the usually reliable Kade Simpson, looked anything like stars tonight. They were largely listless, and many questions will be asked about their endeavour over the next few days.
The Blues may want to be seen as a blue collar team? Sadly, until some stop playing like millionaires, they’re going nowhere.
The Carlton first quarter
Very ugly stuff. When the commentators start talking up a strong breeze, as a viewer, you take it with a grain of salt. But Carlton must have listened and thought that this supposed gale would do all the work for them.
With the wind behind them, they didn’t fire a shot after the first goal to Matty Wright. The Kangaroos worked the ball beautifully, while the Blues watched and wondered what was happening. They walked to the huddle at quarter time down 23 points in arrears, and had Ben Brown not been robbed of a mark on the goal line, it may have been uglier.
Marc Murphy injured before the game
Maybe I underestimated Marc Murphy – he’s a smart fella. If I was stuck with the rabble that is the Carlton list at the moment, I’d be injured a lot as well.
That’s unfair to Murphy, though. He is a very good ball winner, and overall, a superb player. The fact that he is still in the conversation as to who is the best player at Carlton, however, is damning of the club.
What his presence on the field may have meant, we’ll never know, but I am pretty confident in stating that it would probably have been about 25 touches, at above 70% efficiency, with a goal at most. It would’ve put him in Carlton’s best yet again, which really isn’t saying much. They’ll miss him when he’s gone.
The time was right for Todd Goldstein to have a big impact today. He looks as though he is happy to break even in a contest at the moment, as though that should be considered a win for him. The Blues were ready to raise the white flag, and Goldstein dominating the ruck would’ve been the icing on the cake. Instead, he had 10 disposals and one mark. He was ordinary in an extraordinary win.
Is the Liam Jones experiment over now? Teams with a good forward seem to have worked him out, and it is obviously playing on his mind, especially given all the free kicks Ben Brown was awarded early in the game.
Jack Ziebell up forward creates an interesting dynamic. He works hard to keep the ball in, and is a strong body in the contest. He is not a tall, nor a small, and could be a real match up problem for some teams.
Daisy Thomas looked good in spots. I guess that’s both good and bad, as you’d prefer he looked good most of the time. Looks to have rediscovered his pace, and had a nice leap or two at the ball.
Garlett should’ve received a holding the ball free kick against Scott Thompson in the second quarter. Took him a full 360, dropped him to the ground, and only in a second effort on the ground did Thompson release a handball. What’s the point of tackling if you’re gonna let that go? I suppose the solution is to take them to ground fast? But that would be a dangerous tackle…
Carlton’s failure to have players at the fall of the ball is all about lack of effort. They’d get to a contest, the ball would spill and there’d be no one. It resulted in a goal to Jed Anderson in the second quarter.
Jack Silvagni’s horror disposal night continued after receiving a 50 metre penalty from the deaf Majak Daw. He sprayed the 25 metre shot.
Jack Ziebell’s decision to hold up play, buy time and then deliver to the running Hartung for a goal was beautiful. It showed a great understanding of the game, as well as a fair amount of maturity and poise.