SCOTT SPITS June 08, 2012
FINAL SCORE: Carlton 11.19 (85) Geelong 14.13 (97)
STATS WATCH: Selwood was the top possession-winner for Geelong with 29 touches but he came into the game with 18 second-half possessions. Motlop was a constant danger with 4.2 while Stokes was equally damaging in the forward zone, highlighted by six goal assists. Simpson was among Carlton's best with 31 possessions while McLean was solid with 28 touches, including 13 contested possessions. Carlton's inaccurate goalkickers were spread across the team with Judd, Ellard, Betts, Garlett, Henderson and Yarran all managing two behinds.
ANALYSIS: Poor conversion in front of goal was, in the end, incredibly costly for the Blues. They missed shots when they were red hot early in the game and they squandered chances in the last stanza. Five posters points to an element of poor luck but all players know you've simply got to convert your chances. Geelong improves to 7-4 to move within sight of a potential top four spot.
Geelong: Selwood, Chapman, Stokes, Kelly, Scarlett, Motlop, Duncan
Carlton: Simpson, McLean, Walker, Duigan, Armfield
Q4 - 29.33: SIREN! Geelong hangs on by two goals against a wasteful Carlton - 2.9 in the final term! A classic 'eight-point' result: Cats snare vital win and deny Carlton a crucial victory in the process.
Q4 - 26.33: GOAL! Judd. That's a consolation major for the Blues skipper. He has battled hard in the final term but teams are finding a way to shut him down this season. He's lacking his dashing pace away from the pack too.
Here's a stat to shock you: Carlton has managed 1.8 thus far in the final term. Pretty hard to garnish a winning score in a tight match with that return. Blues really have to knuckle down in coming weeks to ensure this season doesn't simply slip from their fingers.
Q4 - 21.50: GOAL! Stokes from a free kick. It was there. Carlton dead and buried now. Nineteen-point margin the biggest lead for Geelong. Time will simply run out for the Blues.
Another posted for Carlton! Simpson clips the sticks with another shot at goal. That's five for the night. Footy gods aren't smiling on them right now. They badly need Murphy back to take the pressure off Judd.
Q4 - 14.18: GOAL! Duncan goals for Geelong. More breathing space for the Catters. Tough for Carlton now.
Q4 - 13.55: Hunt has come off second best after a superb spoil killed off a Carlton forward thrust. He's hobbling to the boundary line with a leg or groin injury.
47,632 fans crammed into Etihad tonight. A chilly day in Melbourne. Plenty of the line for two teams with 6-4 records. Finals hopes dim for the loser.
Q4 - 9.30: GOAL! Simpson for Carlton! Great kick on the run from the arc. The Blues are still alive. Margin only 10 points and there's plenty of time left. We've got the close one here.
Q4 - 4.59: GOAL! Trent West marks all too easy deep in the forward line. Looks like my 3QT prediction is looking good. I also like Nadal to win the French Open again this week, beating the Novak in the final. Get on now sports fans.
Q4 - 2.10: GOAL. Selwood from a free kick. And it was questionable. The skipper again scores with a kick around the body. Margin out to 10 points. On top of Yarran's behind, that really hurts the Blues.
Q4 - 0.25: Yarran. The super sub .... misses. Hits the post with a good effort. Crucial. That's four posters for Carlton tonight.
ANALYSIS: Momentum is with Geelong. They've got a spring in their step. Hawkins is finally getting his hands on the ball. Selwood had some damaging touches that quarter. Margin is only one kick but the Cats look more potent. Carlton requires a massive quarter - probably with big input from Judd - to take the points from here. That's my gut feeling anyway. Keen to hear your thoughts.
Q3 - 32.28: Siren! We're set for a big final quarter. Cats edging ahead.
Q3 - 28.41: Hawkins! The Big Cat finally snags a major. A solid contested mark deep in the forward line was rewarded with a major. Margin back to seven points. Both clubs have activated their subs with second ruckman Warnock and Stephenson benched for the game.
Q3 - 26.27: GOAL! Blues against the flow. Kruezer in close gets the Blues right back in the contest.
Q3 - 25.01: Miss! Hawkins should have scored a major directly in front. Big let-off for Carlton. Geelong only out by seven points late in the term.
Q3 - 22.23: GOAL! Geelong again. Motlop runs in for an easy one. Two goals in a matter of minutes. Geelong grabs the lead.
Q3 - 20:35: GOAL! Selwood for Geelong. A classic captain's goal. Great set up from half-back. Ball finished with the skipper, he calmly dodged his opponent and kicked truly. Scores level. Geelong yet to lead in this game.
Q3 - 16.53: GOAL! Gibbs with a bomb from beyond 50! Against the tide. He found space and got clear of Steve Johnson. But the real feature was the kick. Superb. Blues back out by six points
It's Carlton hanging on now. Ball is predominantly in Geelong's forward line and only some desperate defensive acts are limiting the Cats' scoring chances. Crucial couple of minutes coming up.
Q3 - 11.01: GOAL! Hunt for Geelong. Great gather from a smother. Cats are finding some zing.
Q3 - 7.44: Reply goal to Geelong. They get the centre square clearance and Bartel lets fly. Very important. Margin back to six points. Cats need more of than from Jimmy.
Q3 - 5.50: GOAL! Betts with a set shot to the Eddie Betts end! Blues out by 12 points. Four goals to the classy small forward, all at the northern end of the Docklands.
Q3 - 4.10: Miss! A shocker. Walker sprayed his kick from in close. His second behind for the term. Missed chances could cost the Blues come the final siren.
ANALYSIS: Not a brilliant game and certainly not one for the ages. Carlton did plenty right early but they dropped away with their good habits in the second term. Both their goals in that quarter came from 50-metre penalties and, save for those majors, Geelong would have edged ahead. Motlop was red-hot in the quarter but perhaps the game has failed to reach lofty standards because of the likes of Judd, Gibbs, Selwood and Bartel have been quiet. Expect some surprises in the second half. It's got that feel about it. Hawkins has done little and he shapes as the X-factor not available to the Blues.
Q2 - 29.58: Half-time siren. It's an even contest now. Cats have worked their way back into the game. Kelly impressive throughout the half.
Pace has gone out of this game late in the half. Blues have seemingly slowed play down to regain the ascendancy. Small forwards dominant at the Lockett end however. Motlop three goals this quarter after Betts did the same in the opener.
Q2 - 24.10: GOAL! Motlop again. Set shot this time. Just six points the difference. Motlop's third for the term.
Stats are remarkably even. Carlton with five more inside 50s but five less tackles. The interchange area is more like Bourke St at 5pm. Constant rotations.
Q2 - 19.25: GOAL! Armfield for the Blues. Another 50m penalty results in a goal. Twice in six minutes. Gee, that's costly for Geelong as they try to stay in touch. Blues by 12 points.
Q2 - 14.25: GOAL! Collins for Carlton after a 50-metre penalty after the man-of-the-moment Motlop. The Cat encroached over the mark close to the centre square and was punished. Moments like those make coaches cranky. Extremely.
Q2 - 11.40: GOAL! Motlop again. Margin cut to just one point thanks to a bomb from Motlop beyond 50. The tide is turning in this game. Ebbing and flowing as they say.
This game certainly not yet reaching the heights of seven days ago when the Saints and Tigers offered up a hold-on-for-your-life contest with frenetic end-to-end scoring. Still entertaining nonetheless.
Q2 - 8.25: GOAL! Motlop set shot. But he used the screw kick off one step. His preparation was like a league player getting ready to convert a try. It's something you see more regularly in footy now. Non-existent five years ago. Cats hanging on.
Q2 - 4.20: Cats are fascinating to watch this year. Seeing more fumbles this season than you would have witnessed for a long time. Moments ago Enright uncharacteriscally dropped the ball under pressure deep in defence. Strange for such a normally composed player.
ANALYSIS: Impressive quarter by the Blues. Betts on fire and Gibbs doing a great job versus Johnson. Carlton stuck to the basics but backed their strengths. Hard running and strong tackling was evident throughout.
Q1 - 31.10: Siren! A frustrated Steve Johnson fails to mark just before the siren and takes his opponent to the ground. A mini melee ensures. Umpires come from everywhere.
Q1 - 28.40: GOAL! Betts again. A sizzling effort in traffic but he managed to snap truly. His third for the term.
Q1 - 26.45: GOAL! Chapman after a string on handballs. Critical goal for Geelong. The margin is cut to just seven points with not long to go in the first quarter.
Carlton on top and Judd's had one possession with about 20 teammates ahead of him. For the Catters, Selwood and Bartel have been very quiet. Remarkable stuff.
Q1 - 17.04: Blues are backing their pace. On almost every occasion they are going straight for the corridor and looking to exploit the Catters. Carlton by 15 points.
Henderson hits the post for Carlton! That's two misses after three straight goals. Geelong could have been on toast had they kicked straight. McLean good early, getting plenty of touches in conditions that are not his optimum
Q1 - 8.05: GOAL! Betts again! Carlton's livewires are 'up and about'. Betts pounced on a loose ball in the goal square and gave the visitors a two-goal break. A great start by the bluebaggers.
Plenty of activity on the interchange. Geelong moving players like chess pieces. Kevin Bartlett would be shaking his head at home. For those who missed it during the week - KB thinks clubs should be limited to eight 'subs' during an entire game!
Q1 - 4.05: GOAL! Here we go. Tuohy on the run for Carlton! What a moment for the Irishman. Fans haven't end had a chance to find their seats and three goals have been scored.
Q1 - 2.15: GOAL! An exciting start. Betts goals for the Blues at the other end. Fast-paced footy and a fast-paced venue.
Q1 - 0.55: GOAL! Early strike by the Cats. Steve Johnson the playmaker but Duncan was on the end of his pass and he converted an easy set shot chance.
7.48pm: Wojo back for his first game for Geelong this year .... it happens to be his 200th! Well done to a good consistent player who is good to watch.
7.40pm: It's simply a crunch match for the Blues. A quick glance at the fixture can see you reach the conclusion that Carlton may lose their next four matches. That spells big trouble. Really interesting that they've picked Yarran as their sub. He's such a damaging player at his best.
7.25pm: Some fascinating stats to ponder as we countdown to the first bounce. The Blues have only beaten the Cats three times in their past 12 encounters with none of those wins coming at the Docklands .... a bit of a graveyard for the bluebaggers.
7.12pm: Carlton will play as named. Yarran is the sub with McLean, Bootsma and Armfield to start the game on the pine.
7.01pm: One late change for tonight's match. Podsiadly is out for Geelong, replaced by Stringer. The Cats will start with Guthrie, Kelly and Mackie on the bench and Stringer is the substitute.