The downhill slide continued for Carlton on Friday night as they suffered defeat at the hands of Geelong, 14.13(97)-11.19(85). The Blues, and especially coach Brett Ratten, have been under the pump in recent weeks as they fall further down the ladder. Expect the pressure to intensify now after they let a dominant first quarter and a half-time lead slip away to the reigning premiers.
Joel Selwood starred for the Cats, racking up 29 disposals and kicking two goals. Geelong also received great games from the likes of Chapman, Duncan and Bartel. Kade Simpson (31 possessions) was the only real standout for Carlton as Chris Judd struggled again to make an impact for much of the game.
Carlton started off strong and were dominant throughout the first quarter. Eddie Betts kicked three goals in the term as the Blues raced out to a 28-14 quarter-time lead. Duncan and Betts traded goals in the game’s opening minute and a half before Tuohy added another a minute later. Betts soccered through his second but the Blues missed plenty of opportunities; Garlett, Henderson and Judd being the culprits. Eddie Betts would atone for their misses, his third goal was fantastic. Spinning and dodging opponents, he created just enough space to fling the ball onto his boot and score. Both teams went 15 minutes without a major but Geelong, though being thoroughly outplayed for much of the quarter, used some tackling pressure to gain control of the footy and kick a late goal via Chapman.
Motlop kicked all three of Geelong’s second quarter goals and helped bring them within five at the half. The Blues were able to maintain their lead due to some undisciplined Geelong effort. They gave away two 50 meter penalties in the quarter and both resulted in goals; one to Collins and the other to Armfield.
The Cats stole the game in the third, kicking five goals to three, and took a lead that would propel them to victory. Walker hurt the Blues early by missing two poor shots on goal, but Betts managed the quarter’s first after being rewarded for a high tackle. Bartel provided the instant response for Geelong, running wide after the bounce and receiving from Kelly to kick a long goal that was shepherded in by Chapman. Taylor Hunt gathered the remains of a sloppy kick smothered and booted through a second before Gibbs stopped the bleeding by banging home a long distance effort. Selwood and Motlop kicked two quick goals but Kreuzer was able to undo some of the damage by roving an unmarked ball from a large contest and stealing a late goal.
The Blues could only manage two goals in the fourth, Judd’s came too late to matter and Geelong took the lead. Selwood and West delivered knockout blows before Stokes and Duncan hammered the nails into the coffin.
Geelong have now won three in a row and have proven that they will be a dangerous sidecome finals time if they can be at full strength. Carlton will likely have fallen out of the eight by the conclusion of the round and it doesn’t look to get any easier with West Coast, Hawthorn and Collingwood waiting for them over the next month.