Author Topic: Media articles and stats: Tigers fall to Blues in round-one defeat  (Read 1267 times)

Offline one-eyed

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Tigers fall to round-one defeat
By Jason Phelan 9:45 PM Thu 25 March, 2010

Richmond  4.2   7.6    9.8    9.10 (64)
Carlton     7.1  11.1  14.7  18.12 (120)

Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Morton 2, Deledio, Thomson, Hislop, Nason, Cousins
Carlton: O'hAilpin 3, Betts 3, Yarran 3, Murphy 2, Waite 2, Gibbs 2, McLean, Henderson, Simpson

Richmond: Deledio, Cotchin, Connors, Jackson, Riewoldt, Martin
Carlton: Carrazzo, Betts, Gibbs, Murphy, Kreuzer, Simpson, Yarran, Bower, Scotland

Richmond: Jackson (concussion)
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, H. Ryan, S. Ryan

Official crowd: 72,010 at the MCG


RICHMOND has suffered a heavy loss in its opening match of the 2010 campaign, going down to Carlton by 56 points at the MCG on Thursday night.

Questions about the Blues' ability to kick a winning score in the post-Fevola era were answered emphatically, with nine players getting on the score sheet in the 18.12 (120) to 9.10 (64) win in front of 72,010 fans.

Setanta O'hAilpin, Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran found plenty of extra space to work in and capitalised with three goals each.

With skipper Chris Judd watching from the stands, Carlton's engine room didn't miss a beat.

Stand-in captain Andrew Carrazzo led the way with 40 possessions, while Heath Scotland (32 touches), Kade Simpson (28) and Brock McLean (26) were all prominent.

The Tigers simply couldn't get their hands on the ball for long stretches of the contest as evidenced by the lopsided possession count that saw Carlton gather 137 more disposals in the match.

Jarrad Waite was prominent early in his first match back from a knee reconstruction. The star swingman started up forward and booted the first goal of the game in an impressive first quarter.

Richmond had three debutants on the night and all were serviceable with Dustin Martin the pick with of the bunch picking up 18 possessions in his first game.

A repeat of last year's season-opening massacre was on the cards when the dominant Blues leaped out to an early 28-point lead.

The Tigers hit back, however, and gave themselves a chance with a stronger showing in the second term to cut Carlton's half-time lead to just 19 points.

But that was as close as Richmond came with the Blues coming to dominate the second half, kicking four goals to nil in the final term to kick 2010 off in emphatic fashion.

Offline one-eyed

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Blues kickstart season with a bang (Herald-Sun)
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2010, 11:44:55 PM »
Blues kickstart season with a bang

    * Bruce Matthews
    * From: Herald Sun
    * March 25, 2010 8:56PM

NO Brendan Fevola. Carlton quickly solved that problem with five individual goalkickers in the first 13 minutes and a spread of seven even by quarter time.

No Chris Judd. The Blues didn't have to worry about that one either with stand-in skipper Andrew Carrazzo racking up a staggering 40 possessions.

So much for Carlton's summer of uncertainty as it emphatically answered all the queries to bury Richmond by 56 points after controlling the AFL season-opener at the MCG.

A measure of the potency from sharing the scoring is that only seven times did the Blues kick seven goals or more in 92 quarters last season.

While the Fev-less forward set-up is still a work-in-progress and yet to be tested against a quality defence, Blues coach Brett Ratten's breakfast this morning would've tasted sweet after the admirable goalsharing and unpredictability up forward.

Tall target Jarrad Waite booted the opening goal and the first of the second half, fellow power forward Setanta O'hailpin bagged three and only inaccuracy from set shots prevented him doubling that tally and new boy Lachie Henderson presented a third option.

Throw in another six goals from Eddie Betts' explosive pace and Chris Yarran's improved defensive pressure and the Blues mix of strength in the air and speed at ground level was too much for the inexperienced Tigers.

It was a fine start for Carlton's off-season recruiting decisions with former Demon midfielder Brock McLean running up an impressive 26 disposals with his hard in-and-under work and link-up handball so often setting free one of the Blues rebound specialists like Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson.

And ruckman Robbie Warnock's long-awaited debut was a similarly outstanding success, more than holding his own in the ruck contests and winning praise with several second-effort smothers.

Warnock's ability to at least match Tiger counterpart Troy Simmonds often allowed Carlton to spell Matthew Kreuzer up forward where he was dangerous with his amazing agility for a player of his size and bulk.

Kreuzer and Carrazzo were the absolute standouts in a victory that was almost assured once the Blues piled on those five unanswered goals at the start.

Carrazzo celebrated his 100th game in fine style, running no less than seven opponents into the turf.

And those unfortunate seven touched the ball a sorry total of only 12 times while striving to keep up with the deputising Carlton captain's Judd-like performance.

Only lapses of concentration and effort by Carlton late in the first two quarters allowed Richmond to stay in the contest, at least on the scoreboard.

Significantly, Blues defender Michael Jamison was getting treatment in the rooms before and during quarter-time.

And uncharacteristic turnovers gifted goals to Tigers Adam Thomson, Jack Riewoldt and Mitch Morton just before half-time.

Morton's goal from a free after the siren sent Richmond into the long break feeling good about their chances of whittling down the 19 points deficit in the second half.

But the Tigers scrounged only two more goals from Ben Cousins and first-gamer Ben Nason as the feed through the midfield dried up.

Brett Deledio, who had been damaging early, was shut down by Bryce Gibbs while Jamison and Paul Bower ensured Richmond targets Riewoldt and Morton rarely had a chance to impact on the scoreboard.

Richmond at least kept fighting to the final siren. But little went right when basic skill errors were exposed under the floodlights.

Ben Cousins and Tom Hislop were even involved in a costly interchange infringement early in the third quarter when the ball was deep in the Tigers' forward line.

And the game was well and truly up when they were reduced to two fit men on the interchange bench after Daniel Jackson was concussed and Richard Tambling severely cramped midway through the last term.

Carlton: J Waite E Betts M Kreuzer M Murphy H Scotland B Thornton A Carrazzo S O'hAilpin.
Richmond: D Jackson B Nason J Riewoldt B Cousins B Deledio T Simmonds.


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Re: Blues kickstart season with a bang (Herald-Sun)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 12:44:31 AM »
Blues kickstart season with a bang

    * Bruce Matthews
    * From: Herald Sun
    * March 25, 2010 8:56PM

NO Brendan Fevola. Carlton quickly solved that problem with five individual goalkickers in the first 13 minutes and a spread of seven even by quarter time.

Carlton: J Waite E Betts M Kreuzer M Murphy H Scotland B Thornton A Carrazzo S O'hAilpin.
Richmond: D Jackson B Nason J Riewoldt B Cousins B Deledio T Simmonds.

wtf troy simmonds in our best stuff off

Offline one-eyed

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Stats: Tigers vs Blues
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010, 05:47:59 AM »
Team Stats

       Disp EFF%  K    H    G   B CM UM  T  CL  C  FF FA  CP   UP  I50  A
Rich  295   67   166  129  9 10   7   59 59 33 46 23 18 119 170  45  10
Carl  432   78    245 187 18 12 13 123 78 34 53 18 23 129 302  57  17
Individual Stats

player          Disp EFF% K H G B CM UM T CL C

19 Connors, D    24 67 14 10 0 0 0 3 1 2 4
23 Jackson, D    23 61 11 12 0 0 1 1 5 5 4
3 Deledio, B      21 76 12   9 1 0 0 5 6 3 4 
9 Cotchin, T      19 68  11  8 0 0 1 5 1 3 3 
32 Cousins, B    19 58 13   6 1 0 0 1 1 2 3 
36 Martin, D      18 89   5 13 0 0 0 4 3 3 1 
10 Edwards, S   17 76   7 10 0 0 0 2 2 4 2 
31 Thomson, A  14 50   9   5 1 1 0 3 5 4 0 
16 McGuane, L  13 77   6   7 0 0 1 3 4 1 2 
26 Nahas, R     13 54   7   6 0 0 0 2 4 1 0 
8 Riewoldt, J    12 50  11  1 2 2 1 4 3 0 2 
30 Tambling, R 12 75   7   5 0 1 1 2 9 2 1
15 Farmer, M    11 91   8   3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 
27 Hislop, T     11 82   4   7 1 0 0 3 4 1 4 
17 Newman, C  11 55   7   4 0 1 0 2 1 0 4 
40 Moore, K      10 80   6   4 0 0 0 3 2 0 2 
47 Nason, B      10 50  7   3 1 0 1 3 1 0 2
5 Simmonds, T    9 44  3   6 0 0 0 2 0 2 3
2 Thursfield, W   9 89  4   5 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 
20 Morton, M      7 57  6   1 2 2 0 3 2 0 0 
50 Roberts, R     7 43  7   0 0 1 1 4 1 0 3 
29 Vickery, T      5 60  1   4 0 0 0 1 2 0 1

player         FF FA CP UP I50 A     
19 Connors, D   2 0   8 15 2 3       
23 Jackson, D    2 0 11 10 8 0       
3 Deledio, B      1 2   7 14 4 0       
9 Cotchin, T      0 2   8 10 2 2       
32 Cousins, B   1 0   9 10 1 2       
36 Martin, D     0 1   6 12 2 0       
10 Edwards, S   1 0   7 10 1 1     
31 Thomson, A  4 0   7   6 5 1       
16 McGuane, L  1 0   6   7 0 0       
26 Nahas, R     1 0   7   5 3 0       
8 Riewoldt, J    1 2   6   6 6 0       
30 Tambling, R 2 1   8   4 0 1       
15 Farmer, M    0 0   2   7 0 0       
27 Hislop, T     1 3   6   6 0 0       
17 Newman, C  0 1   1   7 1 0     
40 Moore, K     1 1   2   9 1 0       
47 Nason, B     0 0   3   7 3 0       
5 Simmonds, T  1 2  5   4 2 0     
2 Thursfield, W 1 0  3   7 0 0       
20 Morton, M    1 0  2   5 2 0     
50 Roberts, R   0 1  1   6 2 0     
29 Vickery, T    2 1  4   3 0 0

Offline one-eyed

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Welcome to the Tiger circus, Damien Hardwick (Herald-Sun)
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2010, 05:52:57 AM »
Welcome to the Tiger circus, Damien Hardwick

  * Mark Robinson
    * Herald Sun
  * March 26, 2010

AS COACH Damien Hardwick predicted, we'll see a bit of everything when the young Tigers play.
Some slick, mostly sloppy, a bit of joy, a lot of pain.

Playing four debutants, Richmond was inconsistent, exasperating, sometimes exciting and sometimes plain old funny.

They lack talls in the forward line, depth on the flanks and couldn't keep it in their forward line even if someone held a gun to their heads.

New game styles were swapped for good old-fashioned manning up, and back again, and at times the game was a circus.

The Tigers tried hard but by the start of the last quarter they were out on their feet as the Blues went through training drills.

Richmond lost by 10 goals, having kicked just two after halftime and none in the last quarter.

That the Tigers lost wasn't surprising, but at least they didn't lose like Round 1 last year, white flag in one hand, and embarrassment in the other.

They did not lose last night through their lack of fight, but because they are not good enough.

The tackling count wasn't in their favour (59-78) and the contested ball was won by Carlton by 10 (129-119).

The Tigers are so raw and so under-prepared for the might of the rest of the competition (except Melbourne and perhaps Fremantle), that they might not win a game this season.

Hardwick will play youngsters - he left Shane Tuck and Jordan McMahon out last night - and the youngsters don't have the body, the mental strength, the game savvy, the fitness or skill to match it with most teams.

Some of the players are more than capable. It wasn't a great night for skipper Chris Newman, with just 11 touches. He might have kept Mitch Robinson quiet, but more run and carry was needed.

Troy Simmonds has tried his guts out for the Tigers, but Blue Matthew Kreuzer showed how an athletic ruckman can have an impact, and Tyrone Vickery isn't ready yet to take that position.

Brett Deledio was pretty good in the first half and OK in the second, but had Bryce Gibbs with him most of the contest. Give that contest even; perhaps Gibbs in front.

Robin Nahas was a non-factor, beaten by "The Glove" Aaron Joseph, while his two tall forward teammates, Mitch Morton and Jack Riewoldt, didn't have much influence despite finishing with four goals between them.

Dare we say it, Richard Tambling was quiet, despite his SuperCoach score.

At halftime, Champion Data credited him with just two kicks and his opponents 21. In the manic way football is played in the middle and half-forward, that is somehow explainable, but two kicks in half from a 95-gamer is difficult to sell.

A game-high nine tackles helped his cause, but you still want to see him running and carrying and setting up play - plus the tackles.

The Tigers defence couldn't contain Eddie Betts, who was the go-to man for the Blues. Carlton got three each from Betts, Setanta O'hAilpin, Chris Yarran, two from Jarrad Waite, Gibbs and Marc Murphy.

Some goals came too easily, which was sometimes the fault of the Tigers midfield allowing easy ball, and some came because they weren't good enough to stop them.

The Tigers would be delighted with Ben Nason's third quarter and desire to compete, although an effort in the third quarter - he had his kick smothered, and got it back, and then kicked it out on the full - will not make his highlight reel.

At least he fought to win the ball back.

Debutant Relton Roberts needs a bigger tank but has tricks, while defender Mitch Farmer was solid. Dustin Martin, the highly prized No. 3 draft pick, got better as the game progressed, and with 18 touches in his first game, was more than serviceable.

The midfield is all about Hardwick's game plan and Tigers allowed too much easy ball. Andrew Carrazzo can be a magnet, but 40 touches is over the top, while Heath Scotland was next with 32.

They probably aren't in Carlton's best four midfielders (Judd, Murphy, Gibbs, Kade Simpson), but they ran rampant.

Ben Cousins worked hard but seemed slower than last year - or the game is quicker - and only occasionally did the Tigers group connect to go bang, bang, bang, goal.

Offline one-eyed

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New year, same sorry Tiger tune (Age)
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 06:15:13 AM »
New year, same sorry Tiger tune
March 26, 2010


THERE couldn't have been a Richmond supporter who didn't feel a profound sense of deja vu after just 13 minutes of last night's MCG season opener.

All that was missing this time was the outrageously optimistic pre-season expectation of the Tiger faithful. That aside, the start of this game might have been a carbon copy of Carlton's round one walloping of Richmond last year, the Blues running amok, Jarrad Waite on fire, the goals mounting up at alarming speed.

There were five of them after barely 10 minutes, Waite booting the first and looking in great nick in his comeback from a knee reconstruction, debutants in the navy blue Lachie Henderson and Brock McLean both chiming in, Marc Murphy and Setanta O'hAilpin also joining the party.

By then, Richmond's tally was one lousy rushed behind. The Tigers weren't even butchering the ball. They simply couldn't get their hands on it, a whole team with just 18 possessions between them after more than 10 minutes of play. The looks on the faces of the Tiger army at the same stage last year had been of stunned disbelief. This was more like muted resignation.

The good news for Richmond was that this ended up being far less of a humiliation than last season's round one 83-point pummelling. If Damien Hardwick's mission as the Tigers' new coach is destined to be a long, difficult haul, he appears to at least already have instilled a little more resilience in the line-up.

The Tigers didn't drop their heads after going five goals down. They did, however, appear to at least give up on some zoning patterns and revert to good ol' one-on-one football, which had the immediate effect of preventing the Blues slicing through their defences like butter.

Indeed, the Tigers did a bit of buttering up themselves, toughing it out and managing to kick four of the next five goals. It was a pattern repeated in the second quarter when Carlton booted the first four, the last of that quartet coming after Richmond had squandered five scoring chances in succession. Again that could have been the cue for heads to drop. Again the Tigers responded with a bit of pluck, kicking the next three to pull the deficit back to 19 points at half-time.

You never had the sense that there was an upset in the making, but you could at least rest assured there wouldn't be any tearing up of Richmond membership tickets just yet.

Perhaps, in time, Richmond won't even consider last night's initial foray into season 2010 too bad a loss. Because its opponent played some seriously good football when it counted, even without its captain, heartbeat and barometer Chris Judd.

All that hand-wringing about just how Carlton would replace a 90-odd goal-a-year spearhead in Brendan Fevola seemed pretty wide of the mark early on, particularly during the seven-goal first term. Henderson and O'hAilpin both looked genuinely threatening key targets, the latter ending up with 3.2, and while still looking pretty rough around the edges at times, the Irishman's brief emergence for a time last season as a key forward appears to have been a learning process expedited over summer.

Eddie Betts was irrepressible with not only the capacity to pounce on the crumbs, but exert some fierce defensive pressure. And last night, he had plenty of support on that front from Chris Yarran, whose three goals and general liveliness said very loudly that here was a player ready to make a significant mark this season.

Eighteen goals for the evening wasn't necessarily a cricket score, yet the Blues converted what came their way efficiently enough to suggest they can hold their own with higher-scoring teams.

Andrew Carrazzo, acting skipper in the absence of Judd, won't play too many better games than he did, 40 disposals and no fewer than 25 handball receives testament to the amount of hard running he was prepared to do. Heath Scotland and Kade Simpson were busy, Ryan Houlihan similarly, but perhaps the biggest smiles in the Carlton coach's box might have been reserved for the efforts of McLean.

If it was grunt the Blues were looking for with this bloke, they got no end of it, the former Demon finishing with 26 hard-won disposals, five clearances and four tackles. Carlton finished up with 78. That's not the sort of figure you would necessarily have associated with the Blues in seasons past.

They should be smiling, too, about the health of their ruck stocks. A chronic weakness for Carlton looked anything but last night, Matthew Kreuzer and Robert Warnock a terrific tandem, not only with their dominance in the tap outs, but Warnock's prowess allowed the Blues to throw the dangerous Kreuzer forward for longer spells. Like the No. 1 draftee, Warnock, too showed his agility for a bloke of 206 centimetres, two tremendous smothers in the third term as good an example as any.

Not that Richmond couldn't enthuse about its new blood. Dustin Martin had a pretty solid debut in trying circumstances, winning some hard balls just when his team looked like it was headed for a right belting. The spectacularly coiffured Ben Nason got better the longer the game went, his third quarter, in particular, cause for optimism.

Mitch Farmer had his moments, too, but already you can sense the emergence of another in a long line of Richmond cult figures in the other Tiger debutant, Relton Roberts.

Only Tyrone Vickery had fewer touches for Richmond last night, but even Ben Cousins (remember him?) couldn't elicit the same sort of roar produced whenever Roberts got near it, one opening-term dash along the wing when things were at their bleakest leading to the sort of guttural bellow that said: ''We can't take any more of this.''

The trick now for both he and his team is to turn those little cameos and bursts of decent football into something of far more substance.

Richmond fans know that's going to take plenty of time and that it's going to be a long season. But while 56 points is a sizeable enough defeat, at least the Tigers, unlike a year ago, could go home last night without all semblance of hope already having been extinguished.

Carlton: Betts, Carrazzo, Murphy, Kruezer, Waite, Yarran, McLean, Warnock.
Richmond: Deledio, Riewoldt, Jackson, Cousins, Connors.

Offline one-eyed

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Groundhog Game the straw to break Tigers' back (SMH)
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2010, 06:20:52 AM »
Groundhog Game the straw to break Tigers' back
Michael Epis
March 26, 2010

I fear for Richmond. A ritualistic humiliation on the big stage at the hands  of their traditional foe to open every season is nothing short of abuse. After a sustained three decades of ineptitude, this might just be the straw to break the camel's back. The thing about Groundhog Day is that nobody enjoys it.

Yep, all the hallmarks of recent Richmond were cruelly visible last night - deficient kicking, sloppy handball, poor decision-making, random movement and physical inferiority. It was like the Tigers of old. Within 15 minutes the fans were rabid - and resigned to it all. Richmond have been a bunch of unskilled unco skinny white kids (with the odd exception) for a very long time now.

The Tigers wore black armbands in memory of Jack Malcolmson, the author of their stirring theme song, who penned it  at the club's request in 1962, the year Graeme Richmond became club secretary - and Malcolmson then sang it to the players before their round one match. Any bets on when the Tigers will next get to sing it?

But I suspect the Tigers are lucky to have Damien Hardwick - he always seemed a solid citizen, serious but with a sense of humour. He's going to need it.  He was already shaking his head in the box by game's end. He also made stand-out use of the phrase ''going forward'', managing to slip one in before the game even started.

In Kevin Bartlett's end years the Tigers played the worst football of their era. That feat was repeated under Danny Frawley. Then once more under Terry Wallace - to the point that even Joel Bowden lost the ability to kick a football.  Hardwick won't stand for that sort of nonsense, nor will Justin Leppitsch, their defence coach, who could hardly believe some of the things his defenders did. Hardwick isn't going to get much cream out of the draft over the next few years, but let's face it - doing so in recent years hasn't done Richmond much good.

There were so many mistakes by the Tigers that it's unfair to nominate any one as supreme - and perhaps none rivalled the error made by the bloke from Channel 10 who sent the program to the newspapers. They all said Ten's coverage started at 7pm, which was out by a good half hour. Lucky we didn't all  watch that dancing show eh?

But one thing for Ten - they seem to have changed their miking of the crowd. For years now they have had only one effects mike, which had very little range and was situated just next to a screaming 12-year-old girl and her little sister. Thanks goodness that's over. And haven't Ten shown extraordinary loyalty to Stephen Quartermain - they must really be hoping for a big season from him to pay them back. Go Quarters.

Btw, wasn't the MCG looking a picture. What marvellous Melbourne madness, to get 72,000 people to leave their homes mid-week and come out on a beautiful Indian summer eve to watch a winter game played by two teams that won't figure this season. Now that Groundhog Game is over - let the real season begin.

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Carlton answers Brendan Fevola question in mauling Tigers (Australian)
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2010, 06:26:26 AM »
Carlton answers Brendan Fevola question in mauling Tigers
Stephen Rielly
The Australian
March 26, 2010

Especially so when one of the teams involved in a season-opener will do well to escape from the bottom of the ladder over the next five months.

And yet Carlton's 56-point win over Richmond at the MCG last night might just have answered the second-most-asked question of the summer: who will kick goals for Carlton post-Brendan Fevola? (The first and most tedious enquiry, of course, concerns Gary Ablett's future.)

If the Blues are certain to meet sterner opposition, they will do well to share the ball up forward as frequently and comfortably as they did last night, especially in the first half.

All summer coach Brett Ratten and his staff have had only one answer to the queries and occasional criticisms of their decision to pack Fevola off to Brisbane. They did not know, they would say, how the goals Fev once kicked in such abundance for them would be found, only that Carlton would be a far less predictable scoring team.

That much was plain inside the first term last night, amid a blitz of an opening from the Blues which established a lead that was never surrendered.

Carlton had six different goal-kickers inside the first 20 minutes of the match and seven for the quarter, with three of the first four coming from its tall targets, Jarrad Waite, Lachie Henderson and Setanta O'hAilpin.

By the evening's end, a decisively accurate kicking performance from the Blues involved nine goal-kickers, including multiples from Waite (2), O'hAilpin (3), Eddie Betts (3), Bryce Gibbs (2), Marc Murphy and Chris Yarran (3).

With Fevola gone, Murphy and Waite underdone after interrupted pre-seasons, captain Chris Judd suspended and Nick Stevens in retirement, the match began with just a hint of doubt about Carlton's preparedness to face even Richmond. There was also the thought that although the Tigers are young and at the very beginning of a reconstruction under Damien Hardwick that no one doubts will take years, their enthusiasm for the new season and Hardwick's sober, direct message could count for something.

As it happened this much was true. The Tigers were not without endeavour and certainly could not be accused of lying down as they did in the corresponding fixture last year, but the critical first 15 minutes of the opening term were played almost exclusively in Carlton's forward half.

At the mid-point of the quarter, the Blues had amassed 60 possessions to Richmond's 25 and led by almost five goals. And here the seeds of the result were sown.

Briefly, once Tom Hislop got things started for the Tigers with a left-foot snap as the 15-minute mark neared, Richmond rallied. The Tigers banged on another three goals in the next 11 minutes, a run only checked by a late goal from Betts.

The better of it was certainly Carlton's, though. The 17-point quarter-time lead the Blues held was nothing less than they deserved, and due reward for the work of Murphy, Matthew Kreuzer, Waite, Kade Simpson and the typically industrious Andrew Carrazzo, in particular.

In Judd's absence, Carrazzo led the Blues out last night and didn't stop leading. His possessions don't always possess the threat that Murphy's do, for example, but by sheer weight of numbers he was enormously influential. He had 13 touches in the first term and was by far the leading possession winner on the ground at half-time, with 25. He finished with 40.

Murphy understandably faded but as he did Carlton's running half-backs, Heath Scotland, Ryan Houlihan and Jordan Russell, picked up the momentum and ran with it.

The Tigers battled, despite the magnitude of the defeat, and could argue that when Carlton couldn't miss - they had 11.1 at the half - they didn't kick well enough to do justice to their general play. It will disappoint them, though, that on a night when they gave first games to four players and got reasonable debuts from them, not much more was witnessed from the second-tier players Hardwick has said will keep the team competitive or not.

Mitch Morton kicked two goals but had just seven possessions while his opponent for much of the night, Paul Bower, had 25. The Tiger has a nose for a goal but didn't offer enough in any other way. Richard Tambling was disappointing, with just two first-half possessions and Hislop was barely sighted after his goal in the opening term.

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Opening observations (SMH)
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2010, 04:25:57 PM »
Opening observations
March 26, 2010 - 1:49PM

It's lonely at the front

Named second last in the best players for Richmond, key forward Jack Riewoldt surely got a pat on the back from coach Damien Hardwick. He got poor service all night, took a couple of superb contested marks, and his work ethic and second efforts to trap the ball in the Tiger front half were superb. Playing in the Richmond forward line is a thankless task, with haphazard delivery and long minutes without any opportunity at all. I would argue that Jack's 12 possession, five-mark, three-tackle, two-goal effort was much more significant contribution than that of young midfielders Trent Cotchin (19 possessions) and Dustin Martin (18 possessions), who were named as better players than the ginger-headed spearhead. Of Richmond's midfield, only Jackson had more influence than his opponents, and getting 15-20 disposals is almost impossible to avoid in the middle of the action. I would be very surprised if Riewoldt didn't score better than his midfield buddies in club assessments of this encounter.

Potential stars v current troopers

Sometimes when you preview a match, it is impossible to escape the lure of a team looking good 'on paper'. Cotchin, Cousins, Martin reads well. But once the real thing starts, you are reminded how much of a team game Aussie Rules is, and how many solid, experienced players it takes to become a good player. Cousins is a veteran struggling with fitness issues, nowhere near his ubiquitous best. Cotchin is a great player of the future who has not yet been free of injury long enough to get a decent fitness base. Martin is a high draft pick with class who will get a little bit of the ball, but needs more fitness and game time at the level to have a real influence. Compare those 'names' with the match-winners last night - Carlton's Carazzo (40 possessions), Kade Simpson (32 disposals), Ryan Houlihan (26 touches). There were many more, and they represent years, and hundreds of game of development. There are no short-cuts in such a competitive caper, even for highly-talented prospects.

The switch

Carlton flagged its intention to use a new gameplan, more patient and possession-based, in order to tighten up defensively. Fantasy footy participants should have taken notice and loaded up with Blues players, for the first results of this experiment indicate they will rack up some massive numbers this year. Carlton had 114 more disposals than Richmond, despite ebbing level in contested ball won and clearances for much of the game. The revealing statistic was uncontested possessions - Carlton 280, Richmond 163. The Blues spent quite a lot of time booting the ball back and forth across half-back, and on more than one occasion, this tactic led them into ever decreasing circles, backfiring completely. In also appeared to let Richmond back in the game in the first half, after the brilliant ball movement of the 'old-style Blues midfield had set up good leads. While the switch of play worked to free up teammates a couple of times, and controlled the tempo of the game, it also stopped Carlton's own flow and eased the pressure on the Tigers. Against a more organised, defensively experienced outfit, like St Kilda, using the switch so extensively could provide some white-knuckle moments for Blues fans.

New boys


Small forward/midfielder Ben Nason (10 possessions), was erratic, but kicked a nice goal later, and remained tenacious throughout without exerting much influence.

Midfielder Dustin Martin showed off some of his vision in close but had no real influence despite winning 18 touches. He remains a long-term prospect despite being a national draft pick number three, and will now know just how hard and constant he gut-busting running is at AFL level. Look for him to be a bigger factor against less-seasoned midfields at this stage.

Everything exciting half-forward Relton Roberts did was exciting, and full of imagination, but with only seven touches, he just didn't do enough.

Mitch Farmer was competent, but inconspicuous on a half-back flank, and needs to get hold of the ball more, and provide more linkman drive, to give the Tigers the rebound such a position demands in modern footy.

We were wrong - the perils of (not) punting

Did we really predict Carlton to win by only 15 points, in a tight, dour struggle? Perhaps that was meant to read 51 points, in an open, flowing shootout'. As the Carlton players broke through the banner before a huge MCG crowd, we had a moment of clarity, and said to off-sider: "I wish I had backed Carlton to win by ten goals". How was a Richmond team made up of battlers and new boys going to compete with Carlton's seasoned professionals. Unfortunately, we had not left enough time and money for the necessary transactions. Ten minutes in, with the Blues rampant, the off-sider was smirking. With ten seconds left, after Setanta O'hAilpin lining up for goal directly in front and Carlton leading by 55 points, the off-sider was looking across with a mixture of pity and admonishment. Setanta's miss saved made us wrong twice, and saved us some money, but it felt like a loss!


Without any major notification, the MCC has introduced an extendable tunnel to cover the player's race as the combatants enter the arena. No more will players high-five kids as they leave the ground. It is the kind of technology usually seen in riot-prone soccer nations, and a rather depressing sight at the 'People's Ground'. Is it really necessary? I have not noticed anything more than happy or angry words hurled at players as they enter and leave the MCG.

Notable notes

Jarrad Waite has returned from his serious knee injury in fine fettle. Starting deep in the forward line, he took several emphatic contested marks, and covered territory more expected of a midfielder.

Richmond's ruck stocks look thin - second-year prospect Tyrone Vickery had a horror night in the ruck and the forward line, barely troubling the statisticians, whilst Troy Simmonds got his share of hitouts, but was left for dead several times by the fleet of foot Matthew Kreuzer. Undersized forward were often left to contest stoppages in the front half, and were comprehensively thrashed. Heavily built Angus Graham is the obvious alternative, and his chances of playing next week went through the roof after this disappointing performance from the Tiger big men.

On a gloomy night for the Tigers, two statistics offered some consolation, and a hint of the priorities of new coach Damien Hardwick. The Tigers won the centre clearances 33-29, and the contested possessions 117-116. Hardwick will be glad to see that his charges are hard at the ball and the man. Now to address what they do once they get the footy...

Carlton reminded us last night that it takes more than one forward to win 13 matches and make the eight. They were being honest about the virtues and necessity of a multi-pronged forward line.

Our best players:


Daniel Jackson (11 contested possessions) was tough and consistent in the idle all night. Only a shanked shot at goal marred an impressive hard running performance.

Daniel Connors was creative from half-back and got better the longer thegame went, against the trend of the Tigers.