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Last time we met the Blues

Gary Stocks  August 10, 2017 1:25 PM

Last time we met the Blues West Coast held on to beat Carlton in round 17, 2016
Andrew Gaff collected 30 disposals against Carlton at the MCG

Andrew Gaff collected 30 disposals against Carlton at the MCG

This was not a game for a time capsule to be buried beneath Domain Stadium and left for 50 years for future generations to dig up and see how Australian football was played.

It was not a classic, but it was important.

West Coast went into the game desperate for a victory at the MCG, a place that has not been the most fruitful of hunting grounds, although the statistical analysis of wins and losses is unquestionably affected by the frequency of matches it plays at the AFL’s premier venue.

For most of this clash with the Blues it seemed West Coast had the game in hand, but some missed opportunities kept the door ajar and Carlton, sensing the slight opening, built some momentum in the final quarter.

After the Eagles had kicked out to a game-high 33-point lead in the third quarter, the Blues persisted, took the game on and soared back into the frame.

They kicked a string of goals, dominated the clearances and came close to snatching victory in the last few minutes.

West Coast managed to hold on, but it was not their most convincing performance of the season.

While the focus obviously fell on the Carlton surge, if the last 10 minutes were ignored, the Eagles controlled the contest for most of the day. It was built around resolute defence, a grinding midfield and an attacking structure that had opportunities to blow the game open despite not clicking into gear.

Coleman Medal pace-setter Josh Kennedy got his hands on the ball with regularity but didn’t quite clasp his marks while Jack Darling, usually a reliable set shot for goal, finished with 0.5. With those power forwards falling short of their usual impact, Jamie Cripps played a key role.

Cripps is often unrewarded for his output, but in this instance he worked hard and hit the scoreboard with three goals.

Through the midfield Luke Shuey continued his stellar season, Matt Priddis again racked up big numbers around the stoppages and Andrew Gaff accumulated 30 possessions with another quality performance.

Defensively, Jeremy McGovern was outstanding, dragging down eight marks – most of them intercepting Carlton’s forward thrusts – while Tom Barrass, Brad Sheppard and Shannon Hurn were also influential.

Sheppard was solid in his 100th game, while Mark Hutchings celebrated his 50th appearance for the club. 

Round 17

Sunday, July 17 – MCG

West Coast Eagles         2.4          5.7          10.8        12.10     (82)
Carlton                            1.2          3.3            6.5        11.9        (75)

West Coast Eagles –
Cripps 3; LeCras, Yeo, Kennedy 2; Hill, Schofield, Masten.
Carlton – Gibbs, Weitering 2; E Curnow, Silvagni, Buckley, C Curnow, Wright, Cripps, Kerridge.