Carlton 2.1 6.2 9.4 10.5 (65)
Fremantle 1.2 3.9 4.10 7.15 (57)
The fortress of Paterson’s stadium has been successfully besieged by the Blues, who fought off a last minute counter-attack by the Dockers to take home an 8-point victory.
It was a scrappy, low-scoring affair and Fremantle will be devastated at the tight loss, with terrible kicking for goal and allowing Carlton a four-goal blitz on the way to half-time the two biggest factors in the loss.
Carlton didn’t relent to the pressure that the low scores and hard contested game created, finding avenues to goal and most importantly, taking their chances when they arose.
Kade Simpson, absolutely fantastic for the Blues in the disappointing loss to Essendon, was great again with 35 possessions and a goal in a well-rounded individual performance.
Chris Judd was expertly held by Ryan Crowley, restricted to just 17 disposals, but even with Judd’s little impact and important tagger Andrew Carazzo still out with injury, the Blues were up to the task in the midfield.
Aaron Sandilands was sorely missed for the Dockers. His game-crushing form in the last few weeks couldn’t be replicated by Jonathon Griffin, but he did battle hard with 25 hit-outs and 14 disposals.
Zac Clarke had a night to forget, contributing little in the ruck. His game will mostly be remembered for being a step-ladder for an absolutely spectacular almost-mark by Andrew Walker.
On the flipside, Shaun Hampson continued his strong start to 2012 with 28 hit-outs and a goal, ably assisted by Matthew Kruezer.
The game started on a fairly even keel and the Dockers would have been well and truly in it at half-time if it wasn’t for inaccuracy.
Carlton took chances and slammed on 4.1 to 2.7 for the term. It was only an 11-point buffer for the Blues, but it mattered a whole lot more given how much Freo had controlled the contest in the second.
The game was looking all over in the third, with Carlton piling on another three goals against Fremantle’s 1.1 for the term.
Jack Anthony was the perfect example of Freo’s undisciplined play in the third. He gifted a goal to Jeffrey Garlett before spoiling two opportunities near goal, giving away a free to Nick Duigan and spraying a set-shot out on the full.
Lyon subbed him off almost instantly after his missed shot, but it didn’t help things for Fremantle.
Carlton built a 30-point lead before Fremantle suddenly awoke from their malaise and began throwing everything into attack. Fremantle were suddenly on the war-path, Nat Fyfe, Stephen Hill and Michael Barlow started to control the centre as the Dockers started to close the margin.
In the end it was too little, too late. Fremantle put on 5 behinds along with their 3 goals in their final attack, but Carlton held steady and notched up an important victory for morale in the West after a dissapointing weekend previously.
Fyfe looked to be playing through pain, but still had an impressive night. The jury is out as to whether he will be fully match-fit for next weekend though.
Fremantle have the talent but some severe kicking issues (as well as the behind count, they also allowed 8 of Carlton’s 10 goals to come directly from turnovers) that will hamstring them against the top tier sides.
3. Kade Simpson
2. Michael Barlow
1. Ryan Crowley
Carlton: Garlett 2, Walker 2, Robinson 2, Hampson, Waite, Betts, Simpson
Fremantle: Hill, Mayne, Ballantyne, Clarke, Pavlich, Crowley, McPharlin
Carlton: Simpson, Gibbs, Hampson, Murphy, Robinson, Scotland
Fremantle: Barlow, Fyfe, Duffield, Mzungu, Crowley, Pearce, Hill