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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

AFL thriller: Carlton vs. Hawthorn, Blues hold on for one point win over Hawks

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Carlton is one of only three AFL teams undefeated after three rounds but the Blues very nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

After blowing a 41-point lead early in the final quarter, Carlton has fought back late to pinch a thrilling one-point win against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday to continue their undefeated start to 2022.

The Hawks had one last roll of the dice with 43 seconds left in the game when Jaeger O’Meara hacked a kick to their 50m line, but Carlton backman Jacob Weitering was there to save the day for the Blues, backing back with the flight of the ball to take a courageous mark against the oncoming Hawthorn player.

It proved to be the matchwinning play as Carlton hung on, 11.8 (74) to 11.7 (73), and the result fittingly capped off a difficult weekend for Hawthorn who were rocked by allegations of cultural insensitivity, and even racism, from estranged Indigenous club legend Cyril Rioli during his time at Waverley Park.

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It’s the first time Carlton have started a season 3-0 in 10 years, and while they didn’t make the finals in 2012, it would be a brave punter to suggest they won’t figure in September this year, based on the way they’re travelling at the moment.

Carlton’s aerial power up forward had an early impact with big overhead marks from Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow, Patrick Cripps and Jack Silvagni, most of which were contested, all leading to goals.

If the Hawks were going to be any chance, they were going to need to at least break even in the midfield, to try and exploit Carlton’s undermanned defence which was missing Mitch McGovern, Adam Saad and Oscar McDonald.

But the Blues midfield had other ideas early, getting right on top and overwhelming Hawthorn in every facet, winning the centre clearances 7-2 in the opening term, and playing a key role in their team kicking seven majors in a row to open up a 41-point lead early in the second quarter.

And things got worse for Hawthorn’s backline when in-form Jack Scrimshaw was subbed out at quarter-time due to an injured shoulder blade.

However, the Hawks were able to halt Carlton’s momentum by evening things up around the contest and stoppages, while also burning the Blues with their transition from defence, to cut the margin back to 17 points at three-quarter time.

After being so clean in the first half, the Blues began making errors in the second half. And while the Hawks continued to make their share of skill errors too, the difference was they were taking the game on, especially Changkuoth Jiath, while the Blues appeared comfortable to sit on their lead.

Hawthorn’s defence, led brilliantly by Jiath, James Sicily, Will Day and Sam Frost, were enormous in the second half and were a huge reason why the Hawks almost pinched the win despite having 18 fewer inside 50s (46-64).

The Hawks’ attacking flair, intensity and bold ball use continued in the final quarter and, coupled with Carlton’s chronic stagnant play, Hawthorn grabbed a one-point lead after kicking six goals in a row.

Against the run of play, the tired Blues found one last burst of energy and Jack Silvagni put them back in front with a clever checkside kick from the pocket. Jack Gunston got the Hawks back within a point late, but his opposite number Weitering proved to be the hero of the day for the Blues at the death.

BLUES ON-BALLERS DO IT AGAIN

Carlton’s powerful onball division produced the goods again with Sam Walsh (32 touches), Patrick Cripps (31), Matthew Kennedy (30) and George Hewett (27) all having a big influence on the result, while Sam Docherty continued his incredible resurgence with a game-high 33 touches.

FISHER TOO UNSELFISH

Carlton could’ve probably sealed the result much earlier had Zac Fisher not opted against having a shot on goal from 35m out late in the third quarter and decided to unsuccessfully pass it to Harry McKay. Shortly after, Chad Wingard banged one home from the goal square for Hawthorn to make it an 18-point margin when it should’ve been a 30-point difference.

JIATH JUMPSTARTS HAWKS

When the chips were really down for the Hawks as they slumped to seven goals in arrears, Jiath was the instigator behind their exhilarating resurgence. He began taking the game on at all costs, and his teammates followed. It almost resulted in a memorable comeback win. The emerging star finished with 27 disposals, eight marks and 10 intercept possessions to shine brightly for his team.

BLUES 7.1, 9.5, 10.6, 11.8 (74)

HAWKS 1.3, 4.5, 7.7, 11.7 (73)

LERNER’S BEST Blues: Cripps, Walsh, Docherty, Weitering, Kennedy, Silvagni, Hewett. Hawks: Jiath, Sicily, Frost, Moore, Day, Breust.

GOALS Blues: C.Curnow 3, Silvagni 3, McKay 2, Cripps, Owies, Durdin. Hawks: Moore 2, Breust 2, Gunston 2, Lewis, Macdonald, Wingard, Mitchell, Morrison.

INJURIES Blues: Pittonet (TBC). Hawks: Scrimshaw (shoulder blade).

UMPIRES Fisher, Stevic, Heffernan

VENUE MCG

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LERNER’S VOTES

3 C.Jiath (Haw)

2 P.Cripps (Carl)

1 S.Walsh (Carl)



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