K rock Football

Blues surge past Dockers

CARLTON has belied their decimated defence to charge past Fremantle by 31 points and remain firmly in the hunt for the AFL top four.

The Blues were without a plethora of first-choice defenders and reduced to using Lewis Young and youngster Brodie Kemp in key posts.

But that mattered little as led by Sam Walsh’s midfield masterclass, Carlton outmuscled and outworked Fremantle around the ground to prevail 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) at Marvel Stadium.

Blues coach Michael Voss had stressed a focus on getting the better of the Dockers at the contest and Carlton did just that.

Walsh (40 disposals, 11 inside-50s), Patrick Cripps and George Hewett were a force around stoppages, while Adam Saad (28 touches) was excellent off half-back.

As a result, Carlton smashed second-placed Fremantle in contested possessions, clearances and inside-50s to seal one of their finest wins of the season.

Charlie Curnow fought past Griffin Logue to boot four goals while Harry McKay, Matt Cotterill and Lochie O’Brien chipped in with two majors apiece.

Will Brodie (36 disposals) and James Aish (23 touches) impressed for Fremantle while Alex Pearce put the clamps on McKay.

The Blues were forced into a late change after the warm-up with substitute Jesse Motlop replacing Matt Owies (calf) and Will Setterfield named medical sub.

Fremantle got the early jump, kicking the opening three goals, with Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb able to take advantage of the stretched Blues defence.

Carlton was on top in most parts of the game, especially around clearances but struggled to break down Fremantle’s organised defence.

McKay had two misses before snapping Carlton’s first late in the term to cut the quarter-time deficit to nine points.

After the break, Carlton seized full control and their weight of inside-50 numbers won out when Curnow earned a free-kick close to goal and put them in front.

When Jack Newnes dobbed a goal in his 200th game all his teammates rushed to him, and the Blues soon extended their half-time lead to 15 points.

After the main break, Fremantle noticeably lifted their intensity around stoppages and forward pressure.

But they had little to show for their third-quarter dominance, with the Blues instead nudging their lead out to 20.

Curnow plunged a dagger into Fremantle’s heart when he crumbed out the back to extend the lead to 26 points five minutes into the final term and the Blues held sway from there.

Carlton’s Jordan Boyd (ankle) was substituted off for Setterfield late in the game.

(C) AAP 2022