K rock Football

Carlton takes down dismal Saints

A DEADLY accurate Carlton has produced its best performance of the AFL season to smash a dismal St Kilda by 31 points and ease some pressure on under-fire coach David Teague.

Six days after being thrashed by lowly North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, the Blues hit back at the same venue with star forward Harry McKay booting five goals to extend his lead in the Coleman Medal race.

Midfield ace Sam Walsh was just as important, booting a career-high three goals to go with his 26 possessions to set up the 18.4 (112) to 12.9 (81) result.

St Kilda fought back in the final quarter but blew an opportunity to jump inside the top-eight, and their 11th defeat of the season effectively ends their chances of playing finals.

The Blues’ eighth win of the season comes with Teague under scrutiny due to an underwhelming campaign, which has led the club to conduct an external review of its football department.

But on the same day master coach Alastair Clarkson became immediately available, Carlton showed support for Teague in the best possible way.

St Kilda started well, with key forward Max King on fire early with three first quarter goals.

But the Saints capitulated after the first break, with Carlton slamming through nine of the next 12 goals in a display of sharp-shooting to blow the lead out to as much as 50 points during the third quarter.

Adding to the Blues’ excitement was the return of injury-plagued forward Charlie Curnow, who booted a long goal during the second quarter in his first game since June 2019.

The late withdrawal of ruckman Paddy Ryder (Achilles) proved costly for St Kilda as they have struggled without the star veteran this season.

Even as Rowan Marshall and Ryder’s replacement Paul Hunter dominated the hit-outs 69-12, St Kilda’s midfielders were not willing to work hard enough and were destroyed by Walsh and captain Patrick Cripps.

Carlton’s No.1 ruckman Tom De Koning (pectoral muscle) was subbed out for veteran midfielder Marc Murphy but forward Jack Silvagni battled manfully in the centre for the remainder of the match.

The Saints finished with injury concerns to defender Dougal Howard (hamstring) and speedster Hunter Clark (jaw).

(C) AAP 2021

CARLTON 5.1 10.1 15.2 18.4 (112)

ST KILDA 3.1 5.3 7.7 12.9 (81)

Goals: Carlton: H McKay 5 S Walsh 3 J Honey 2 T Williamson 2 C Curnow J Silvagni M Kennedy M Murphy P Cripps P Dow. St Kilda: M King 4 T Membrey 3 C Sharman 2 J Higgins R Marshall Z Jones.

Umpires: Chris Donlon, Robert Findlay, Craig Fleer.

Venue: Marvel Stadium.