The Sydney Swans kept their top four hopes alive with a battling 2 point win against a gallant Carlton under the roof at Telstra Dome today. Sydney had to draw on all of its big game experience to prevail in a match that arguably Carlton should have won.
The Swans achieved their eleventh straight victory over the Blues through the superiority of ruck duo Darren Jolly and Peter Everitt. Eventually the Swan midfield generated enough drive to kick a winning score even though Swan champion Adam Goodes had a day he’d rather forget.
Carlton were on top early but missed a few opportunities and there is no doubt that Carlton’s 16 point half time lead flattered the visitors. The Blues were well served in the first half by Bryce Gibbs (who thrashed Goodes), Marc Murphy and Jarrod Waite and at one stage of the second quarter Carlton enjoyed a 29 point lead. During the last few minutes of the second term the match swung Sydney’s way when Carlton started holding the ball over their heads indicating that they wanted to play tempo footy. This played right into Sydney’s hands and the Swans kicked the last two goals of the second half and got themselves back into the match.
In the second half Sydney slowly started to grind the Blues out of the match. Jude Bolton was massive all day and in the second half he had some invaluable assistance from Jared McVeigh who chimed in with a career best four goals and Ryan O’Keefe who suffered from an extreme bout of leather poisoning. I thought Paul Roos’ coaching was excellent today as Ratten and his men threw down the gauntlet. With Leo Barry and Michael O’Loughlin off the field injured and Goodes not getting a kick against Gibbs, Roos put the Brownlow Medallist into the forward line to replace O’Loughlin and suddenly the Goodes’ genie was let out of the bottle.
While it was a heartbreaker for the Blues the club could take plenty out of the loss. Andrew Walker played a good game today and he looks a lot stronger than I remember him to be. Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy were sensational all day and Eddie Betts is finally starting to kick a few more goals. While this season is slipping away from Ratten’s men I have no doubt they’ll be tasting finals action next season.
Sydney 2.1 8.5 14.10 – 18.13.121
Carlton 5.5 10.9 15.9 – 18.11.119
Sydney: McVeigh 4, O’Keefe 3, Jolly, Bevan, Moore, Goodes 2, J Bolton, Playfair, Roberts-Thomson
Carlton: Fevola 5, Betts 3, Judd 2, Kruezer, Fisher, Russell, Walker, Waite, Hartlett, Murphy, Grigg
Sydney: J Bolton, Jolly, O’Keefe, McVeigh, Mattner, Moore, Everitt
Carlton: Gibbs, Murphy, Waite, Judd, Walker, Fevola
Sydney: Barry (Hamstring), O’Loughlin (Ankle), O’Keefe (Ankle)
Carlton: Fevola (Hip)