Carlton Blue After Winless Start

Picture: George Salpigtidis/theaustralian.com.au
Chris Judd takes on his former team on Saturday. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last Five Meetings

Round 12, 2012 - West Coast Eagles 79 d Carlton Blues 69
SF, 2012 – West Coast Eagles 101 d Carlton Blues 98
Round 14, 2011 – West Coast Eagles 103 d Carlton Blues 67
Round 17, 2010 – Carlton Blues 109 d West Coast Eagles 83
Round 10, 2010 – Carlton Blues 105 d West Coast Eagles 76


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3   
West Coast 

 L

 L

 W

Carlton 

 L

 L

 L


It has been a tormenting start to the season for Carlton fans. Close, but no cigar, sums up their first three outings as the Blues take on what is a horror draw to start the season. They almost chased down Richmond, only to go down by five points in the season opener, then backed that up with a mighty effort in a 17-point defeat to arch rival Collingwood, before going blow-for-blow with Geelong before losing by 16 points last Saturday. The simple fact is that the Blues haven’t come close to producing a four-quarter performance, yet, and with matches to come against West Coast and Adelaide, an 0-5 start to the campaign is a distinct possibility.

The Blues will be without ruckman Matthew Kreuzer for at least six weeks due to a broken thumb. Robert Warnock is a ready-made replacement, though, and he was a standout in the VFL last weekend. Ed Curnow and Simon White also come in to the side.

West Coast has started the season in poor fashion, as well, and the Eagles looked shellshocked as Melbourne actually put up a fight in the first half of their round three contest, but a 10-point lead at the long break turned in to a 94-point demolition by the final siren. The earlier-than-expected returns of Daniel Kerr and Mark LeCras from injury mean the Eagles are a step closer to getting their best 22 on the park. In saying that, backman Beau Waters is out with a calf injury still for at least a fortnight, while Andrew Embley will miss the next few weeks with a foot injury.


Key Men

(Eagles) Josh Kennedy – Few things elicit as big a roar on a regular basis as Josh Kennedy’s stuttering run-up when he takes a set shot for goal. He is much more than a sideshow, and given their lack of a key forward in the opening rounds, how the Blues would love to have him in their forward 50 after they sent him west in the Chris Judd trade. An ankle injury restricted him to nine games last season, but in 2011 he kicked 59 goals and was ranked 5th in the AFL for contested marks. He has started the year brightly kicking five goals in each of his past two games.

(Blues) Andrew Walker – He is best known for his aerial antics but after spending his career to this point in the forward half of the ground, Andrew Walker has been a revelation off halfback at times this season. He kicked three goals against Collingwood in round two, but he was Carlton’s best against Geelong picking up 33 possessions, including five rebounds from the defensive 50. With Bryce Gibbs spending more and more time in the midfield, Carlton need someone like Walker to generate attack from the back half.


Prediction

The stunning second-half bombardment launched by the Eagles against the hapless Demons could be the springboard John Worsfold’s team needs to kickstart its season. The Eagles have won the last three against Carlton, and the last two of those clashes were at Patersons Stadium, although the margin was just 10 points last season and three points in the sides’ classic semi-final in 2011. The Blues have beaten Fremantle on the road the last two seasons, so this group knows how to win in Perth. The Blues are getting better, but Mick Malthouse might have to wait another week or two before registering his first win as Carlton coach. Eagles by 25 points  

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