A scrappy game played with a lot of heat as both teams tried to assert physical dominance early. Carlton broke out of the blocks before Fremantle woke up and from there the Dockers never really looked threatened as they cruised to an easy win while barely stepping out of second gear.
What we learnt?
Without wanting to build up the hype on Nat Fyfe any further it’d be hard to ignore him in this review so let’s get it out of the way: Nat Fyfe was freaking awesome. The end. Although worth noting he did get run down in a superb chase and tackle by Caleb Marchbank but make of that what you will.
Aaron Sandilands was barely sighted after 3/4 time but did everything that we needed to see him do in the first three quarters. Monstered Kreuzer in the ruck and generally moved around fairly well. Did spend a lot of time getting treatment on the bench and I think there is little doubt he will be carefully managed this season. If you are starting him in any format, then you also must start a playing R3.
He won’t kick six goals every week but Cam McCarthy will have put himself firmly on many coaches’ radars last night. However with excellent job security and priced at around $200k in both DT & SC, he’ll tick along on your bench and occasional big games like this will help kickstart his cash generation again every so often.
It seems safe to bet that Fremantle won’t be the same bottom four club that they were last year – adding Fyfe and Sandilands alone should ensure that. We’ve had a good look at young guns Connor Blakely Ed Langdon & Darcy Tucker and while they won’t play Carlton every week all three do look like they’re ready to take a good step forward. Garrick Ibbotson took 12 marks and floated across half back doing as he pleased – a highly risky option given his injury history but remember when he averaged 90+ in both formats a few years ago in the same role? Stephen & Bradley Hill will also be perfect sliders in draft leagues and no doubt will enjoy playing kick-to-kick with each other along the wings this year.
What we learnt?
Much like last week, Patrick Cripps started slowly but started to shake off the rust as the game got going. Only played three quarters before being rested but showed some very good signs. It would still be a risk to pick him but if this game was the deciding factor for you then he certainly did everything required.
It was nice to see Marc Murphy running at something close to full capacity at times and turning on sharp angles at pace. Collected plenty of the ball but didn’t work as hard when away from the contest, getting through the game appears to have been the main priority and he certainly did that.
Aaron Sandilands destroyed him in the ruck for the best part of three quarters but Matthew Kreuzer still found a way to impact the game, laying seven tackles and amassing seventeen disposals and a goal. Will be a very handy late draft option if you miss out on one of the big three early.
If you were keen on either Sam Docherty or Kade Simpson down back then neither gave you any reason not to pick them and no doubt the Blues’ backline will again see plenty of the ball this year. Both Jack Silvagni and Jacob Weitering spent most of the game forward and it will be interesting to see if that experiment continues into the season proper. Dale Thomas looks cooked and if players like Rhys Palmer and Billie Smedts are consistently in Carlton’s best 22 then it might be another long year for Blues fans.