For the first time ever, Freo have had two games in a row in Melbourne. With Tony Modra announcing his retirement during the week, it was much harder to persuade Caroline to accompany me to Optus Oval to see football for a second time in a week. Still she did agree to come with me, though in the end it might have been better if we both stayed at home.
Interestingly our general admission seats wound up being in the Legends Stand. I think that the Carlton admin have finally woken up to the fact that it doesn't look good to have that stand completely empty, especially when its the only one we get to see much of on the TV replays. Of course we got an allocated seat in the stand which was right behind the goals which is not my preferred seat. I think also that they made an effort to seat all the Freo fans in one part of the stand. There were certainly a lot of Freo fans dotted around the area where we were seated.
Last week Footscray scored 8 goals to register the highest first term score for the season. Richmond went one better on Friday night, scoring 9.1 against Melbourne, but Carlton soon stole the crown from them, kicking 9.3 to 1 point in the first quarter of this game. Even that record didn't last long, with North Melbourne managing 12.1 in their epic match against Essendon on the Sunday. Collingwood will certainly have their work cut out trying to beat that record next week.
The sad thing was that Freo really did look much worse in the first quarter this week than they did last week. Last week the Bulldogs were working it out of the centre and straight into their foward line, but I at least had the feeling that if the Dockers could actually win the ball something good might happen, and eventually it did. In this game there was no such feeling. Freo seemed to be struggling all over the ground, and going forward just seemed to be an exercise in futility.
As I mentioned previously, Carlton piled on 9.3 in the first quarter, which was a record for the season. Freo's one point for the quarter came well into time on, and was greetde with boos from the Carlton crowd who had been hoping for a clean sheet.
After quarter time the game was more or less even. Whether that was because Carlton relaxed or because Freo improved is difficult to tell, but certainly neither side looked inspirational during the second and third quarters. Up until half time Freo played with Leigh Brown at CHF and Schell at fullforward. Neither of them looked too convincing, and the radio commentators made a big deal out of the fact that Brown was overweight.
Brown got moved to be the spare man in defense after half time, and he started to get a lot more of the ball in that position. Of course its a lot easier to get the ball when there's no one playing on you, but still.
The highlight of the game for me was really the first 10 minutes or so of the last quarter. In that time Freo managed five unanswered goals. They managed to get clearances from the centre, and Pavlich was presenting a target up forward. Of course it didn't last too long, and once the spell finished Carlton were able to add some more goals of their own just to extend the margin, but it was good while it lasted.
Looking for positives for Fremantle. Well, there weren't too many. McPhee seemed reasonable, and he scored both of Freo's first two goals. Pavlich did OK once Kouta went off the ground in the last quarter. Prior to that BenAllan had had him tagging Kouta, which worked OK, but he really showed what had been missing up forward in the last quarter, when he made a number of really strong leads. Perhaps if he had been up forward earlier, the Blues would have had to have moved Silvagni to mark him, and the goal avalanche in the first half might not have been so noticeable. Then again, probably not. Keren Ugle, who was brought up from the rookie list to replace Modra looked handy, but he has along way to go to become a really useful player.
Final Score : Carlton 19.17-131 defeated Fremantle 8.8-56.
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