Sharpshooting Carlton overpower Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharpshooting Carlton overpower Bulldogs

26/04/2009 07:41:09 PM Comments (0)

Carlton's goalkicking transformed from a liability to a potent weapon on Sunday as they belted the Western Bulldogs by 43 points in the AFL match at Etihad Stadium.

The Blues applied the pressure early, especially on the scoreboard, and then cracked the Bulldogs in the second half to win 21.7 (133) to 13.12 (90).

In the past fortnight, Carlton's inaccuracy had been a big problem as they dropped winnable games against Essendon and Sydney.

But they were 4.1 to 1.6 at quarter-time and 11.3 to 6.9 at the main break.

"You've still got to kick the ball efficiently and through the big sticks," noted coach Brett Ratten post-match.

That comment was in reference to last year's grand final, where Geelong also dominated in several areas - except where it really counted - and Hawthorn made them pay.

On Sunday, Carlton also lost the clearances 40-25, normally a statistic that means they lose the match.

"You start to get a trend on who you play and some of the key stats against certain opposition that make it very important," Ratten said.

"We beat Essendon by a fair bit in the stoppages a couple of weeks ago and we lost the game.

"So it's not always how it's happening - stats are very important to use as a tool, but at the end of it the naked eye can really tell you ... the trend of the game."

While the Bulldogs often won first use of the ball, Carlton's defence was superb and for the second straight week, the 'Dogs made too many turnovers.

"It was really once the ball got out of the contest that we got outworked," said Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade.

"It was just our horrendous use of the ball and our decision making that caused it to go back the other way."

Bulldogs defender Brian Lake often attracts Eade's wrath and there were a few stern words from the coach at three-quarter time after a crucial mistake.

Lake was put into attack and late in the third term, he took a strong mark in front of goal.

Rather than go back, kick the goal and reduce the margin to only 20 points, Lake amazingly played on and the Bulldogs lost possession.

"That (goalkicking) is the main error I'm talking about - we missed five or six within 30m and that's not counting Brian's horrendous decision as well in the goalsquare," Eade said.

"It was a big turning point."

The Blues were determined to win in honour of former president Richard Pratt, who is gravely ill.

"He's done so much for our club and he's just been a wonderful person to us, so we thought we could repay him with maybe a really good, tough, hard performance," Ratten said.

Kade Simpson was superb for Carlton, racking up 29 possessions and kicking two crucial goals from tight angles when the game was in the balance during the second quarter.

An unwelcome feature of the match was a series of poor centre bounces that meant the umpires had to keep retrieving the ball and throwing it up.

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