Blues beat up Bombers in AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues beat up Bombers in AFL finals

By Greg Buckle 11/09/2011 08:34:25 PM Comments (0)

Essendon will spend the summer learning how to avoid getting "beaten up" in midfield like they were in Sunday's crushing AFL elimination final loss to Carlton.

First-year coach James Hird's brave young Bombers were handed a brutal lesson in how far they lag behind Carlton as the Blues powered away to win 21.23 (149) to 13.9 (87).

A crowd of 90,161 - a record for an elimination final - packed into the MCG to see the two arch rivals do battle in a knockout final.

Carlton went in as favourites and emerged victorious to claim their first finals win in a decade, having lost elimination finals in 2009 and 2010.

Marc Murphy starred in midfield with 37 possessions for the Blues, while Andrew Carrazzo limited the influence of Bombers skipper Jobe Watson.

Eddie Betts kicked four goals for Carlton and fellow small forwards Bryce Gibbs and Jeff Garlett contributed three each as did Andrew Walker.

Essendon's Angus Monfries kicked three goals, but their key forward Michael Hurley was held goalless by Michael Jamison.

Heath Hocking did a fine tagging job on Blues skipper Chris Judd to keep the dual Brownlow Medallist to 19 possessions and one goal, but Carlton's general hardness around the contested ball overwhelmed the Bombers.

Out-of-contract Blues coach Brett Ratten said he was relieved for his team and felt confident about taking on West Coast at Patersons Stadium in a knockout semi-final on Saturday.

The season's over, however, for Hird's Bombers and the rookie coach says his men face a hard summer on the track.

"Our midfield group has to improve in terms of our ability to win the ball and defend as a team," Hird said on Sunday.

"There's no doubt physically our players are nowhere near as mature or as developed as the best teams in the competition.

"Carlton beat us up on the contests really and won the ball."

The Blues will sweat on the match review panel's decision on Jeremy Laidler's high bump on David Hille in the first quarter.

And Gibbs left the field in the final term with a shoulder injury which will be assessed on Monday.

Carlton led by seven points at the first break but scored 13 goals to Essendon's five in the next two quarters to hold a commanding 62-point advantage at three-quarter time.

The Bombers showed some fight with five straight goals to Carlton's 4.6 in the final term, but Ratten admitted that by three-quarter time, his thoughts were already on preparing for next week, and resting key players such as Jamison in the last quarter.

Essendon's only other finals appearance since 2004 was also a blowout, as they lost by 96 points to Adelaide in 2009.

Hird and Ratten both talked about the need to learn from the pain of finals defeats.

"Sometimes, you have to taste defeat to really know how much it hurts and I think the last couple of years have really helped our playing group," Ratten said.

Carlton's best key forward Jarrad Waite (hip) withdrew from a VFL game on Sunday but might resume in the VFL next week, while Ratten is hopeful ruckman-forward Matt Kreuzer (foot) will be available for the Eagles clash.

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