Here come the Blues

This might not have been Carlton’s most convincing performance, but all that matters is they pocketed the four points.

The Blues’ 26-point victory over Essendon at the MCG on Sunday night was their third on the trot and propelled them into second spot after being outside the top eight before this streak.

Zac Williams of the Blues celebrates a goal.

Zac Williams of the Blues celebrates a goal.Credit: Getty

Carlton’s nine wins to date this season are more than double what they had at the same time 12 months ago, so there will be no need for any second-half heroics just to qualify for September.

Everyone knows about the Blues’ stars but they have a band of lower-profile contributors playing a significant role.

Among them are Alex Cincotta – who kicked two last-quarter goals and did a great tagging job on Zach Merrett – Matt Owies, Jordan Boyd, Blake Acres and Brodie Kemp.

Territory dominance unrewarded

Essendon might have entered the match higher on the ladder than Carlton, but they were widely considered the underdogs.

Ultimately, only a barrage of goals from the Blues at either end of the contest proved the difference.

The Bombers will kick themselves for wasting countless opportunities in the first three quarters, after which they led the inside-50 count 46-25, yet trailed by 15 points.

The third term, in particular, should have seen Essendon make far greater scoreboard impact, but they repeatedly slaughtered the ball going into attack.
On the flipside, Carlton were ruthlessly efficient.

They had 12 scoring shots from 17 first-half inside 50s, and put the result beyond doubt with four goals in barely 10 minutes to start the final term.

Time wasting?

One of the AFL’s most-maligned rules had another chapter early in Sunday night’s match.

Archie Perkins of Essendon.

Archie Perkins of Essendon.Credit: Getty

The league’s crackdown on time wasting leaves no wiggle room for players to give the ball to the wrong player after a free kick, so Nic Martin’s skill error was always going to be costly.

Martin seemingly attempted to kick the ball to Blue Mitch McGovern from about 15 metres away but succeeded only in finding his Essendon teammate on the mark.

No sooner did it happen than McGovern was gleefully running forward from half-back to kick a goal after receiving a 50-metre penalty.

Players are now trying to use the rule to fool their opponents.

Carlton forward Zac Williams pleaded with Dyson Heppell to give him the ball after Charlie Curnow received a free kick in the fourth quarter, but the Bombers veteran was too smart for that.