The heat on Carlton is sure to rise again after a third successive loss in a game in which it offered little resistance till it was too late, going down to the GIANTS 16.6 (102) to 9.12 (66) at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday night.
As desperate as the Blues should have been to win, the result was just as important for the GIANT who now sit two points outside the eight and well in finals contention with an injury list shortening by the week.
No doubt David Teague will be feeling disappointed in his charges who, despite trailing at half-time by 30 points on the scoreboard, 38 in possessions and 11 in clearances, also sat way behind - 45 to 20 - in tackles.
The GIANTS led from the first minute of the match and was never headed, although four Carlton goals in five minutes late in the third term suggested a comeback was on the cards as the margin narrowed to 12 points.
However, a quick reply from Jeremy Finlayson steadied the GIANTS' ship, and when threatened again in the last it was Toby Greene who rose to the task with a big mark and clinch goal.
From that point it was all the GIANTS, running away to the 36-point win, Carlton's biggest loss of the season.
Greene was at his enigmatic best throughout, typified by an amazing torpedo goal from inside the centre square after the first-quarter siren.
To round out the equation, he then had his number taken for striking Nic Newman in the third term and will also come under scrutiny for touching the reporting umpire.
It’s not easy being Greene
Few can play the hero and the villain in one game as well as Toby Greene. When the GIANTS’ stand-in skipper marked outside the 50m arc and the siren sounded for quarter-time Greene went back, lined up his shot and let fly with a torpedo that sailed 67.6m for his second goal. But as much as he’s known for his brilliance, Greene is known for his brain fades too and he was reported in the third term for a round arm blow to Nic Newman’s stomach. He had another bizarre moment when he acknowledged the report by tapping the umpire on the chest, a glancing knock that is likely to be looked at by the MRO. The superstar forward finished with four goals.
When Harry met Buckley
Harry McKay might’ve expected to start his new deal with Carlton by lining up next to the GIANTS’ former captain Phil Davis in his first match since round three. But Leon Cameron instead trusted Jack Buckley to take on another opponent’s key forward target. The GIANTS’ defender had the better of McKay early, keeping him possession-less in the opening term and watching as the Blues spearhead wasted one of his few first-half opportunities with a bad bounce that dribbled over the boundary when he was clear and on his way toward goal. But McKay had the better of the battle late, kicking two goals in the third term as he led the Blues’ comeback and finishing with 3.2 and six contested marks. This is unlikely to be the only time Harry meets Buckley.
The Blues fail to tackle the critics
Carlton came into the match having won the tackle count in only two matches this season – the worst record in the competition – but with the club under the blowtorch across the bye it was expected to come out firing. Instead the Blues dished up a damp squib, going into half-time with only 20 tackles to the GIANTS’ 45 and bringing a noticeable lack of pressure. An incredible 12 Blues failed to lay a tackle in the first half, compared to only two GIANTS who hadn’t wrapped up an opponent. The Blues matched the GIANTS’ tackling intensity in the third term but dropped away late to finish with 78 tackles to 41.