AFL Round 3 Carlton vs Adelaide
Sam Jacobs of the Crows and Cameron Wood (R) of the Blues contest for the ball. Photo: Getty Images
ADELAIDE 0.1.2 0.4.3 0.8.5 1.13.12 (99) CARLTON 0.2.4 0.5.5 0.8.6 0.9.7 (61)
Nine pointers: Adelaide: P Dangerfield.
Goals: Adelaide: McKernan 3, Jenkins 2, Otten, Rutten, Petrenko, Podsiadly, Porplyzia, Dangerfield, Douglas, Sloane. Carlton: Ellard 3, Everitt, Curnow, Garlett, Casboult, Menzel, Scotland.
Best: Adelaide: Douglas, Thompson, Jaensch, Dangerfield, McKernan, Sloane. Carlton: Murphy, Gibbs, Simpson, Thomas, Buckley, Everitt.
Injuries: Adelaide: J Podsiadly (bruised hip). Carlton: B Gibbs (general soreness) C Yarran (general soreness).
Umpires: Chris Kamolins, Scott McPhee, Brendan Hosking.
Venue: Etihad Stadium.
Just as his team will play better games, Dale Thomas will play better games for his new club Carlton.
But the very fact Thomas was playing senior football again was reason enough for Carlton fans to walk away content with what they saw in an otherwise underwhelming match against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
Dale Thomas tackles Jason Porplyzia of the Crows during Monday night's match at Etihad Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Ellard (0.3.1), Casboult (0.1.0), Curnow (0.1.0), Everitt (0.1.0), Garlett (0.1.0), Menzel (0.1.0), Scotland (0.1.0), Bell (0.0.1), Buckley (0.0.1), McLean (0.0.1), Murphy (0.0.1), Wood (0.0.1)||Scorers||Dangerfield (1.1.1), McKernan (0.3.0), Jenkins (0.2.2), Porplyzia (0.1.2), Douglas (0.1.0), Otten (0.1.0), Petrenko (0.1.0), Podsiadly (0.1.0), Rutten (0.1.0), Sloane (0.1.0), Crouch (0.0.1), Ellis-Yolmen (0.0.1), Lyons (0.0.1), Mackay (0.0.1), Smith (0.0.1), Wright (0.0.1)|
Certainly the match will have left only the Crows pleased with what they saw from their team as opposed to the efforts of individuals, but with a match in February that is almost beside the point.
Thomas did more than he might have hoped to be able to do in his first outing for Carlton. He got a handsome amount of the ball and ran searchingly. Predictably he tired and was heavily rotated, but he worked into the game impressively.
He played from a half-forward flank which, of course, meant that he also got the ball across half-back and ran deep with it as a link player. What he gave Carlton was a lift in quality of the delivery of the ball inside 50.
The former Collingwood star did not take a turn through the centre of the ground, but that was not surprising for a player playing his first even semi-serious game since re-injuring his ankle in round 20 of the VFL last year. His last AFL game was in round seven last year - the last of just five games for the season.
As critical as the form of the high-profile free agent was the form of another recruit, Andrejs Everitt. The rangy half-forward gave the Carlton forward line that extra player who was difficult to match up on, someone who is tall and marks well but is still nimble and quick at ground level.
Carlton's first-round pick, Patrick Cripps, is a powerful, ready-to-play midfielder who showed he will give the Blues what they want from him as an inside midfielder.
Dylan Buckley had an impressive night with run and dash linking play through the middle of the ground and a keenness to take the game on and break lines.
Sam Rowe was sampled as a key defender after playing as a forward and part-time ruckman last season.
Matthew Kreuzer, recovered from the foot complaint that cost him his semi-final place last season and affected his early pre-season, looked better as the game wore on. He began playing out of the goal square, but looked better when he moved into the ruck.
James Podsiadly, at his new club, kicked the first goal for the Crows, while Eddie Betts will wait to play his first game against his old club.
The Crows slipped the chain in the last quarter when Paddy Dangerfield moved into the middle to instant effect. He booted a super goal and another six-pointer as the Crows monstered Carlton in the middle of the ground, dominating the clearances. They completely overran the Blues in the last term.
Carlton was without Chris Judd - his Achilles will keep him out until round three - and Andrew Carrazzo, who has injured a calf and will miss the first two rounds of the season. Lachie Henderson will play soon after minor thigh surgery and should yet be fit for round one, while Andrew Walker, Robert Warnock and Zach Tuohy were all rested.