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Blues too sharp for Tigers

Date

Martin Blake

Too good: Richmond's Jack Riewoldt battles Carlton's Lachie Henderson at the MCG.

Too good: Richmond's Jack Riewoldt battles Carlton's Lachie Henderson at the MCG. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

THE mirage of a dramatically improved Richmond has taken just one match to be exposed.

Carlton eclipsed the Tigers in their season-opening clash at the MCG last night and the sound of air rushing out of the Richmond sails might have drowned out the roars of the 78,000 crowd.

Carlton, 0-5 in the pre-season and missing at least two key defenders, showed March form is irrelevant. The Blues were sharper and cleaner when the premiership points went on the line, winning by 44 points.

Heroic: Jeremy Laidler beats Ty Vickery to the mark.

Heroic: Jeremy Laidler beats Ty Vickery to the mark. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

In all the talk about Richmond improvement, it was forgotten that this was based on defeats of Geelong and Hawthorn in pre-season competition, when the better teams tend to experiment.

The Tigers were not disgraced last night, combative to the end behind the crazy-brave attack on the football of Trent Cotchin in the middle. But they fell short against Carlton yet again, for the eighth time in a row, and it was a reality check of sorts.

The Blues had only one concern, the report of centre half-forward Jarrad Waite for rough play in the opening two minutes.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten with Chris Judd at quarter time. Click for more photos

AFL Round 1, Richmond v Carlton

The Tigers took on the Blues in their first round match, played at the MCG. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Waite collided with a hunched-down Dylan Grimes as the Richmond player tried to pick up the football and was immediately free-kicked and booked.

With the match review panel frowning on any head-high contact, he faces a worrying few days before the Blues play Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Thursday.

Waite has been suspended for rough play as recently as 2010. While he took a couple of big grabs last night, he was beaten by Alex Rance, one of Richmond's best players for the game.

Carlton's defence, supposedly leaky in the absence of Nick Duigan and Michael Jamison, held up nicely and this was one of the significant features of the match. Lachie Henderson (on Jack Riewoldt), Paul Bower (on Brad Miller) and Jeremy Laidler (on Ty Vickery) all performed well, although Riewoldt showed his class by snaring four goals from limited opportunities.

Laidler was heroic in the circumstances, resuming early after dislocating his kneecap in a NAB Cup game.

The Blues had too much skill and panache, with Marc Murphy overcoming a slow start to dominate the second half, Bryce Gibbs mopping up beautifully across half-back and Chris Yarran also sweeping into the open spaces. Yarran's running goal from the boundary in the final quarter not only put the contest beyond doubt, it was an early candidate for goal of the year. Carlton had a dozen goalkickers.

28 comments

  • Go Pies.

    Commenter
    BJ
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 30, 2012, 7:00AM
    • How is this relevant to this article?

      Commenter
      J S Bach jr
      Date and time
      March 30, 2012, 9:03AM
  • Tigers...the most consistent team in the comp...they always let you down.

    Commenter
    Adonis
    Location
    Kngsville
    Date and time
    March 30, 2012, 7:15AM
    • It's gotta be time 2 new teams (or at least not Richmond) play the season opener. It was another ordinary game.

      Commenter
      James
      Location
      Caulfield South
      Date and time
      March 30, 2012, 7:36AM
      • GWS vs Sydney Swans this year?

        Commenter
        J S Bach jr
        Date and time
        March 30, 2012, 9:02AM
      • They did. The season opener was last Saturday between the Giants and the Swans and it was great!!!

        Commenter
        Ross
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        March 30, 2012, 9:46AM
    • I concur with BJ.

      Commenter
      BT
      Location
      Richmond
      Date and time
      March 30, 2012, 7:43AM
      • concur - that's a very sophisticated word for a Collingwood fan

        Commenter
        Yooblues
        Location
        Princes park
        Date and time
        March 30, 2012, 8:30AM
    • who cares, melbourne is a rugby town now the rebels are here. GO REBELS. Woooooo

      Commenter
      RuggerBugger
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      March 30, 2012, 7:53AM
      • BJ really has summed up the situation impeccably.

        Commenter
        pithyinsights
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        March 30, 2012, 8:12AM

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