A Blue night for the Magpies
Midfield drive ... .Carlton's Chris Judd gets away with the help of Andrew Carrazzo. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
COLLINGWOOD was not only humbled by its arch foe by 60 points last night, but its premiership ambitions were jolted by injuries to star pair Luke Ball and Ben Reid.
A week after key defender Chris Tarrant tore a calf muscle, All Australian defender Reid was substituted out of the game in the first quarter with a quad injury, the same complaint he suffered in last year's finals.
Fellow premiership player Ball also suffered what appeared likely to be a serious knee injury when he twisted his knee in a tackle. Ball returned to the ground but twisted the knee again. This time he went off and took no further part in the game, leaving the Magpies down to two men for more than half the match.
But the loss of the two players had come after Carlton had already romped away during the first quarter with an emphatic seven goals to three burst. While Collingwood, which has won the past five matches against Carlton, edged back to nine points down when Ball went from the ground, the Magpies still looked unlikely against the quick and classy Blues.
The final 10-goal margin was a true reflection of the Blues' ascendancy. Carlton has now won its opening three games, a feat it has not achieved in 17 years.
Driven by Matthew Kruezer's ruck dominance, the Blues' fleet of onballers embarrassed the highly rated Magpies in clearances and contested possessions.
Carlton small forward Eddie Betts booted five goals and Jarrad Waite three as the Blues won in front of 84,259 people at the MCG.
Carlton played top-four teams six times last year and lost every match. While Collingwood is a side outside the top four, the Blues will be satisfied that defeating last year's grand finalist is more than a win to warm the soul, it is a victory that measures progress.
The injury news has been bad for Collingwood all year with Andrew Krakouer and Brent Macaffer both suffering long-term knee injuries while veteran pair Ben Johnson and Alan Didak suffered soft tissue injuries and have yet to be sighted.
Premiership defender Nathan Brown returned to the VFL last week but is still several weeks from returning from a knee reconstruction.