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Malthouse praises Carlton fightback

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has praised his team's ''stoic'' fightback in a narrow defeat that could have been won with better finishing.

Malthouse said the Blues had worked hard to get back from a deficit, but the disappointing part was they couldn't take their chances to finish ''and put our noses in front'' in the last quarter. The Blues had 60 inside 50s to Richmond's 52, and won the contested ball, but lost by 12 points after the scores were equal with seven minutes left.

''We were very, very stoic in our approach to a four goal deficit at quarter time and still went down in the second quarter but showed a bit,'' said Malthouse. ''The whole idea is to eat into leads, you may not make it up. But we had our chances to put our nose in front - they're the disappointing things, you just, you work that hard to have a chance at it, we just botched up a few shots on goal.

''You've got to take good with bad, it wasn't all doom and gloom. It was a very good fightback.

''No player goes out to not kick goals. And you've got to kick them. They're there to be kicked.''

The Blues, who have opened with two losses to finals aspirants, will regain Matthew Kreuzer for next week's game against Essendon. ''He's all but played. I have spoken to him today.''

Malthouse praised youngster and father son recruit Dylan Buckley, who was among the club's best, and ex-Swan Andrejs Everitt, who played on Brett Deledio in the second half and nullified the Tiger star. ''I'm delighted for Dylan Buckley, he played his first game last year as a forward and he's gone back. He was very stiff not to be in the first game....he has been a very diligent young man and he deserves the accolades he got from today.

''Getting our hands on the football helped. That in itself gave us an opportunity.''

Malthouse said Bryce Gibbs - beaten by Richmond youngster Brandon Ellis - ''didn't have his greatest day'' but would rebound. ''I know the character of the kid and he will be a very good player for us next week.''