Was Liam Jones’ falcon the most valuable in AFL history?
In the end it was Liam Jones’ head that came between Essendon and a last minute victory. With Jacob Townsend’s long range shot falling short, a large pack formed at the fall of the ball in the goal square. With the heaving mass of players attempting to touch or shepherd the ball through it seemed like they would cancel each other out until it bounced off Jones’ head and through the goals for a behind. The resulting four points won by his intervention surely making his header the most valuable in the history of the competition.
How the game was won.
Despite Jake Stringer and Kyle Langford doing an admirable job on Patrick Cripps, Carlton had the early running in this contest. Yet, inaccuracy in front of goal left the door open for the Bombers to steal the match late.
Surprisingly, given his difficulties in the past, Levi Casboult was the accurate one for the Blues up front. The dominant big man on the night, he finished with three goals and was a big difference between the two teams. His new found steadiness kicking for goal on show when he was tasked with levelling the scores late in the final term.
Having almost squandered the match with their wastefullness in the third quarter, it was a remarkable comeback from the Blues. After having lifted themselves off the mat, a nailbiting finish would need to be endured before the points were secured.
What the coaches said.
John Worsfold acknowledged that his team’s lockdown at the beginning of the week had an effect. “I don’t know how you would possibly measure it, but it’s obviously not ideal to have your players locked away at home from Saturday afternoon through to Tuesday afternoon,” he told reporters.
Despite this he would not blame it for the result. “Carlton won too much of the footy,” he said. “They beat us for possession count, ground balls, clearances in the end,” he said before admitting optimism due to the closeness of the result. “Take all that into account and we had a shot for goal to win the game late, so there’s parts of what we were doing we were pretty happy with.”
David Teague was proud of his team finding a way to win another close won after their nail-biting win over Geelong a week earlier. “You have got to win these games and you have to be in them and probably for too long we haven’t been in those games,” he told reporters. “It’s great that we are getting there. The boys reckon they are ageing me very quickly…it is really good. They stuck strong even when they got two goals behind.
ESSENDON 2.1 4.1 6.2 8.3 (51)
CARLTON 3.0 5.3 5.8 7.10 (52)
Essendon: Parish 2, Stringer 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti, McKernan, Smith, Townsend
Carlton: Casboult 3, McGovern 2, Betts, Martin
Essendon: McGrath, Merrett, Ridley, Smith, Francis
Carlton: Cuningham, Docherty, Casboult, Gibbons, Walsh
Essendon: Cutler (calf) replaced in selected side by Brayden Ham
Carlton: Silvagni (lungs)