Harry McKay got the Blues off to the best possible start with the first goal of the game in the third minute, marking well in front of 150-gamer Phil Davis and then kicking truly.
But all that seemed to do was annoy GWS, who instantly began to flex their muscles.
The hosts came into this game anxious to make amends for their poor performance a week ago so were pretty revved up anyway; McKay’s cheeky opener only served to gird them into a speedy response.
Harry Himmelberg goaled quickly for the Giants to level things up with the first of the three he would notch in the opening term, then Jeremy Finlayson got on the scoresheet, as did Lachie Whitfield, Adam Kennedy and Brent Daniels.
The Blues were powerless in response, and for most of the first quarter it seemed that the Giants would go very close to beating their best ever first quarter score of 8.6.
That they didn’t manage it wasn’t down to frantic Carlton defence – the visitors’ tackle count and intensity was very poor – but the result of some inaccuracies in kicking by the dominant Giants.
Jeremy Cameron, the Giants spearhead, had been spelled on the bench very early, but when he did get back on he could only kick a behind.
By the 18-minute mark the Giants had kicked six goals for the afternoon – more than they managed in the entire four quarters against Hawthorn last week.
Their dominance in the middle was the key factor. Carlton simply could not get near the ball, and the only thing that could be said in mitigation was that they were missing several key defenders.
THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY
Is doing the same thing time after time and expecting a different result.
So what did the Blues do in the second term? Pretty much the same.
Harry McKay started exactly as he did in the opening term, kicking the first goal of the quarter.
That meant he had 2:1 – Carlton’s entire score – and that was how it was going to stay until half time.
The Giants were a little slower to rouse themselves in the second quarter and Carlton showed a bit more urgency – Jack Silvagni’s effort to run down and effect a tackle early on was noteworthy – but they were simply outclassed.
Too many kicks were mishit or handpasses fumbled, so that when they did get anywhere near goal the final delivery was off target and no clear cut chances were created.
Finlayson (twice) Tim Taranto, Brett Delidio (two) and Daniels all goaled for the Giants. Things could have been worse and Carlton could have been grateful for the small mercy that Cameron didn’t have his shooting boots on, kicking only three behinds in the first half.
JUNK TIME … FOR AN ENTIRE GAME
An already undermanned Carlton had to do without former skipper Marc Murphy – taken to hospital with a suspected rib injury – and coach Brendon Bolton moved Silvagni into the midfield to give it some bite at the start of the third quarter.
But if Carlton thought the Giants might ease off with the game effectively won, they were mistaken.
Finlayson showed plenty of intent to run down and tackle his opponent close to goal, and despite taking a knock in the process, got up to kick his fourth goal of the afternoon.
McKay, Zac Fisher and Mitch McGovern managed to more than double Carlton’s first half total in the third quarter, but it was merely academic as this game had effectively been over inside the first 20 minutes.
The third and fourth quarters were merely ”junk time”, of most interest to statisticians.
7.5 13.9 18.14 20.18 (138)
1.1 2.1 5.2 7.3 (45)
GOALS – GWS: Finlayson 5, Himmelberg 3, Deledio 3, Whitfield 3, Daniels 2, Kennedy, Taranto, Perryman, Tomlinson.
Carlton: McKay 3, Fisher, McGovern, Silvagni, E. Curnow.
BEST – GWS: Finlayson, Taranto, De Boer, Whitfield, Himmelberg, Deledio.
Carlton: McKay, Silvagni, Newman, Curnow.
INJURIES – GWS: Williams (hamstring).
Carlton: Murphy (ribs)
UMPIRES: Williamson, Harris, Dore.
CROWD: 9599 at Giants Stadium.
Finlayson (GWS) 8
Whitfield (GWS) 8
De Boer (GWS) 7
Taranto (GWS) 7
McKay (Carlton) 6
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing