“He’s a wonderful player, we’re lucky to have him and he’s a pleasure to coach really.”
Sam Walsh was outstanding for the Blues but Richmond won more of the key moments, with a desperate Jayden Short effort to stop a Harry McKay goal in the third term among the most important.
“There was a lot of positive signs that came out of the game. I think the one that jumped out at the coaching group was probably Richmond’s ability to handle the moments,” Blues coach David Teague said.
There was enormous intrigue as to how the new medical substitute rule – implemented at the 11th hour – would play out. Things changed further on game day when the Tigers lost captain Trent Cotchin to injury, replaced in the 22 by Marlion Pickett, which led to Jack Ross being named as the designated 23rd man. It was former Melbourne defender Oscar McDonald however who made history, replacing the injured Jack Silvagni (shoulder) at half-time.
McDonald, playing forward, made an almost immediate impact, matching his career goals tally in 81 games with the Demons inside four minutes on the ground as a Blue. So recently was McDonald added to Carlton’s list, they didn’t have his headshot on file to use on the ’G big screen.
Remarkably a player who didn’t have a list spot as recently as last week took advantage of a rule that didn’t exist until this week. Ross was introduced late in the third quarter after Nick Vlastuin hurt his knee.
Hardwick said Vlastuin would go for scans to determine the severity of the issue, while a round two return for Bachar Houli (calf) has not been ruled out.
Teague said after the match that Silvagni’s injury was a sublux. Jack Martin (calf tightness) should be available next week according to the coach, while Eddie Betts impressed in a VFL practice match earlier on Thursday. Zac Williams will be available next week following his suspension.
Stand by your man
It was always going to be a talking point, and unfortunately for Blue Sam Petrevski-Seton, he is now the answer to a footy trivia question. It was deep in the second quarter when a bouncy Petrevski-Seton strayed from his position on the mark to become the first premiership season victim of the new “stand” rule. Tiger Josh Caddy took full toll from the ensuing 50-metre penalty.
It was the culmination of a frustrating period in the game for Carlton, with Ed Curnow entering into the protected area earlier in the quarter and conceding 50 metres to Jack Riewoldt, who duly slotted his first major of the season. Blues fans had also been left aggrieved after a brilliant chase-down tackle from Silvagni on Kamdyn McIntosh went unrewarded.
Like a Mac truck
The first moment to reignite the senses came early in the first term when a late-arriving McKay came in to flatten Vlastuin in an aerial contest.
Vlastuin thankfully bounced back up but the overwhelmingly pro-Tigers crowd made its displeasure clearly known. Nature was healing. The fans weren’t the only ones who remonstrated, with the blow to Vlastuin triggering scuffles which are likely to provide a welcome boost to the league’s coffers.
Richmond backman David Astbury had his number taken midway through the third term for a crude elbow to Lachie Plowman, who converted the resultant set shot for his first AFL goal since 2013.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter