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From the Archives, 2002: Cats hold off fast-finishing Blues

A “touched” call on Riccardi’s kick would have been entirely in keeping with the manner in which some of that deficit was clawed back. Controversial decisions abetted at least three of the seven goals.

Carlton flies high above Geelong in the last quarter but were not able to snatch the game.

Carlton flies high above Geelong in the last quarter but were not able to snatch the game.Credit:Ray Kennedy

A soft in-the-back to Corey McKernan against Ben Graham enabled Brendan Fevola to soar to mark and convert; an apparently blatant throw of the ball by Matthew Lappin missed and followed by a tough, deliberate out-of-bounds call against Darren Milburn resulted in Lappin scoring brilliantly from 50 metres out on the boundary; then a 50-metre penalty against Jarad Rooke as he desperately tried to contest a mark to Lappin in the opposite pocket.

It was all going with Carlton until that final kick.

Wayne Brittain argued that it was a case for better technology, just as Bomber coach Kevin Sheedy did in similar circumstances over a goal kicked after the siren in the Kangaroos-Essendon game last round.

But all in all, it would be hard for anyone to argue that rough justice had not been done and, although Brittain can take heart from his team’s great finish, he must also address the reasons why the Blues were so far off the pace for most of the afternoon.

Geelong got away from the Blues because it dominated the ruck through Steven King and Peter Street, because it took the ball out of the centre more often than the one, final time that counted, and because the young players on its list represent better value than the Blues’ ageing veterans.

Consider some of yesterday’s match-ups. James Kelly (three games) on Brett Ratten, Rooke (nine games) on Lappin, David Wojcinski (26 games) on Scott Camporeale.

Mark Thompson entrusted some pretty big jobs to some very young heads and, for the most part, they did not let their coach down.

At the other end of the experience scale, Craig Bradley got plenty of the ball, but his use of it is not as devastating as it was, and Andrew McKay tried his hardest but conceded three valuable goals to Aaron Lord.

Cameron Ling is tackled by Justin Murphy.

Cameron Ling is tackled by Justin Murphy.Credit:Ray Kennedy

Camporeale also does not appear to be fully fit. The star midfielder was again off the ground for a time in the third term for work on his recently injured thigh and hamstring.

Geelong skipper Ben Graham had the better of Lance Whitnall, although the Carlton centre half-forward came back to kick three goals in the final-quarter rush. Brendan Fevola also kicked two then, one a real gem as he dropped the ball on to his right foot on the boundary line in the forward pocket, to give him four for the day.

At the other end, the unlikely Kent Kingsley contributed four for the Cats and also had a hand in several others.

Riccardi’s match-winner gave him four for the game, too, in a clear best-on-ground performance.

For the Blues, Simon Fletcher was one of the few four-quarter contributors, Fevola battled hard all day although let down by his kicking at times and Anthony Franchina did an effective stopping job on the dangerous Ronnie Burns.

TIME-ON

GEELONG

2.1 5.7 6.11 15.10 (100)

CARLTON

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4.4 8.4 13.6 14.12 (96)

GOALS

Geelong: Riccardi 4, Kingsley 4, Lord 3, Burns, Kelly, Sholl, Clarke.

Carlton: Fevola 4, Whitnall 3, Lappin 2, McKernan, Fletcher, Wiggins, Campbell, Plunkett.

BEST

Geelong: Riccardi, Ling, Kingsley, King, Rooke, Graham.

Carlton: Fletcher, Franchina, Fevola, Ratten, Bradley

INJURIES

Carlton: Davies (ill) replaced in selected side by Doering. Merrington (corked thigh), Wiggins (arm).

REPORTS

Merrington (Carlton) by umpire Head for striking Street (Geelong) in the last quarter.

UMPIRES

Vozzo, Head, Jeffery.

CROWD

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37,294 at Colonial Stadium.

PLAY OF THE DAY

With only seconds remaining and Carlton somehow in the lead by two points, the final bounce was eventually cleared by Corey. He handballed to Clarke who kicked to Riccardi, who marked on the 50. The siren sounded and Riccardi lined up and let loose, the ball sailing through as Wiggins, the man on the mark, protested that he had touched it.

KEY DUELS

Rooke (Geel) v Lappin (Carl): This battle had clearly gone in Rooke’s favour until late in the last quarter when Lappin had two pivotal moments to hand Carlton the lead. He kicked a goal from the boundary after Milburn was pinged for deliberately pushing the ball out of bounds. Minutes later he booted his second goal after a show for the umpire that earned him a 50metre penalty against Rooke, who had tried to spoil his mark.

Graham (Geel) v Whitnall (Carl): Stationed in defence for the entire match, Graham kept Whitnall goalless until he booted three in the last term.

FROM THE ROOMS

Mark Thompson (Geelong): “I had got up out of the chair by then and I didn’t actually watch it. I could tell by the emotions of people around me that it had gone through and it was one of disbelief really, and excitement.”

Wayne Brittain (Carlton): “I suppose if they had an umpire sitting up in the video room, we’d have been a chance to get the points.” — Melissa Ryan

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