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AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Dees and Cats off to a tight start, Blues start Betts’ last game well

Hawkins makes it three goals in a row for the Cats after outmarking Lever and May, before converting a beautiful snap set shot from the boundary line.

He’s now the game’s first multiple goalkicker, having booted the last two majors, and the Cats are out to a nine-point lead with 7:49 left in the first half, 5.1.31 to 3.4.22.

It’s a pretty decent advantage given the tight and tense nature of this affair so far.

Tom Hawkins and Max Gawn.

Tom Hawkins and Max Gawn.Credit:Getty Images

Viney extended the Demons’ lead early in the second quarter with a gorgeous checkside punt, but back-to-back goals from Geelong twin towers Cameron and Hawkins have put the Cats back in front by three points, 4.1.25 to 3.4.22.

It looked as though the narrative gods who specialise in footy fairytale endings were working overtime into Saturday night through the first quarter of the Carlton v Giants game, with the unheralded Blues getting off to a flying start against a Giants team which needs to win to ensure a finals berth.

Eddie Betts, playing in his 350th and last ever game, had a hand in the opening goal which put the Blues in front midway through the quarter after an arm wrestle in the first 10 minutes.

Then youngster Corey Durdin doubled the advantage with the first goal of his AFL career as the Blues, all aggression and enthusiasm, set the tone. The Giants woke from their slumber late, but they didn’t get their first goal until the last minute of the term when Daniel Lloyd shot truly.

A very good start from the Blues, but they’ll know that a good quarter or two won’t be enough, especially after what happened to them against Port Adelaide last week.

The Giants had better get their act together because they will miss the finals if they lose and then Essendon and Fremantle win tomorrow.

Carlton are on top in clearances 11-7, contested possessions 43-35, free kicks 6-3 and scoring shots 6-4, while the Giants have the lead in disposals 109-107, tackles 18-10, marks 32-20 and hitouts 12-10.

Carlton 2.4 (16)
GWS 1.3 (9)

Carlton: E.Curnow, Durdin
GWS: Lloyd

Carlton: E.Curnow 12, Cripps 10, Newman 10
GWS: Cumming 9, Kelly 8, Ward 8, Whitfield 8

Carlton: De Koning 3, Newman 3
GWS: Cumming 5

The Demons make a promising start to their clash of the heavyweights with Geelong down at Kardinia Park.

Simon Goodwin’s side take a two-point lead at quarter-time, and they’ve done it largely thanks to their clearance domination (14-6), while they also lead the disposals 93-91, tackles 15-12, marks 25-23, inside 50s 12-10, contested possessions 36-33, free kicks 7-6, scoring shots 5-3 and hitouts 11-9.

Geelong 2.1 (13)
Melbourne 2.3 (15)

Geelong: Dahlhaus, Selwood
Melbourne: Pickett, B.Brown

Geelong: Henderson 9, Dangerfield 7, C.Guthrie 7, Menegola 7, Selwood 7
Melbourne: Oliver 12, Harmes 9, Langdon 8, Petracca 8, Salem 8

The Blues have made a decent start to their match with the Giants, restricting GWS to just one behind after 15 minutes while kicking 1.2.8 to take a seven-point lead.

Leading disposals: Newman 7, Cripps 6, E.Curnow 6, C.Curnow 6, Haynes 6, Kelly 6, Perryman 6, Stocker 6

Since Round 19, Carlton has conceded 103.5 points per game – ranked last. GWS Giants have conceded 71.2 points per game – ranked sixth. The Blues conceded the last 19 goals of the games against the Power on the weekend, conceding 140 points – the most they’ve conceded since 2019.

Betts and Casboult run through the banner for their final game for Carlton. It’s also Betts’ 350th game.

Meanwhile at Kardinia Park in the battle for the minor premiership, the Cats lead the Demons by three points after 19 minutes, 2.0.12 to 1.3.9.

Dahlhaus and Selwood are the goalkickers for Geelong while Pickett kicked the opener for the Demons.

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