Freo falls at home
Carlton 2.1 6.2 9.4 10.5 (65)
Fremantle 1.2 3.9 4.10 7.15 (57)
Carlton: Garlett 2, Walker 2, Robinson 2, Hampson, Waite, Betts, Simpson
Fremantle: Hill, Mayne, Ballantyne, Clarke, Pavlich, Crowley, McPharlin
Carlton: Simpson, Gibbs, Murphy, Robinson, Scotland, Walker
Fremantle: Hill, Duffield, Mzungu, Pavlich, McPharlin, Crowley
Carlton: Kane Lucas replaced Zach Tuohy in the final quarter.
Fremantle: Lachie Neale replaced John Anthony in the third quarter.
Umpires: Margetts, Farmer, Dalgleish
Official crowd: 38,847 at Patersons Stadium
Carlton has bounced back to form, downing a fast-finishing Fremantle by eight points at Patersons Stadium on Friday night.
The Blues lost their first match of the season to Essendon last weekend, but took control of Friday night’s contest either side of half-time, an unbroken five-goal run propelling them to a 10.5 (65) to 7.15 (57) victory.
It was a contested, low-scoring game, increasing typical of Fremantle under Ross Lyon, but Carlton was up to the challenge, taking more risks and using the ball supremely to carve through their opponents’ zone.
The Blues built a 30-point lead late in the third quarter, but were forced to withstand a late rally, with the home team booting the last three goals of the match.
The Blues notched their fourth win of the season without a big influence from captain Chris Judd, who was held to 17 possessions by Fremantle stopper Ryan Crowley.
The Brownlow medallist did fight back to have eight clearances for the game and some telling touches in the final term, with Blues coach Brett Ratten saying post match: “He’s just a true champion of the game, he finds a way.”
Kade Simpson (35 possessions and one goal), Marc Murphy (28) and Mitch Robinson (21 and two) were all important for the visitors, who lost key midfielder Andrew Carrazzo to a shoulder injury last week.
Bryce Gibbs patrolled half-back expertly, while Andrew Walker was dynamic in the forward line in his return to senior level, booting two goals.
“I thought the third quarter really changed the game,” Ratten said.
“The stoppage work from our boys really got the game back on track for us and gave us a bit of breathing space.”
Fremantle was handicapped by inaccuracy in front of goal and poor foot skills up the ground, gifting the Blues eight goals from turnovers.
But the biggest hurdle to victory for the home team appeared to be a defensive mindset that saw them push forwards up the ground, robbing them of targets in attack.
Lyon’s men controlled the match in many ways in the opening half, but they kicked just one goal in the third quarter, the term when Carlton made its match-winning break.
“When we had ascendency and dominated the second quarter, to kick 2.7 against what everybody believes to be a top-four team … you need to put scoreboard pressure on,” Lyon said of his team’s earlier inaccuracy.
“Then to cap it off with a poor turnover just before half-time and to come out just after half-time with another really terrible turnover, I didn’t think it was a true reflection of how far we were in the game.
“We really fought on but the earlier errors and lack of accuracy put us under too much pressure.”
Despite losing star ruckman Aaron Sandilands, Fremantle won the clearances 38-32, with Stephen Hill (19 disposals and five clearances) particularly impressive, despite close attention from Dennis Armfield.
Midfielder Nat Fyfe played through obvious pain after suffering a partial dislocation of his left shoulder against the Brisbane Lions in round three, and the joint was tested in a heavy collision with Blues ruckman Matthew Kreuzer halfway through the second quarter.
The young star, who had his left shoulder lightly strapped, pushed on to have 22 disposals and five clearances, while Michael Barlow (28 and five) and Tendai Mzungu (26) battled hard in the midfield.