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CARLTON recorded its biggest win over Richmond in 13 years, winning by 61 points at the MCG.

After an even first half, the Blues swept their opponents off the pitch on a cold winter’s day in the home of football, scoring 20 goals in a 20.11 (131) to 10.10 (70) victory for the second week in a row.

Patrick Cripps marked Zac Williams’ 150th game with a win and was again instrumental with 40 possessions, while Orazio Fantasia (four goals) and Lachie Fogarty (three) featured in attack on another good day for the Blues.

Adam Cerra also emerged unscathed from his first game back from a thigh injury, recording 23 possessions and eight goal involvements in limited playing time after being substituted in the final quarter when the game was already won.

quarter to one

It was an old-fashioned battle between the Tigers and Blues after downpours earlier in the day made for a slippery affair at the MCG. Carlton had the upper hand early on in terms of possession, with Nic Newman successful behind the ball in the early stages as Richmond followed on. Patrick Cripps set up the first goal of the day for good mate Sam Walsh as the Blues captain was forced to concede 14 turnovers in the first quarter. As always when these two sides meet, the Blues had to fight for every opportunity against a resilient Tigers, who scored two goals in a row to take an early lead. Zac Williams’ milestone goal was disallowed on review but there was no doubt that Charlie Curnow’s 55-metre effort gave the Blues a late lead. Blake Acres worked tirelessly for his 12 possessions on the wing, but despite leading in possessions, inside 50s, contested possessions and tackles, the Blues only had a three-point lead at the first change.

Quarter two

The Blues came out of the quarter break with a lead and attacked ball and man with all their might to gain an advantage over their opponents. Within the first 12 minutes the Blues had scored four more goals to build a comfortable 29-point lead. The Blues small forwards went to work, chasing the Tigers in numbers and taking advantage in front of goal with Orazio Fantasia, Lachie Fogarty, Elijah Hollands and Matthew Owies converting in quick succession. Just when the Blues seemed to have control the Tigers came back and fired goals in haste from midfield to reduce the gap to two goals. Williams scored a milestone goal at the second attempt thanks to an assist from Curnow but the Blues were unable to keep the Tigers down. In his first game in seven weeks, Adam Cerra had a superb performance in the second quarter, recording 11 possessions (six contested) and a crucial tackle to hold the ball late in the game. A specter for Michael Voss and Carlton was that Richmond’s contested possessions allowed them to get back into the game and the lead was reduced to two goals at halftime.

Quarter three

The last few weeks have been all about how Carlton have swept teams off the pitch in the final quarters. In Round 16, however, the Blues were at their brutal best in the third period, reminiscent of the Carlton teams of old. After Noah Balta kicked the first goal and Richmond came back with a kick, Carlton – on the back of captain Cripps – put in an incredible performance. With seven consecutive goals, including six in 12 minutes, the Blues completely won the game. Cripps scored 16 goals in the third quarter alone and the Blues had options everywhere in attack, with Lachie Fogarty setting a career high with three goals. The captain was not alone, of course. Walsh and Acres again stepped in on busy afternoons, while Jordan Boyd and Adam Saad built play with their ball work at half-back. Carlton was absolutely dominant in the final 20 minutes of the third quarter, recording +36 possessions, +20 marks and +10 inside the 50. At the end of the quarter, the Blues had a 45-point lead.

Quarter four

All the Blues needed to do in the final period was consolidate what they already had and that’s exactly what they did. Adam Cerra, who had successfully returned from injury, was taken off the game out of caution for George Hewett to ensure the Blues didn’t lose any of their power on the ball. After the Tigers scored early, the Blues fought back, with key forwards Curnow and McKay – who had been well held throughout the day – both hitting strong and kicking multiple goals for the day. In his best game yet as a Blue, Fantasia cashed in the final period and kicked his third and fourth goals to close the game out in style. The only concern for Carlton was Matthew Kennedy, who went off late with a knee injury in another crucial quarter for the Blues and kicked another six goals to reach the 20-goal mark for the second year in a row in a 61-point win.

RICHMOND 2.1 6.2 7.6 10.10 (70)
CARLTON 2.4 7.8 14.9 20.11 (131)

GOALS
Carlton: Fantasia 4, Fogarty 3, Cincotta 2, Curnow 2, McKay 2, Walsh 2, Cripps, E. Hollands, Kennedy, Owies, Williams

PREFERABLY
Carlton: Cripps, Newman, Acres, Walsh, Fogarty, Saad, Fantasia