Carlton v Knights

Round 6 Match report by David Arnold
Carlton v Melbourne Knights

Dunkers called it a scrappy game, but after watching Knights-Sydney, he would have compared it [favourably] to Brazil-France.

No changes from the team which impressively beat Brisbane on the road last week. Eg, Vlahos retains his place. Allsopp, Grella on the bench. Hunter made his comeback, but sadly for the youth team.

The Knights would have to improve on their season if they are to make the playoffs. An attacking strategy would have been to put Stabber in midfield, coming up against the lightweight Carlton midfield. However, with him marking Jonesy, Baninni on Vlahos and Davidson sweeping, it's a wonder the Blues scored at all. It also indicated just exactly what the Knights came for.

I am worried that Carlton's superior fitness will be matched as the season develops, Carlton have killed teams in the last 20 minutes of the games. Well, we'll see.

From the whistle, the Carlton midfield is totally outclassed. Lapansky has a mare in the first half, and never recovered. Marusic was acting the role of spoiled foreign git. The only consolation was Atkinson, who performed impressively in the deep role.

Furthering my comments regarding the Carlton approach centered around Jonesy/Marusic and running from midfield, it would appear that a Knights spy reported thusly to Worden. Only once in the first half does Jonesy set up Marusic for the cross (although with Stabber, you wonder why he bothered).

Also I've noticed that Carlton are a very aggressive team when passing. Hardly any balls go backwards, it's sideways or forwards. And if you have no options going forward, switch play around the back to the other flanker. Good, basic stuff.

Opposing teams are going in hard on Marusic. Adelaide's Yates went in later than a Howard policy change last home game, this time another late challenge left Marusic writhing on the deck. Feyenasty Rottendam repeated?

It has been said that every great team is built on a solid defence. With Douglas and Cervinksi, Anas in goal is hardly troubled at all. Of the 5 goals Carlton have conceded, 1 was from Frogger, 1 from Naven no keeper could have stopped. The 5th of these came from a near post header from an inswinging corner. Little a keeper can do in this situation. Right before halftime too, just like Perth.

Carlton had two excellent efforts. One, a rocket from Douglas just over the bar, whilst Trajkovksi slipped in Vlahos, who inexplicably let the ball run under his feet, Markovski firing straight at Didulica when following up.

Furthermore, I thought a certain penalty should have been awarded when a short cross hit a Knights player in the arm. But the ref awarded a no-no.

I should point out that a Knights player was down injured for a period in the first half. The scoreboard flashed a shot involving an amublance coming on the field - utterly hilarious.

The second half - well not much cop. Markovski caught Didulica with a boot in the head, it looked nasty, but there didn't seem to be anything nasty about it. Certainly if he'd intended to maim he would have gone in with both feet. A pretty disappointing effort from Big Man John, subbed out by Bacak.

Bacak himself just failed to arrive at a cross. That moment aside, he looked a little lost coming up against his old teammates. As did Danny, coming on for Vlahos.

Marth took the Knights closer to the promised land with an otherworldy kick which ended up in the stands.

Atkinson equalised for the blues, a clearance landing just outside the box where he gratefully accepted it, going in off the post.

The Knights were a much better team than last week, Atkinson forced into a number of last ditch tackles. We played the trap really well again, and whenever we didn't, we covered back well and prevented the options.

Which leaves Marusic. A long, frustrating day, and he of course has to bitch about something. A misplaced pass by a teammate has Keko mouthing off to the bench in frustration. Well, do you want the player subbed off, Keko? Wanker.

The Knights came close during the closing stages. Cervinksi, under pressure, almost slices a clearance into his net. Then a throughball finds an attacker going across goal, but fortunately just wide.

Pondeljak and the entire Knights defence impressed, ditto Cervinksi Douglas and Atkinson.

The crowd was again disappointing (reaching for my soapbox). 6000 for the derby game? Well, at least the Knights have only 1000 or so supporters who can be arsed to differentiate between that shithole somers street and that rather ordinary optus oval...