Up in the Gold Coast the sun was definitely not shining late on Sunday afternoon in Metricon Stadium. For the outcome of a match that 98% of commentators, media people and the general public decided was that the Suns would beat, nay in some circles thrash Carlton. That the fact that last weekend when Carlton beat the Giants, was perhaps for some, a fluke. Oh how wrong were they!
The impact of targeting and harassing one Gary Ablett Jnr was, in the eyes of those watching and reporting, non-stop and persistent, to the point that during the match when said player was on the bench, he was angry and telling trainers this. Well, it worked because he was kept to a paltry, for him, 25 possessions and no score. This was all thanks to what can only be stated as the best game of this player’s career so far and a record breaker.
Yep, stand up and take a bow for an encore Mr Bryce Gibbs! I mean 43 possessions, 31 kicks, 8 marks, 10 tackles and to top it all off, 2 outstanding, game breaking goals. Whoever has said that Gibbsy will be heading back to Adelaide have absolutely no clue whatsoever; and to top it all off, how angry would Adelaide be right now for not doing all that they could to get him during the draft! Now they have no chance. In today’s Melbourne’s Age, Rohan Connolly Bryce Gibbs said quite determinedly, “I’ve had a couple of consistent years. I want to continue that at Carlton, keep developing the leadership side of my game…” Then finally saying that he would be one of those players that helped the club get to where we wanted to get, and that he played a significant role in that. No-one saw the maturing of a former number one draft pick become the stellar role model and outstanding player that he is becoming.
Two words, Liam Jones! Commentary around the wire was that Tom Lynch would dominate not only the game, but on the scoreboard as well, but no-one saw how much of an inspirational move that Carlton made to move Jones down the back last week, and to dominate this game. He kept Lynch to just 10 disposals and 1 point! He is fast becoming, together with ASOS a cult hero at Ikon Park and so he should be. He is playing dynamic footy down back. It is not the number of disposals that matters here, but what he does to stop a player who is considered one of the top in the forward line.
What no-one saw coming was a team that truly believed in what they are capable of achieving. That with persistence, determination and a passion for playing for the guernsey, anything is possible. The team stood up from the very first bounce until the final siren. The Curnow’s with that wonderful hug after Charlie sent the ball to brother Ed who kicked a beautiful goal. To the rise and rise of Jack Silvagni, scoring 2 goals and getting better and better with each and every match. To the stalwart that is Kade Simpson, Sam Docherty who was well everywhere and who commentators are now saying that other teams better keep him in check, which they say every Carlton supporter knows.
The players that just kept on going, Crippa, Plowman, Lamb, Wright, Boekhorst, Sammo, Cunningham, Fisher, the big man Krooz, Marchbank, the inspirational Murph, Weiters, Williamson. Despite Casboult’s misses, his handy hands at getting the ball proved to be game changers. Yet through all of these, I would have to say that Daisy Thomas stunned everyone. Two goal, 17 possessions, and that bump on Saad, was cringe worthy but shows that he is playing for the club with all heart. It seems that in the past year he has become settled, more content.
Carlton are now a team that other teams must sit up and take notice and that commentators and media people are starting to believe in the message that the club is now sending. They are not the team that Kevin Bartlett said on SEN this morning that after Richmond’s loss for the past few matches, that they Richmond, can take comfort that they have Carlton this weekend implying an easy win. They are not as Tony Jones said on the Sunday Footy Show, doing little to market their club. They are not the team that everyone thinks well, we’re playing Carlton, easy win.
After the bye, the Carlton are now a team that other coaches will be planning on how to stop Jones from dominating their forwards. They will be working out how to stop Docherty from moving freely around the ground. They will be working out how to stop a young, dynamic, hungrier, grittier and more determined team that no-one saw coming, except the die-hard Carlton supporters, who knew, we just knew.