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Match report: Blues shrug off injury to stun Cats

Highlights: Carlton v Geelong The Blues and Cats clash in round 10
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 29: Steven Motlop of the Cats an Ed Curnow of the Blues compete for the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 10 match between the Carlton Blues and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium on May 29, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Steven Motlop and Ed Curnow battle for the ball

TWO MEN down before half-time, including inspirational skipper Marc Murphy, Carlton has caused a massive upset, defeating Geelong by 19 points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Blues won their fifth game for the season, 16.8 (104) to 12.13 (85), beating the Cats for the first time in 15 attempts at the Docklands venue.

Full match coverage and stats

With midfielder Liam Sumner also sidelined due to injury from quarter-time, the Blues embarrassed Geelong by running and tackling harder, answering every challenge thrown at them.

First-year coach Brendon Bolton praised the players for digging deep to overcome the obstacles, describing the win as gutsy.

"You lose your skipper who has led from the front in Murph in the first quarter and Liam Sumner started the game really well with some really good pressure and to lose him … I think it more needs to reflect on our players and their bond and care for each other," Bolton said.  

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The Blues' pressure was outstanding, forcing a fumbling Geelong into mistakes and uncharacteristic turnovers and then using superior speed to capitalise on the scoreboard.

Geelong coach Chris Scott said the Cats failed to deliver in the areas they focused on during the week.

"I thought we executed them really poorly in the first quarter. The fundamentals were really poor as well. That is two weeks in a row we have really fumbled under pressure, had some really good looks to score … and mucked them up," Scott said. 

Geelong was unable to match the Blues inside the contest, Bryce Gibbs dominating in the first half with five clearances and 19 disposals before finishing the game with 34 touches and two goals.

Sam Docherty was outstanding in defence and Ed Curnow not only did a blanketing job on Joel Selwood but ran hard enough to gain 16 handball receives and 29 disposals.

Carlton won both the clearances 41 to 35 and the psychological battle, with Cam Guthrie the only Cat who looked likely to influence the contest.

With the midfield restricted, the Cats' forward line lacked movement and cohesion, with Tom Hawkins wanting to wrestle rather than get on the move and Shane Kersten and Steven Motlop struggling to get into the game.

At times Geelong's defence looked slow as Carlton applied 14 tackles inside their forward 50 in the first three quarters.

Everyone waited for Geelong to hit back hard, but when they did in the first half of the third quarter the Cats could not successfully use the space created inside 50, blowing several opportunities to make Carlton pay.

The Cats also continued the trend of missing set shots and gifting the opposition goals with terrible turnovers in the back half.

 

The Blues absorbed the Cats' pressure, and then kicked two consecutive goals to stretch their lead to 26 points late in the third quarter, after which Geelong never recovered.

Levi Casboult, who played despite suffering a depression fracture of the leg two weeks earlier, was important in the first half, kicking one goal and creating others when he courageously smashed packs.

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Matthew Kreuzer, who finished the game with 11 tackles, recovered from a meniscus operation less than two weeks ago and won crucial contests in the early part of the final quarter to stop Geelong from gaining momentum.

It was a heroic performance from Carlton, which has now won five of its last six games, while Geelong is out of form and faces a rebounding Greater Western Sydney at Simonds Stadium in a huge match next Saturday. 

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said Murphy and Sumner would have scans on their injuries on Monday while the Cats will sweat on news about Rhys Stanley, who injured his foot late in the game.

Marc Murphy in a moon boot after the win over the Cats. Picture: AFL Media

MEDICAL ROOM
Carlton: 
Murphy will have scans on his ankle after injuring it in the first quarter when Patrick Dangerfield tackled him, while Sumner is also doubtful after injuring his ankle. Jacob Weitering appeared to hurt his knee but played out the game while miracle men Casboult and Kreuzer got through the game unscathed.

Geelong: Stanley left the ground with 10 minutes remaining after injuring his foot and will be assessed early in the week, although the Cats are concerned. Geelong hopes Lincoln McCarthy will return and Daniel Menzel is likely to be available after being rested. Tom Ruggles was a late withdrawal after struggling with an eye infection during the warm-up. He was replaced by Jordan Murdoch, but should be available for selection next week.

NEXT UP
Carlton will hope to keep its momentum going with a win over the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium. The Blues will start favourites to extend their season's wins to six, while Geelong faces a searching test at home against Greater Western Sydney, which it lost to in round two. 

CARLTON          4.0   10.4   13.6   16.8 (104)
GEELONG          3.6   6.8   9.11   12.13 (85)  

GOALS
Carlton: Everitt 4, Armfield 3, Gibbs 2, Gorringe 2, Murphy, Curnow, Casboult, Walker, Lamb
Geelong: Motlop 2, Gregson 2, Guthrie 2, Enright, Stanley, Bartel, Smedts, Smith, Hawkins

BEST
Carlton: Gibbs, Docherty, Armfield, Curnow, Rowe, Cripps, Simpson
Geelong: Guthrie, Dangerfield, Duncan, Bartel, Stanley, Henderson

INJURIES
Carlton: Murphy (ankle), Sumner (ankle), Weitering (knee), Armfield (leg)
Geelong: Stanley (foot)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Pannell, McInerney

Official crowd: 33,535 at Etihad Stadium