Main content

Revved-up Yarran powers Carlton to NAB Challenge win over Collingwood in Bendigo

Match highlights: Pies v Blues Collingwood and Carlton head to Bendigo in the NAB Challenge

A REVVED-UP Chris Yarran has fired Carlton to a seven-point NAB Challenge victory over Collingwood in front of a sell-out crowd in Bendigo.

Yarran's dash and dare from the back half was pivotal throughout the game, but especially as the Blues skipped out to an early 33-point advantage midway through the first term.

The Magpies reeled their arch-rivals back in after some tinkering defensively and a clear lift in effort, but it was Yarran and defensive partner Kade Simpson who continued to cause headaches as the Blues closed out the 1.9.8 (71) to 1.7.13 (64) victory.

Click here for full match coverage and stats

Sporting flashy red boots, Yarran collected 21 disposals and five rebound 50s to dictate terms and kick-start Carlton's improved offensive efficiency.

Coach Mick Malthouse, who returned to the coaching box after missing the Blues' first NAB Challenge hit-out against West Coast to support wife Nanette through surgery, revealed he is prepared to shift his attacking philosophy.

Displaying the Blues' newly-adopted directness and flair, two torpedoes from kick-ins by full back Michael Jamison landed in the centre circle. 

Skipper Chris Judd was the difference maker around the contests, winning 23 disposals and helping himself to a game-high 10 clearances.

But it was Andrejs Everitt who kick-started Carlton with two goals and a booming supergoal in the first term.


The Blues fed off Everitt's energy as they opened with six of the game's first seven goals. 

Carlton's lateral ball movement created gashes in Collingwood's defensive zone; Yarran and Simpson leading the way as the Blues repeatedly manufactured fast breaks.

Malthouse said his team would need to pick its moment to play at break-neck speed.

"I don't think it's possible to last that long in a game," he said post-match. "You can't do that for four quarters, but if it gets you a lead or it puts you in a good position, then well ..."

The Magpies worked their way back into the contest after quarter time on the back of a clear lift in effort. Recruits Levi Greenwood (17 disposals) and Jack Crisp (14) cracked in and made the most of the contest, while skipper Scott Pendlebury was at his consistent best with 16 disposals.

"We didn't defend particularly well early," coach Nathan Buckley said after the match.

"We were a little bit disappointed with our consistency in our defence. We went in undersized down back ... we made a few decisions based on the best preparation for some of our players.

"We asked Toovey and Langdon and Oxley to play some tall back roles, and we didn't help them early, allowing some free movement from half back early in the game."

Buckley downplayed an injury to young ruckman Brodie Grundy, who was subbed at half-time, leaving the ruck duties to US import Mason Cox.

Carlton ruckman Robert Warnock left the game worse for wear in the third term after sustaining a shoulder injury, while stand-in captain Bryce Gibbs also appeared to be favouring his shoulder.

The Blues play Geelong in their final pre-season hit-out at Etihad Stadium next Sunday, while Collingwood faces the Western Bulldogs at the same venue on Saturday night.


Collingwood: The Magpies' thin big-man stocks could cause problems if injury decides to strike this season. The Pies went into the game with Brodie Grundy and former US College basketballer Mason Cox in the ruck, but when Grundy went off in the third quarter, after copping a knee in a marking contest, the Pies began to look shaky in the middle of the ground.

Granted, Jarrod Witts, who had shoulder surgery in the off-season, played in the VFL on Saturday and is likely to come in for round one. However, the Pies are placing a lot of faith in their young ruckmen to deliver in 2015.

Carlton: The Blues were often criticised for their defensive style of play in 2014, but we got a snapshot of what Mick Malthouse's team might dish up this season. And that fast-paced, break-neck ball movement was certainly attractive to watch at the Queen Elizabeth Oval. Chris Yarran, who might be the most dangerous half-back flanker in the League, was central to Carlton's new-found dynamism, alongside Kade Simpson.

In tactical terms the AFL coaches expect attack to catch up to defence this season and it's clear, based on Sunday's proceedings, that Malthouse is trying to gain ground on the rest of the competition.


Collingwood: Levi Greenwood led the club's disposal count with 17, while former Lion Jack Crisp (14) also made a strong contribution, his toughness around the contest standing out. Travis Varcoe shed the green vest to get involved in the second half and the way he breaks the lines is going to be important for the Pies this season. Youngster Jordan De Goey was much quieter than he was against the Hawks.

Carlton: Malthouse and his coaching staff will have been impressed by the contributions of some of the club's recruits. Kristian Jaksch was sturdy across half-back, while Blaine Boekhorst showed plenty forward of centre. Ex-Dogs Liam Jones and Jason Tutt made an impact, with Tutt's speed causing a few headaches for the opposition. Clem Smith also did his bit as he looks to push his case for round one.

COLLINGWOOD   0.4.1    1.6.7    1.6.10    1.7.13 (64)
CARLTON             1.5.1    1.7.3    1.8.6      1.9.8 (71)

Collingwood: Oxley
Carlton: Everitt

Collingwood: Blair 2, Gault, De Goey, Fasolo, Cloke, Broomhead
Carlton: Everitt 2, Jones 2, Bell, Tutt, Boekhorst, Carrazzo, White

Collingwood: Greenwood, Crisp, Blair, Pendlebury, Sinclair, Fasolo
Carlton: Yarran, Judd, Simpson, Carrazzo, Everitt, Jaksch, Jamison

Collingwood: Grundy (side)
Carlton: Warnock (left shoulder), Gibbs (shoulder), Judd (eye)

Collingwood: Travis Varcoe replaced Brodie Grundy (hip) in the third quarter
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Meredith, O'Gorman, Bannister, Findlay

Official crowd: 9,542 at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo