THE chorus of voices screaming at Luke Beveridge to hand Jamarra Ugle-Hagan an AFL debut will have to wait at least another week after the No.1 pick was concussed in Footscray’s win over Carlton at Whitten Oval on Sunday.
Ugle-Hagan kicked an outstanding set shot goal from the boundary in the first quarter, but ran into James Parsons’ shoulder while attempting a tackle shortly after and was withdrawn from the contest, which the Bulldogs won by 18 points to hang onto top spot after withstanding a late rally from the Blues.
Young Bulldog Cody Weightman provided the highlight of what was a largely error-riddled and uninspiring game, soaring above Carlton co-captain Ryley Stoddart to pluck a mark of the year contender from the few clouds floating above Whitten Oval in the first quarter.
His kick unfortunately hit the post and the match degenerated almost into a snorefest as the teams traded turnovers – while a series of confusing umpiring decisions paid both ways did little to lift the quality of football.
The Blues couldn’t kick a goal until the 10-minute mark of the second quarter, and didn’t boot their second until 16 minutes into the third as Footscray did enough to have the game under control on the back of a dominant display from Mitch Wallis. The Bulldogs’ AFL vice-captain had 29 disposals, nine marks and a goal to keep himself in selectors’ minds.
Backman Lewis Young was also outstanding, regularly picking off Carlton’s wayward forward entries to finish with a huge 17 marks and a game-high 31 disposals.
Footscray looked safe when captain Lachie Sullivan gave it a 31-point lead in the first minute of the last quarter, but the Blues, who had only kicked two goals to that point, pulled a purple patch out of the mire.
Although Ben Crocker’s first goal was quickly answered by Wallis, Carlton then piled on five unanswered majors – three to Crocker to give him four for the quarter – to level the scores 24 minutes in.
But Josh Schache won a dubious free kick after being surprisingly denied what looked like a clear mark and restored the Bulldogs’ lead, before Ben Cavarra rolled home his second from the boundary and Weightman nailed a set shot on the siren to seal a fourth consecutive victory.
Matt Kennedy (one goal), Will Setterfield and Tom Williamson all had 24 disposals for Carlton, as did Nic Newman, who showed he was close to an AFL recall in his second game back from a knee reconstruction by also grabbing nine marks.
There was another blow for the Blues, with former Brisbane Lion Toby Wooller sitting out the second half with heavy ice packs on his right ankle and kidney after a heavy collision just before the main break.
Sunday’s other scheduled match between the Casey Demons and Sydney was postponed, likely to be played in either Round 6 or Round 10, due to the COVID-19 scare in the NSW capital last week.
SUNDAY, MAY 9
Footscray 11.11 (77) def Carlton 8.11 (59)
Casey Demons v Sydney postponed
SATURDAY, MAY 8
Collingwood 14.11 (95) def Coburg 13.13 (91)
Williamstown 17.13 (115) def Frankston 4.7 (31)
Southport 24.9 (153) def North Melbourne 7.4 (46)
Box Hill Hawks 8.5 (53) lost to Werribee 13.12 (90)
THURSDAY, MAY 6
Geelong 17.15 (117) def Northern Bullants 11.6 (72)