No one gave Melbourne any chance in this clash of the winless. The Demons had lost their previous seven games against the Blues by an average of 53 points and hadn't won a game since June 29 last year. It was meant to be a comfortable ice-breaking victory for Carlton, and everything appeared to be going to script when the Blues kicked three of the first four goals. Almost from that moment, the Demons dictated terms, piling on 10 of the next 13 goals to stun the Blues. On game eve, under-siege Carlton coach Mick Malthouse quoted Irish War of Independence figure Terence MacSwiney, who said: "It is not those who can inflict the most, but those who can suffer the most who will conquer." The Blues are suffering. Badly.
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2. Free agent Frawley increases his value
With Melbourne's great forward hope Mitch Clark retiring mid-week to address his mental health, they were heartened by the welcome return of Chris Dawes for his first game of the season. Despite being underdone, the ex-Magpie kicked two goals from outside 50 and his strong physical presence was crucial. But Dawes was not the Demons' most pivotal forward. That honour, surprisingly, belonged to defensive general James Frawley. An unrestricted free agent at season's end, Frawley led the Blues' defence a merry dance, setting the tone with five marks in the first term and slotting two goals himself. On Triple M, Demons great Garry Lyon even quipped that Frawley was "playing like 'Buddy' Franklin".
3. Jones wins battle of midfield guns
Melbourne hard nut Nathan Jones revealed during the week that he was still smarting from Carlton players saying three years ago that his team played "bruise-free" football - and the bald ball-magnet played like a man hellbent on reaping revenge. It was somewhat surprising that Jones was given the tagging job on Blues skipper Marc Murphy, who quickly went deep forward to take Jones into unfamiliar territory. In the end that Murphy ploy proved futile because Jones was still the most dominant ballwinner on the field. At one point he held Murphy to just six touches in 65 minutes. Murphy has reached a critical juncture, with his leadership and ability to handle a tag being questioned.
4. Blues restructured forward line misfires
Carlton swung the axe at selection, dumping its two most prolific goalkickers, veteran Jarrad Waite and Jeff Garlett. But they won't spend long in the VFL. For much of the contest the Blues appeared to miss this these outstanding athletes and potential matchwinners, with Lachie Henderson the only consistent target in attack. It was left to crumber David Ellard to ignite his team with two goals in as many minutes in the second term to swing the momentum back the Blues' way before half-time. Another small, Chris Yarran, was ever-dangerous.
5. Tough young tyros provide hope
Though at slightly different stages of development, bull-at-a-gate midfielders Patrick Cripps and Jack Viney showed just what strong presences they will be for their clubs over the next decade. Prized draftee Cripps, making his AFL debut for the Blues after dominating in his first VFL game last week, showed glimpses of why he has been nicknamed "The Extractor" and likened in some ways to club great Greg Williams. Though caught a couple of times in the first half, the man-child had a hand in several forward thrusts and at one stage unleashed his signature move: winning a hard ball under physical pressure at ground level and dishing off a bullet-like handball to a runner. Meanwhile, Viney was instrumental in the Demons' gutsy performance.