Injuries to key players detract from brave effort by the crows at the MCG.
The Carlton Blues are back in the hunt this AFL season, after wrapping up a 32-point win against the Adelaide Crows at the MCG.
At times the Carlton midfield let their opponents control the pace of the game too much, but injuries to key players for the Crows killed-off their chances of victory, as the Blues won 17.13 (115) to 12.11 (83).
Key full forward Taylor Walker is set to spend between six to 10 weeks on the sideline, after suffering a suspected posterior cruciate ligament injury, after hyper-extending his right knee after failing to spoil a mark.
Walker left the field soon after the injury and his absence for the Crows meant coach Brenton Sanderson needed to restructure his forward line, with Andy Otten doing a job up front in kicking three majors.
Adelaide did not make good use of the ball early with several turnovers hurting their cause.
Andrew Carrazzo goaled off the back of a handy tap from the ruck to give the Blues a handy two-goal lead early in the clash.
Carlton followed it up with a goal straight from the restart as Chris Yarran continued his excellent form to blitz the Crows’ defence.
With Adelaide’s Walker leaving the field the Blues took a stranglehold on the game as Chris Judd scored to take the lead to 28 at quarter-time.
Carlton were guilty of bombing away too often to get inside 50, with their small forward line benefiting more if they were to run the ball in or look for a target.
Bryce Gibbs kicked a vital goal just before the half-time break to give them a 34-point lead
which was at least what they should be in front by given the injury to Walker.
Carlton’s Andrew Walker secured 18 possessions through the first half at an efficiency rate of 81 per cent to lead from the front.
Crucially Adelaide scored the first goal for the third quarter as Richard Douglas converted from in front before Otten made ran into an open goal square to cut the margin to 25.
Carlton answererd through Heath Scotland with a sublime goal from the right forward pocket.
However, only three marks had been taken to date inside Carlton’s forward 50, again highlighting their lack of a big target up forward.
Rory Sloane and Patrick Dangerfield were the best for the Crows, as they continued to run themselves into the ground as the side battled on with a lack of substitutes.
Bryce Gibbs subbed off for Carlton to start the second half with hamstring tightness, with the change just precautionary, with Eddie Betts coming on.
Betts celebrated his return from injury to kick the Blues’ third goal in a row to take the margin to a game-high 43 points in the shadows of three-quarter time.
Adelaide continued to fight, but their inability to shut down the Blues in their defensive area continued to be a concern.
Despite being down two rotations, Adelaide kicked four of the last five goals in the third term to make the margin just 23 points, as the visitors continued to apply pressure.
Tom Lynch continued the Adelaide comeback by kicking truly to make the margin 17.
Yarran scored his third major for the game to give his side some breathing space thanks to a 24-point lead as the Blues sealed the game as Garlett sealed the game with his fourth for the game.
See the Taylor Walker injury below that changed the course of the game: