Carlton has survived a second half wobble to beat Western Bulldogs and continue their perfect start to the 2022 season.
Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh set the tone in the middle as the Blues recorded a statement 12-point win despite coach Michael Voss’ absence, who entered COVID health and safety protocols last week and was forced to coach remotely.
“There’s nothing he can’t do right now, he’s hit the season hot,” Gerard Whateley said about the Carlton captain on AFL Nation.
“What a delight it is to watch Patrick Cripps free and able to move when he wants,” Nick Dal Santo added.
The feel of the game was set early under the lid at Marvel Stadium as the ball zipped from end to end as both teams traded goals in the first term.
As the Dogs mounted a late fightback, they'll be left ruiing a stretch of play in the final term where they scored five straight behinds with the game on the line.
Cripps was in ominous form right from the opening bounce, collecting 12 touches and kicking a goal in the first team before going on to become the dominant player of the night.
“The Blues are unstoppable,” Whateley said in commentary during the second quarter as Carlton’s piled on their third consecutive major.
Earlier, there were concerning scenes in the Western Bulldogs rooms after an ambulance was called to attend to Hayden Crozier after he was subbed out, with the club later confirming he was OK and didn’t need to go to hospital.
Charlie Curnow lit up Marvel Stadium, with his astonishing five-goal game highlighted by three crucial majors in the second half to steer the Blues home.
Harry McKay – who was quiet in last week’s season-opening win over Richmond – roared back to life with four goals in the first half. One wonders just how dominant Carlton’s forward line can be when he’s firing alongside McKay and Tom De Koning.
The Dogs didn’t lie down after half time, kicking the first two majors in the second quarter and then two of the first three goals in the final term.
One positive for the night for Luke Beveridge’s side was Jamarra Ugle-Hagan’s game as the former number one draft pick played his first match of the season and presented as a constant aerial target all evening.
With Voss back in the coach’s box, Carlton will looking to make it three wins from three when they take on Hawthorn on Sunday week at the MCG.
Meanwhile, all the Dogs’ attention now turns to a pivotal clash against Sydney at Marvel Stadium next Thursday where they’ll be desperately looking to notch up their first win of the season.
Western Bulldogs: 4.1, 7.3, 11.5, 13.12 (90)
Carlton: 5.2, 12.4, 8.5, 16.6 (102)
Western Bulldogs: Hannan 2, Liberatore 2, Scott 2, Naughton, Ugle-Hagan, Treloar, Bontempelli, Dale, English, Weightman
Carlton: Curnow 5, McKay 4, Silvagni, Cripps 2, Fisher, Owies
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Treloar, English, Hannan, Liberatore
Carlton: Cripps, Curnow, McKay, Walsh, Hewett, Kennedy, Williams
Western Bulldogs: Hayden Crozier, replaced by Bailey Williams.
Carlton: Oscar McDonald, replaced by Lachie Plowman.
Crowd: 34,961 at Marvel Stadium.