Wake-up call from coach Malthouse helps Carlton fight back
A GOOD old-fashioned "rocket" from new coach Mick Malthouse fired Carlton into gear and saw the Blues become just the fourth team to win both their games in the opening round of the 2013 NAB Cup yesterday.
GWS looked on target for an upset win against Carlton who went in without the likes of Chris Judd, Matthew Kruezer, Jarrad Waite, Shaun Hampson, Levi Casboult and Kade Simpson.
But a spray from the former West Coast and Collingwood premiership coach at half-time saw the Blues bang three late games to escape with a two-point win, 0.4.10 (34) to 0.5.2 (32) at Blacktown.
Carlton then completely dominated 2012 premiers Sydney to run out 22-point winners 1.5.7 (46) to 0.3.6 (24) in the second game.
If Malthouse had been less than impressed by his new team's effort in the first half against the Giants, he would have liked a lot of what he saw afterwards.
The team's attack on the ball jumped several levels on what was produced last season, and young talls like Sam Rowe, Shaun Hampson and Levi Casboult showed they could be a handful for opposition defenders by taking several strong marks up forward.
Rowe's appearance was the feelgood story of the day, the youngster overcoming testicular cancer to line up for the Blues. He finished with two goals and provided a strong prescence in attack.
Malthouse sprung a surprise by playing livewire forward Eddie Betts in the midfield, the goalsneak responding with a fierce attack on the ball that was not always evident under former coach Brett Ratten.
After David Ellard banged through the first goal of the match against Sydney, Betts snared a tap out from the restart before handballing a teammate then charging forward to gather the crumbs from the kick and springing away to boot arguably the goal of the entire NAB Cup round one matches.
The Swans were totally outplayed and managed just two points in the first half.
They improved marginally in the second stanza, goals to Tommy Walsh, Alex Johnson and Sam Reid adding some respectability to the scoreboard.
If Sydney was disappointing against Carlton, it was worse in the final game of the day, humbled by a much-improved Giants outfit by 24 points, 7.10 (52) to 4.4 (28).
Recent predictions that GWS was set to be a powerhouse in the not-too-distant future looked ominously on target as youngsters like Adam Treloar, Jonathon Patton, Adam Kennedy, Toby Greene, Stephen Coniglio and Jeremy Cameron showed they were ready to take another step forward this season.
Whether they can win more than a handful of games in 2013 is open to debate, but the class to turn the club into a premiership threat in three or four years is there for all to see.
Round 2 matches
Bulldogs v Hawthorn
Geelong v Adelaide
Gold Coast v Kangaroos
Essendon v Richmond
Giants v Lions
Carlton v Dockers
Port Adelaide v Melbourne
St Kilda v Sydney
West Coat v Collingwood