Last year’s wooden spoon side Carlton Blues appeared much improved based on their performance in the inaugural game of the 2016 AFL season, giving the Richmond Tigers a scare regarding their premiership ambitions and losing at the end after succumbing to fatigue in the final quarter.
It was only a stout effort by Richmond at the end that enabled them to come out ahead by nine points when the final siren sounded. The final score of 92 – 83 in favour of Richmond could easily gone the other way but for Carlton’s late clangers.
Leading the Tigers by nine points at the outset of the fourth quarter, the Blues saw one goal attempt by Sam Kerridge shanked before a seemingly sure kick from straight in front by Levi Casboult gave the grateful Tigers a reprieve.
Richmond kicked four of the last five goals to overtake Carlton, but the Blues outplayed the Tigers with 45 more disposals and they even took one more scoring shot. They disrupted the Tigers with 37 turnovers in its forward half, something they have not done since 2002.
Marc Murphy, who did not play at all during the NAB Challenge, looked nothing like a player suffering from a lack of preparation and contributing a most formidable workrate.
Carlton supporters will be much buoyed by the new and improved side the Blues are sporting this season.