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ONE YEAR ON: Jarrod Berry

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Opposition Watch: Round 18 v Carlton

Michael Gosman  July 19, 2017 2:55 PM

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Our next opposition, the Carlton Blues, went down by 20 points in a scrappy encounter with the Western Bulldogs in Round 17.

The Blues made a fast start at the MCG, slotting three goals within the opening 10 minutes to race out to an early lead.

Under pressure to break a two-match losing streak, the reigning premiers responded quickly, rattling off five consecutive goals to take control of the contest.

Carlton struggled to hit the scoreboard after their opening burst, only kicking three more goals leading up to three-quarter time to trail by 26 points heading into the last.

Three goals in the final quarter brought the final margin back to 20 points for the Blues, with the Bulldogs running out 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62) winners. 

Bryce Gibbs continued his excellent form of late for Carlton, finishing with 32 possession, eight clearances and a goal.

Influential ruckman Matthew Kreuzer also had a big game, tallying a half-ton of hit-outs and five clearances.

Kade Simpson and the recently re-signed Liam Jones had strong matches in defence and they will be integral parts of Carlton's side for Sunday. 

Carlton Coach Brendan Bolton lamented skill errors and poor decision making in the post-match press conference.

"I thought it was a scrappy game. There were a lot of fundamental skills errors, probably from both sides but particularly from us, particularly with some errors forward of centre and decision-making, which we missed with some opportunities to hit the scoreboard," Bolton said.

"I thought all of our players at times were a little bit scrappy, that's probably the best way to assess it.

"We had moments. I thought we started the game really well, we finished well, we had a crack late, we had some looks, in between it was scrappy."

The loss was Carlton's fourth in a row and leaves them in 16th place on the ladder, with five wins so far this season. 

Carlton has lost its past three games at the Gabba, with its last win coming in Round 9, 2013. 

Injury List

Carlton’s depth will be put to the test this week with an injury toll that continues to grow.

Dale Thomas was a late withdrawal from the loss to the Bulldogs with a calf strain and he will undergo a fitness test later this week to ascertain whether he is right to play on Sunday. 

Tom Williamson (back), Caleb Marchbank (shoulder), David Cuningham (groin) and Ciaran Byrne (groin) will also undergo fitness tests ahead of Sunday’s match.

Lions Health Centre: Injury List

Ed Curnow (larynx), Dylan Buckley (hamstring), Alex Silvagni (knee), Simon White (knee), Patrick Kerr (hip) are all a couple of weeks away from returning to action.

Star midfielder Patrick Cripps is out for the season after breaking his leg two weeks ago.