Sydney’s bubble burst as Teague’s Blues revival continues
Swans 8.14 (62) Carlton 9.15 (69)
A day after Sydney locked away one of the AFL's most experienced mentors on a long-term contract, it was a coach at the other end of the spectrum who prevailed at his expense. David Teague's third victory as Carlton caretaker, a seven-point win over the Swans, has further strengthened his case for a permanent gig.
It was ugly footy on a beautiful day in Sydney, but the aesthetics mattered little for the visitors. As they have been since Teague took the reins, the Blues were daring and energetic, defying near gale-force winds – and withstanding a late salvo from the Swans – to record their first triumph at the SCG since 2011.
Carlton director Chris Judd said to much consternation this week that the club didn't want a coach with "training wheels", but Teague's incumbency is mounting its own compelling argument.
The Swans, in contrast, were reactive, sloppy and uncertain. They spent all but two-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter behind on the scoreboard, chasing their own tails. The Blues had 19 more contested possessions, beating Sydney at their own game.
Even worse, it was a former Swan who proved the best player on the park, with Nic Newman (32 disposals, 13 marks) routinely chopping off his old side's attacks across half-back.
John Longmire, who signed a fresh three-year contract extension on Friday, has rebuilt this team on the run but always maintained they were a long way from the finished article. Their 10th defeat of the year and second in a row was a sobering reminder of that.
Finals are now well and truly out of the equation for Sydney, and the bubble that expanded with their mid-season wins over West Coast, Hawthorn and Gold Coast appears to have burst.
As suggested by the full-time scoreboard, this 8.14 (62) to 9.15 (69) clash was a game that perhaps not even the players' mothers would have loved. It was a willing contest, but little more than that. Levi Casboult, with two, was the only multiple goal-kicker on the park.
For Carlton, the result pulls them away from likely wooden-spooners Gold Coast, who they face next weekend. Back-to-back wins look a real chance. But they'll be without defender Hugh Goddard for that match and probably a few more after his first game for the club ended in a trip to hospital, following a collision with Nick Blakey's elbow in a marking contest.
There were clear blue skies overhead on Saturday but despite appearances, the conditions were truly horrendous. So windy was it at the SCG that neither side could run out through their banners before the match. Had they gone up, they would have been instantly torn to shreds.