The Blues’ defense was torn to shreds. Their game will be closely watched as Cameron’s speed overwhelms Nick Newman and Adam Saad fails to provide his usual rushing centre-back.
Carlton’s midfield scoring was high, but the Lions’ touch was more telling. Josh Dunkley easily won his duel with Patrick Cripps. Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage contributed numerical weights.
In a frantic first season with 10 goals scored, the Lions took advantage early on, testing the Blues’ defense with their quick passes through the middle.
Cameron was as lively as ever. The same goes for Joe Daniher, whose long-range goal after Ed Curnow’s sloppy kick showed the best of his talents. He set up another assist for Cameron, again on a costly kicking error.
Bruce’s approach is obvious. When open, the ball was passed quickly and long to Curnow and McKay, who both kicked the ball in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, due to the forward pressure of the Lions, the Blues invited the Heat and played poorly. Their strategy and game failed. are all related.
When the ball did go over center, Curnow and McKay rested for most of the quarter, hopeless. The Blues struggled in their second half and bit the bullet as the Lions failed to make the most of their chances.
Their perseverance paid off with an opportunist goal from Jesse Motlop just before half-time.
The Blues surprisingly replaced midfielder Matthew Kennedy with Lewis Young, although the defender kept Eric Shipwood goalless and had just seven strikes. As Young does not appear to be injured, this appears to be a substitution made for tactical reasons. Out of desperation, Michael Wirth switched magnets, moving Brody Kemp to Shipwood and Sam Doherty back in defence, with Kennedy providing new support to the battered midfield.
Often, when a team reaches the top, it comes from the influence of their primary mover. That wasn’t the case with the Lions, who dominated their second season despite barely having the ball in Lachey Neal, Will Ashcroft, Zach Bailey and Cam Rayner. The star quartet managed just eight properties between them.