VFL practice match report: Blues v Dolphins


The Northern Blues were victorious in a physical contest against Frankston.

 (PHOTO CREDIT: Carlton Media)

THE Northern Blues recorded its first victory of the pre-season with a gritty five-point win over Frankston.

In a physical and scrappy game, it was a solid result for a young Northern side featuring no AFL-listed players and five players under 19.

The low-scoring affair went goal-for-goal for the majority of the night, with the Blues holding on in a 6.9 (45) to 6.4 (40) win.

Despite a relatively inexperienced side taking the field, Northern provided strong forward pressure, intercept marking, speed down the wing and through the corridor as well as intense tackling efforts all around the ground leading to a narrow win in a low scoring game. 

The experience of Mason Blakey was evident on field, with his vocal and physical efforts being the highlight of the game. 

The return of Kieran Collins was welcomed with open arms, as he proved to be a general down forward, with strong marking, pressure and slotting a goal. 

Northern started off strong from the bounce, with Joe Richards administering some strong tackling out of the centre. An early 50-metre penalty led to Northern’s first goal from Benjamin Hurley, with Archi Manton converting the second. The experience of Mason Blakey was evident, as he proved to be an excellent connector between defence and attack. The returning Kirean Collins provided a strong target in attack, managing to keep the ball in Northern’s forward 50.

In a very scrappy term, the ball got passed from end to end with no result. Northern provided some very strong midfield pressure, with youngster Jack Boyd showing some promising signs in the ruck. Jeremy Goddard – the brother of Carlton’s Hugh – showed consistent signs in the midfield with his run and carry, while Jarrod Walters laid some big tackles and contributed to intercept marking. Manton kicked Northern’s only goal for the quarter.

The best-on-ground Blakey was once again everywhere in defence, adding tackling to his impressive showing as a one-man wall. Always a dangerous forward threat, Richards pushed forward from the middle to hit the scoreboard, while Kye Quirk began to step up with some key moments down back. Youngsters Ryan Gardner and John Roumeliotis had some important cameos, with Gardner setting up his teammates while Roumeliotis’ showed a physical presence.

The Blues tightened up their forward line this quarter, with forward pressure and setting up for forward entries leading to Northern’s two final goals. The returning Collins was welcomed with open arms, proving to be a general in attack and kicking a goal to give the Blues the lead at the beginning of the final term. Mitch Kemp ran well between the arcs to provide some drive, while it was left to Richards to seal the win with his second goal of the game from a set shot.

NORTHERN BLUES 2.2 3.5 4.7 6.9 (45)

FRANKSTON 0.2 2.3 5.3 6.4 (40)

Northern Blues: A. Manton 2, Richards 2, Collins, Hurley