AFL 2021 Carlton v Fremantle: Key forward Harry McKay boots seven goals in Blues win over Dockers

The glorious re-emergence of the key forward continued unabated on Sunday as Carlton youngster Harry McKay got in on the action by booting a career-high bag of seven goals to inspire a 45-point smashing of Fremantle at Marvel Stadium.

McKay had already equalled his previous best of four majors by the 18-minute mark of the second term and could easily have threatened double figures, given he also missed quite a few other gettable shots, finishing with five behinds and one that missed all together.

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Big Harry McKay, celebrating a goal with Eddie Bett, had a day out for the Blues. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Coach David Teague said Blues fans can expect more heroics from his big forward, with the benefit of new key-forward-friendly rules and the return to 20 minute quarters.

“Tall blokes, particularly key forwards don’t get any shorter throughout the game,” Teague said.

“The length of the quarters is opening the game up and it’s played with a little bit more speed in the ball.

“Harry hasn’t had a lot of pre-seasons in the four or five years he’s been at the club … he’s probably had a good a one as he’s had this year and to be honest, it’s a scary proposition but he’s still working on his craft.

“He’s a tough man (to play on), he’s 204cm, and when you put your arms up, it takes an effort for a defender to actually get to the ball.”

After the Blues started the year 0-2, Teague said he “put it on” his leaders to get the job done against the Dockers, and he felt they answered the challenge.

Patrick Cripps was back to his best for the Blues. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Co-captain Patrick Cripps was particularly good, and Teague felt he set the game up for the Blues.

“He played the way he know he can and we never lost belief in him,” Teague said.

With 15 intercepts for the game, Teague thought Liam Jones was a standout in defence for Carlton as well.

The Dockers were missing nine first-choice players, including dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe (concussion), Rory Lobb (knee) and Alex Pearce (knee), and after quarter time they looked like a side missing close to half their best side, falling 61 points behind the Blues midway through the third term.

The visitors’ pressure and intensity completely evaporated, and their usually well-drilled backline became uncharacteristically disorganised as the Blues midfield totally overwhelmed them.

Carlton young gun Sam Walsh found a mountain of the footy. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Carlton kicked seven goals in a row in the first half as the contest resembled more of a training drill than an AFL match. The Blues would end up comfortably winning the disposals 427-317, clearances 43-29, inside 50s 64-43, marks 117-78 and contested possessions 145-127 as they kicked their biggest score since Round 12, 2015.

The Blues’ height across the ground proved to be an issue for most of the game too, and it was something which the Dockers could not remedy. Despite missing forwards Jack Martin (knee), Zac Fisher (ankle) and Charlie Curnow (knee), Carlton ran riot in attack with McKay leading the way with an outstanding performance against Brennan Cox.

New recruit Zac Williams hurt his ankle during the game, but he is expected to be fit for round four while Will Setterfield (gastro) should also be available after he was a late withdrawal.

AFL: Carlton coach David Teague speaks about his team’s round three encounter with the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium….

AFL: Carlton coach David Teague speaks about his team’s round three encounter with the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium.


Carlton split the game wide open in the second term as they piled on 6.4 to Freo’s 1.3. The Blues helped themselves to the first 13 inside 50s and emphatically won the category for the quarter 23-7. In fact, it took Fremantle 16 minutes to get their first forward entry for the term. By the 18-minute mark, six Dockers were yet to touch the ball as the Blues doubled Freo for clearances 13-6 and dominated the disposals 123-73 as well as contested possessions 46-30 to ensure the result was assured by halftime.

Thumbs up if you had a blinder in win. Patrick Cripps was in everything for the Blues. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


After a slow start to the season by his own lofty standards, Carlton Cripps returned to some of his best form to be one of his team’s best players. He finished the day with 34 disposals (18 contested), 11 clearances and, with goalkicking an issue for him in recent years, capped off his fine afternoon with two converted set shots from directly in front. His protege Sam Walsh wasn’t too shabby either with a game-high 37 touches (13 contested) and eight inside-50s.

Liam Jones getting the fans on their feet 👊


The Carlton backman was one of the major reasons why the contest was over by halftime. Jones was a brick wall in the Blues’ defence, registering 10 of his 15 intercepts of the game before the major break to snuff out any hope of Freo mounting a meaningful attacking effort. He finished the game with 20 touches and nine marks.


Eddie Betts’ first game of the year would have undoubtedly ensured an extra couple of thousand footy fans attended Sunday’s game and the little legend didn’t disappoint them. Late in the second quarter he produced a vintage dribbler from a sharp angle in the pocket that split the big sticks and elicited the loudest noise from the crowd for the entire afternoon. Just prior to the restart, chants of “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie” rang out around the stadium.

See where that footy is headed? Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

We know how you feel, Zac. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

The painful aftermath of the low blow. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia


Williams had a rough first half – in the first quarter he limped heavily from the field and went straight to the rooms to have his ankle attended to. And then in the second term, he had to come from the ground again in a world of pain after Adam Cerra soccered the ball straight into the most sensitive part of his groin area (if you know what I mean).

The mural says all you need to know about the Blues’ dominance. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia


CARLTON 3.5 9.9 13.11 16.13 (109)


FREMANTLE 3.1 4.4 6.7 9.10 (64)


Blues: McKay 7, Cripps 2, Newnes, Fogarty, E.Curnow, Betts, Murphy, Silvagni, Gibbons. Dockers: Walters 2, Taberner 2, Colyer, Frederick, Darcy, Giro, Switkowski.

AFL: A vintage Eddie Betts goal, in his 200th game as a Blue – highlighted the second quarter of action between Carlton and Fremantle on Easter Sunday….

AFL: A vintage Eddie Betts goal, in his 200th game as a Blue – highlighted the second quarter of action between Carlton and Fremantle on Easter Sunday.


Blues: McKay, Cripps, Jones, Walsh, Fogarty, E.Curnow, Docherty

Dockers: Ryan, Serong, Giro, Frederick.


3 — H. McKay (Carl)

2 — P. Cripps (Carl)

1 — L. Jones (Carl)


Blues: Nil

Dockers: Young (hamstring), Schultz (concussion)

LATE CHANGE: Setterfield (illness) replaced in Carlton’s selected side by Cottrell.

UMPIRES: Donlon, Stevic, Glouftsis

VENUE: Marvel Stadium

Brennan Cox was destroyed by Harry McKay, but his coach says the defender’s teammates were to blame. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir believes his team hung key defender Brennan Cox out to dry on Sunday.

Cox had the unenviable task of playing on Carlton forward Harry McKay, who kicked a career-high seven goals at Marvel Stadium.

Longmuir was unhappy with the way his side defended all over the ground, he was adamant it made Cox’s job nigh on impossible.

The Fremantle coach agreed his side reached a critical mass with the absence of key defenders Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling.

AFL: Fremantle Dockers coach Justin Longmuir speaks to the media after taking on Carlton in round three at Marvel Stadium….

AFL: Fremantle Dockers coach Justin Longmuir speaks to the media after taking on Carlton in round three at Marvel Stadium.

“Especially when we don’t defend the way we want to defend,” Longmuir said.

“And they get out the front of stoppages and centre bounces, I don’t know if many players could’ve defended McKay with the way the ball was coming in today.

“And not having Hamling and Pearce limits your options, there was literally no one else we could put on him to try and give Coxy a chop out.

“The rest of the team hung Coxy out to dry, really, with the way the ball was getting delivered in there.”

Andrew Brayshaw came in for some treatment from Patrick Cripps and the Blues. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

Young midfielder Andrew Brayshaw came in for some physical attention from Carlton’s midfielders, and Longmuir said he told his players at halftime that they shouldn’t sit back and allow one of their teammates be treated like that.

“We can’t allow teams to do that to us,” Longmuir said.

“We need to take that lesson out because it’s not good enough.

“When a team is getting dominated like we were, it’s OK to rip into them but you also need to give them some hope as well and you need to give them some process to go forward with.

“We try and strike the balance but there were a few harsh words spoken, I suppose (at half time).”

Originally published as‘Scary’ McKay’s Dockers demolition only the beginning: Teague

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