McKay concussed as Blues’ headache continues

Carlton‘s finals hopes have gone up in smoke after a disappointing loss against an undermanned West Coast team condemned the side a 4-8 start to the season.

Despite missing the likes of Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly, Jeremy McGovern and Josh Kennedy, the Eagles were in control of the contest throughout the afternoon, eventually finishing 14. 11. (95) to 10. 13. (73) winners at the SCG.

The win at the SCG was West Coast’s first at the venue since the 1999 season.

Carlton’s disappointing performance once again caused several ex-players to question the selflessness of players, with same players once again left to carry the load.

The Blues’ task was made more difficult when Coleman Medallist Harry McKay was left concussed after a marking contest in the opening quarter, and while young gun Tom De Koning stepped up with three goals, it was ultimately not enough.

“It’s left up to too few. McKay going down early didn’t really assist them because he’s been so good as that target up forward,” Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said on Fox Footy’s coverage.

“At times it seemed too hard for the Blues players and even individual efforts from the Carlton players where you go, ‘That’s more worrying about themselves rather than what they can do for the team’.”

The loss for Carlton continued a trend of relatively close losses, with David Teague’s team’s largest losing margin this season being a 28-point loss to Port Adelaide.

“That’s probably the frustration for Carlton supporters. I don’t think they want the honourable losses anymore,” Geelong great Jimmy Bartel told Seven.

“I think they’ve got a lot of good personnel in their side and on their list as well, they’ve just got to get the balance right between attack and defence and also the understanding of how each player’s role effects teammates.

“We’re seeing that with Melbourne, we see it with Richmond, the guy who does the hard defensive running is just as important as the guy who gets the footy.”

The win was an impressive bounce-back result for the Eagles, after being overrun by Essendon at home last week.

In the absence of Kennedy and Oscar Allen, Liam Ryan was sensational up forward, kicking four goals and grabbing another stunning Mark of the Year contender.

Midfield duo Andrew Gaff (30 disposals and six clearances) and Dom Sheed (32 disposals and eight clearances) picked up the slack in Kelly’s absence, while Elliot Yeo was also prominent in the middle.

Sam Walsh was once again Carlton’s best player with 30 disposals, while captain Patrick Cripps was left battered and bruised en-route to his 22-disposal performance.

McKay was not the only player to suffer a concussion, with teammate Nic Newman also left dazed after a frightening landing in a marking contest, while Eagles defender Brad Sheppard was also concussed after a head-clash with Adam Saad.

The win leaves West Coast in seventh position on the ladder with a blockbuster clash against Richmond scheduled for Round 13, while Carlton will go into the bye pondering another lost season.

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