“Disastrous” second quarter “coughed up” two points: Harford

A DISASTROUS second quarter that allowed Port Adelaide to kick four goals to nil effectively “coughed up” two points during Carlton’s 4.3 (27)-all draw with the Power on Sunday. Coming off a nail-bitting one-point win against a fast-finishing Essendon, the Blues looked in control early with the first two goals of the game before the Power slotted four second term goals to take the lead at half-time.

Though Carlton was able to regain more control and keep the visitors to just one behind in the second half, the Blues would fall short of collecting the full four points.

“In the end we played really well for three quarters and we coughed up one and we leave with two points,” Harford said. “That’s the summary of the play very quickly. “Really pleased with how we responded in the second half.

“We were comprehensively outplayed in that second quarter, outhunted and outworked, but to be able to rally and rebound from that and get to a point where we could win the game was really pleasing. “That second quarter looked pretty disastrous in many respects.”

Harford was complementary of Port’s ability to compete, and said that the Blues brought the heat early, and regained the ascendancy in the second half after being unable to match the Power in that second term.

“Lauren’s done a great job with building this foundation of their game being pressure and competing and we knew that was how we had to beat them to match them today to walk away with the four points. Our first quarter was terrific, our contested ball, our clearances, our ability to get out in the space was really positive and then they upped their anti in the second quarter and we didn’t do it.

“But we rallied as I said and that last quarter in particular, showed that we’ve got plenty of fight, this group’s got plenty of fight and not just going to sit there and accept what’s happening if it’s not going our way, so I was really pleased with that element of it but they keep them goalless and to two points for three quarters, and you still draw, there’s a bit of a problem.”

Harford said losing the game off one quarter was frustrating, but described the team as being in a “growth phase”. The Blues coach said he was pleased that his players were trying to play as close to perfection as possible, but understood the development took time.

“We’ve got new players in the team, we’ve got players in different roles, so it’s all about coming together and becoming cohesive as a team, and that doesn’t happy over night. We know that and we understand that,” Harford said.

“We would like it obviously to be faster and much more effective much quicker but we understand this is a growth phased for our group and our list, so whilst we’re trying to make it perfect, it’s never going to be perfect at this stage. “That’s the pleasing part, at least they’re trying to do the right thing, sometimes it goes right, sometimes it doesn’t and we find ourselves in this situation today.”

After being trialled on the wing last week against the Bombers, skipper Kerryn Peterson again had an eye-catching display, picking up 21 disposals, three marks and three tackles, whilst recording the most metres gained of any Blue with 401.

“The skipper was fabulous, worked really hard on the wing, defends really well, got a defensive mindset rom the first five seasons in the competition and now we’re just adding another layer to her about the contest work and then being able to attack as well on the back of that in open space hopefully,” Harford said. ‘I thought she was enormous today.”

Though they did not get the result, the Blues celebrated three 50-game milestones in Breann Moody, Jessica Dal Pos and Elise O’Dea. Harford said it was important to mark the milestones, with all three hitting the scoreboard in the draw.

“Moods has obviously been here since the start and has really grown the last couple of years, she’s blossomed into one of the most powerful performers in the whole competitors,” he said. “Dal and June (O’Dea) are recent acquisitions but great humans first and foremost and great people around our footy club and great leaders and today had a great impact around the contest.

“Dal had 10 tackles today playing that forward half role and that was a huge effort from her, June hit the scoreboard and had some really good moments from contests so they’re the leaders of a group that’s got a couple of leaders, more experienced players, not much in between then a lot of young players, so we need them to show our young group how it goes.”

The Blues prepare to take on Fremantle next week with the Dockers still searching for their first win. Fremantle did push Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park on Friday night, and the Blues will be looking to maintain the effort they showed outside the second term against the 0-3 Dockers.

“We’ve got to make sure the list is healthy, get everything in the right space physically but also mentally to travel across and get the job done,” Harford said. “Last year didn’t go very well for us over in Perth. “We’d like to do something about that, but we saw them play here Friday night and they were much better in the game against the Bulldogs.

“They’re growing, they’re getting some players back, players in condition. “We know know it’s going to be a huge challenge to go over there and get the choccies but that’s the plan.”

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