CARLTON has broken its 2021 duck in style, with Harry McKay’s seven goals guiding the Blues to a 45-point AFL drubbing of Fremantle.
The Blues responded from a slow start to break the game with 12 of the next 13 goals from late in the first quarter in a destructive display at Marvel Stadium.
Under the pump after falling to 0-2 for the ninth year in a row, Carlton were as impressive as the Dockers were poor in the 16.13 (109) to 9.10 (64) result on Sunday
The margin blew out to as much as 61 points in the third quarter, but Fremantle fought the game out to avoid further embarrassment.
Key forward McKay received silver service from a midfield which destroyed Fremantle’s onball brigade.
After booting four goals on All-Australian defender Darcy Moore last week, McKay had a career-best game but it could have been even better after having 13 shots on goal.
In exciting signs for Carlton fans, co-captain Patrick Cripps returned to form and only got better as the game wore on to gather 34 touches, 11 clearances and kick two goals.
Fellow midfielder Sam Walsh (37 possessions) was everywhere, Liam Jones was spectacular in defence in recording 15 intercepts, while ex-Geelong player Lachie Fogarty impressed in his third game for the Blues.
Veteran forward Eddie Betts was quiet in his first game for the year but did manage to dribble through a classic goal in the second term as the crowd roared.
Star Blues recruit Zac Williams was off the ground for an extended period late in the first quarter but was able to play the game out with his left knee strapped.
It was Fremantle’s heaviest defeat since Justin Longmuir took over as coach ahead of the 2020 season, with the Dockers struggling without injured skipper Nat Fyfe.
To top off a dirty day for the Dockers, they lost key defender Luke Ryan (knee), Lachie Young (hamstring) and Lachie Schultz (concussion).
(C) AAP 2021
CARLTON 3.5 9.9 13.11 16.13 (109)
FREMANTLE 3.1 4.4 6.7 9.10 (64)
Goals: Carlton: H McKay 7 P Cripps 2 E Betts E Curnow J Newnes J Silvagni L Fogarty M Gibbons M Murphy. Fremantle: M Taberner 2 M Walters 2 M Frederick S Darcy S Giro S Switkowski T Colyer. Umpires: Chris Donlon, Matt Stevic, Eleni Glouftsis.
Official Crowd: 24,551 at Marvel Stadium.