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MRO update: Blue cops two-match ban for dangerous tackle

The former Bulldog received a two-match ban for dumping Cat Sam Menegola into the MCG turf in the Cats’ 30-point win on Saturday night. It means the son of legendary horse trainer David Hayes will miss the Blues’ next two games, against Greater Western Sydney and Adelaide, unless the club successfully appeals. Carlton will consider recalling ruckman Marc Pittonet for the clash against the Giants, while key defender Mitch McGovern could also come into consideration. Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Richmond co-captain Toby Nankervis is in the clear for his ground-level tangle with North Melbourne’s Flynn Perez at a ruck contest on Saturday. Nankvervis was reported on match day for making high contact with Perez, but it was unclear what happened on replay. Perez bounced back up and appeared uninjured after the skirmish.It is a huge reprieve for the Tigers as they fight for a spot in the eight against Fremantle on Friday night after Saturday night’s shock loss to the Kangaroos. The Tigers have fallen to eighth spot on the ladder and are locked in a battle with the Bulldogs and the Saints, who are also tied on 36 points, for the final spot in the eight. Richmond has a tricky run home to the finals with upcoming games against the Dockers, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Essendon. Damien Hardwick’s men may have to win four of their last five games to guarantee a spot in the eight.But new Blue Hayes will miss Sunday’s clash against the Giants and the Crows after he ploughed Menegola’s head into the grass from behind with a dangerous tackle in the first term. Hayes pinned Menegola’s arms at his waist and then pulled the Cat hard into the ground so his head slammed into the turf.Menegola was concussed in the incident and will miss Saturday’s clash away against Port Adelaide as he recovers under league protocols. The Hayes tackle was assessed as careless conduct, high contact and high impact, resulting in a two-match ban. It was graded high impact because Menegola was substituted out of the match and will miss at least one more game.It is an unfortunate setback for Hayes, who is trying to resurrect his career at Carlton after 11 games in three years at the kennel. He had 23 possessions and seven turnovers on Saturday night. Hayes was taken with pick No. 22 in this year’s mid-season rookie draft, having returned to the family’s horse racing empire after he was delisted by the Bulldogs last year. Voss on the reality of where Blues are at– Dan BattenCarlton coach Michael Voss conceded it would take time to fix some of the issues that plagued them in his side’s 30-point loss to Geelong, describing the defeat as an “important reminder” of where the club is at.Voss said he was discouraged throughout the match as the Blues were guilty of giving up too easily at stages when the going got tough, particularly in the second half when the Cats got on top.He implied that Harry McKay, who was unusually quiet with the one behind and nine disposals, was among that group but said he wasn’t helped by poor delivery up the ground that “really hurt us.”“A bit disappointed, but we got a really important reminder of what we need to look like moving forward. We’d like to make some adjustments immediately but the reality is that some of it is going to take a bit of time as well,” Voss said post-match.“It is something for us throughout the game that we couldn’t stay at it for long enough. For periods of time we were quite close and we had some periods of play there that were quite good for us.“One skill error, or lack of efficiency, really hurt us. And they were able to counterpunch off it when they needed to.“We certainly learn a lot out of this particular game. Sometimes (a loss) can give you great clarity of what you need to build and make stronger and clearly we played against a side that was well drilled and execute really well.”Voss hinted that McKay was one of the Blues’ players that wasn’t sticking to the task but said the poor delivery to Carlton’s forward 50 didn’t suit his match-up with Sam De Koning.“Sometimes you’ve got to keep turning up in the right spots even if it’s not your day and I think there’s a lot that I could say that about tonight. Again, we didn’t stick at it enough,” he said.“I thought across the board you’ve got to stick at it when things aren’t going your way and by the end we didn’t really help (Harry McKay) either, that match-up.“We certainly weren’t as respectable as what we should have and that made it pretty difficult for the guys up front to be able to try to get off their opponents.”Ruckman Marc Pittonet and swingman Mitch McGovern are in contention to return next week against Greater Western Sydney, but Voss said they would be cautious with the pair given their long injury lay-offs.Both players played in the reserves in their first game back from injury with Mitch McGovern performing “very well” with 17 disposals and a goal, while Pittonet tallied 15 disposals and 22 hitouts.“We will assess it more on Monday, Tuesday. McGovern came back as well and he performed very well but they’ve been out for a long time. We’ll still take the cautious approach if we need to. Cats highlight concerns over Blues’ finals credentialsGeelong faced a Carlton challenge and at the main break, it looked to be anyone’s game.But that challenge was short-lived as the Blues’ wasteful ball use going forward allowed the Cats to zone off and take intercept marks and burn them the other way.In stark contrast, the Cats’ efficiency inside 50 was first class and they looked dangerous with every entry, setting up a comfortable 30-point win at the MCG and solidifying their spot at the top of the ladder for at least another week.Carlton’s uninspiring performance, where they managed to kick just eight goals against the stingy Cats defence, puts a question mark over their hopes of going deep into the finals with clashes against top-eight sides Melbourne, Brisbane and Collingwood to come in the run home.Geelong’s slotted as many goals off turnover to three-quarter time as the Blues had kicked in total to that stage, as the re-invigorated Cats forward line regularly ran – or walked - into open goals.The Cats also managed to quell Carlton’s midfield bulls in Patrick Cripps, George Hewett and Matt Kennedy from a clearance perspective, with Mr Fix It Mark Blicavs regularly manning up Cripps at stoppages.Geelong also came up trumps in the hotly anticipated key forward duel with dynamic duo Jeremy Cameron (three goals and 18 disposals) and Tom Hawkins (14 disposals, two goals and six marks) outplaying Charlie Curnow and Harry McKayColeman Medal leader Curnow stole the show early with three first-half goals, but he had little support from Harry McKay, who was kept goalless and struggled to have an influence on the contest.De Koning brothersUnlike the McKay brothers, the De Konings have now met on an AFL field – and it was the younger sibling who got the points.Sam De Koning switched between last year’s Coleman medallist and this year’s Coleman Medal leader and continued his scintillating breakout season down back, clunking four intercept marks in the first half.Blues ruckman Tom De Koning had a solid night and provided a late highlight with a graceful snap from long-range which displayed his exceptional athleticism for a big man.I was saying Tuo-urnsCarlton fans clearly have long memories, with Zach Tuohy – who requested a trade away from the Blues in 2016 – receiving a mixed reception of boos and ‘Tuos’ from supporters at the MCG. And they had plenty of action early as Tuohy regularly picked off Carlton kicks forward – particularly early, where his intercepting helped set up two goals, with the experienced defender finishing as one of his side’s best.But the real boos were reserved for the umpires at three quarter time, with the Blues faithful feeling hard done by several decisions, including a 50m penalty against Sam Docherty.Hayes’ Blues debut souredWill Hayes was the feel-good story of this year’s mid-season draft and he got his chance to play his first full game in Blues colours after coming on as the substitute last week.The two-time mature ager – who was previously picked up as a 22-year-old to the Bulldogs in the 2018 draft – showed promise with 11 disposals to halftime after being handed his Guernsey by former No.40 Michael Jamieson.But Hayes faces a nervous wait after a dumping tackle on Sam Menegola in the early stages of the match, with the Cats midfielder’s head hitting the turf. Menegola remained out there but was eventually subbed out of the match in the second term after being assessed on the bench.Ruck clangerIf you’ve ever watched a Cats game, you would be aware Tom Hawkins knows his way around a forward 50 ruck contest – match commentary in particular generally gives you some fair warning.That’s why Hawkins being left unopposed at a ruck contest 30m out from goal was perplexing, and the result was a dribble goal from the goalkicker which rolled along the carpet agonisingly for the Blues. ScoreboardBLUES 4.1 5.1 6.3 8.7 (55)CATS 3.4 7.6 10.8 12.13 (85)BATTEN’S BESTBlues: Walsh, Curnow, Cerra, Docherty, Fisher Cats: Cameron, Tuohy, Hawkins, Blicavs, Selwood, De KoningGOALSBlues: Curnow 3, Cripps, Motlop, Hewett, Silvagni, De KoningCats: Cameron 3, Hawkins 2, Holmes 2, Stengle, Stanley, Atkins, Z.Guthrie, MiersINJURIESBlues: Nil Cats: Menegola (concussion)PLAYER OF THE YEAR3. J Cameron2. Z. Tuohy1. S.WalshIs this Geelong’s best chance to win elusive flag?Geelong has solidified its spot on top of the ladder but coach Chris Scott is not getting carried away after his side’s third top-eight scalp in the past month.The Cats have knocked off top-eight opponents Melbourne, Richmond and now Carlton, with two of those coming in convincing fashion over the past fortnight, and appear the favourites to take out the 2022 premiership.It shapes as their best opportunity yet after falling short after a second-half blitz in the 2020 grand final and countless other finals appearances where they haven’t been able to bring home the silverware. Asked if he was as well placed at any stage to win an elusive flag, Scott said: “I find it hard to look back and compare. We are such a look-forward operation.“Obviously we learn from history but every year is different. The one thing I know from experience is to not get ahead of yourself at round 18.“The great Leigh Matthews said the home and away season is about getting yourself into a position to contend, which is the challenge in front of us at the moment.”Scott was pleased with his side’s performance across the board with an even spread of contributors across the ground.He lauded the display of Sam De Koning down back who helped nullify reigning Coleman medallist Harry McKay, while Jeremy Cameron proved to be the most dangerous of all four key forwards with 3.3 and 18 disposals, including a stunning snapping goal from the boundary in the third term to extend the Cats’ lead.Scott was also happy with underrated Jack Henry, who kept Charlie Curnow goalless after halftime, along with underrated defender Jake Kolodjashnij. “(It was an even performance) in that I don’t think that three players won us the game. I thought our small forwards were really dangerous, our key forwards were a threat, De Koning and Henry were really strong and Kolodjashnij in our back half.Scott floated the possibility of resting players later in the season and giving players stuck in the reserves a crack, such as Esava Ratugolea and Quinton Narkle.Midfielder Sam Menegola was substituted out of the match in the second quarter with concussion and is set to miss next week under AFL protocols. Sibling rivalry: De Konings go head to head for first time- Rebecca WilliamsMickey’s Sports Bar in Bali is a long way from the MCG.But when brothers Tom and Sam De Koning run out for their first AFL match against each other in Saturday night’s Carlton-Geelong clash, you’ll be able to hear the cheers all the way from the Indonesian holiday hotspot.In the most unfortunate scheduling clash, the De Koning boys’ parents, Jackie and Terry, will be 4400km away on a long-planned Bali vacation as their sons face off on the field.“That very nearly killed me,” Jackie De Koning said from Bali.“We have a history of this happening.“We’ve had this trip to Bali (planned) and we’ve changed it for ages and I booked it at the beginning of the year, but the draw wasn’t out yet and of course the draw comes out and they are playing right when we are away.“It might actually be a bit easier because which (team’s) enclosure would we sit in? We can watch it (on TV in the sports bar) a bit removed and barrack for both of them.“Terry will be shouting at me to be quiet. He likes to watch all the plays and everything and I get a bit too social so we might have to sit a little bit apart from each other.“We are very sad to be missing it, but it’s really hard to be sad when we are sitting here in the beautiful 30 degrees.”The first AFL match between Carlton ruckman Tom, 22, and Geelong defender Sam, 21, is a big deal in the big, tight-knit De Koning clan.While mum and dad won’t be there, as two of 10 siblings – ranging in age from 20 to 35 – the brothers will still have plenty of support in the stands for the MCG blockbuster.Lining up as many tickets as possible for the family has been a top priority this week.As excited as the family was, the brothers were as pumped as anyone.“Growing up together and always kicking the footy out the front and coming up through juniors and stuff together, it’s a really huge occasion for us and for the family,” Tom said.“We have got all our family coming and I have got 20 tickets off the ticket guy and they are all ready to go, they are going to be sitting together so it is really exciting.“The two people missing will be my parents over in Bali.“They were thinking of changing their flights because they didn’t want to miss it.“But to be honest, they are really enjoying their time over there. They’ve been sending us videos every day and it looks very relaxing, so I think they don’t mind too much.“Hopefully there’ll be plenty more opportunities to watch us play in the future.”It might even be a better result for mum, according to Sam.“I think Mum might have been a bit too nervous going to the game anyway,” said the young Cat, lining up for his 16th AFL game.“Mum and dad have always said that they will just barrack for Tom and I … now that we are matched up on each other, they will just want us to have good games individually.“It will be great to be able to line-up against Tom and his team and I am super excited for it. “We only really played one small practice match against each other last year and that was for the VFL, so it is another level on top and I’m really looking forward to it.“It’s a pretty big day for our family.”FRIENDLY FAMILY FIREThe family group chat has been running hot this week ahead of the clash between the De Koning clan’s two youngest brothers.But Tom and Sam have kept the build-up to the match respectful, preferring to steer away from footy talk most of the time.You’re more likely to find the brothers chasing waves down on the surf coast together.“There has been a little bit (of talk), but there has been more banter probably through the family group chat. We have stayed pretty quiet,” Tom said. “Sam and I, we don’t tend to talk heaps about footy. I am always down in Torquay so we always go surfing and do things together down there.“When the time comes we have a good chat and watch games of footy together, but I think our relationship is really strong and we can sort of talk about anything, which is good.”But Jackie didn’t expect all the siblings to be as civil about the result.“There will certainly be a lot of banter going on among the siblings,” Jackie said.“There are always jokes going on. So whoever does lose is going to get paid out shockingly by the siblings.” Growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, the De Koning brothers have been surfing since they were kids. Their family would spend their weekends and school holidays together on the surf coast.“As one of 10 kids, we sort of weren’t really allowed inside when we were growing up. We were always kicked outside and forced to do stuff so as not to destroy the house,” Tom said.“So surfing was a big part of our family and obviously footy and a lot of outdoor sports which was good fun.“Both our parents being teachers, we headed to Torquay pretty much every weekend, every school holiday. We had a permanent caravan down there so we love that coastline.”EARLY COMPETITIONOnly 19 months separates the De Koning brothers in age and they have always been close.But, like most brothers, there was plenty of friendly competition.“When they were little, Sam just adored Tom,” Jackie said.“When they started Auskick, Tom was kicking around and jumping on the bags and Sam was this little three-year-old with long hair and big hands just running after Tom wanting to be just like him.“When he was growing up, we asked him ‘What do you want to be?’ And he said ‘I want to be better than Tom’ when he was only little.”While one is plying his trade as a ruckman and the other as a defender, Sam recalled both wanting to get on the end of some goals as kids.“We both liked to kick goals, we were both trying to be attackers back then,” said Sam, who grew up supporting the Blues.“We used to get a bit rough. We used to play games when whoever got the ball had to get tackled. It is definitely competitive between us but I love him.”Tom liked to think he always had an edge as the older brother.“I remember there were definitely a lot of fights and that sort of thing growing up, but we have definitely bonded in the last four or five years as we have gotten a bit older,” Tom said.“There is sort of an older brother mentality in our household so we feel like we have got the upper hand so hopefully that comes out to play this weekend.”But there is a door at the De Koning household that indicates the younger brother might now have the edge.“We have got a door at home with the measurements on it and we have measured the kids as they have grown up and Tom was ahead of Sam but I think Sam has just gone past Tom,” Jackie said.“So every time we are home they are back-to-back and they get on scales and they have got the banter going about who is bigger.“They have never played against each other before so there is always a lot of banter about what they are going to do to each other on the field.”BIGGEST FANSWhile both focused on their respective AFL careers at Carlton and Geelong, the brothers are each other’s biggest fans.Sam credits Tom, who was drafted two years earlier in the 2017 national draft, for giving him the motivation and belief that he could make it to the top level.“When he got drafted two years before I did, he kind of helped me in the way of just showing that it is possible,” Sam said.“I remember going to his first game against the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium and watching him run around out there. It was kind of like a moment for me where I just thought ‘Well, if he can do it, I can’. “And I kind of just took motivation from that and it kind of just gave me a bit of belief that I could make it to the top level as well.“We kind of keep our relationship outside of footy most of the time, so I would get pieces of advice (from him) here and there … but Tom just showed the way for me.“It’s exciting that we are both playing at the top level now.”Equally, Tom has drawn inspiration from the impact Sam has been able to make in his third year in the AFL system – and his first full year on field – taking on some big defensive roles and earning a Rising Star nomination.“It is his first full year getting matches every week and I am just super proud of him, he has worked his way to it,” Tom said.“I think he was playing forward/ruck last year and then transitioned back to the backline, which I think is his natural position and he is really excelling there and improving every week. “He has been really consistent which has been really awesome so I have really loved watching him grow as a player.”FUTURE FACE OFFWhile Tom’s teammate Harry McKay is still waiting to line-up against his brother – North Melbourne defender Ben – but the Blues forward has been tapping into the ruckman’s inside knowledge of his brother’s strengths.“He has been asking me about Sam as a player and what to do against him,” Tom said.“It should be a good match-up for Sam and a good challenge for him and also for Harry as well because Sam has been in pretty good form.“I have loaded him up with a few things so it should be good.“I can’t say too much now, we’ll have to see how it works out after the game.”And Tom said he would not be averse to a few cheeky jibes during the game.“I’m sure there will be a few, but it will be good fun I’m sure,” The Blues’ big man said.“I might have to load the boys up with some things.”.Tom said it would be exciting if the brothers got the chance to face off again in the finals this year, but mum Jackie wasn’t so sure how she would handle that.“This game is OK but I am terrified of the thought of them playing in the finals series,” Jackie said.“In the finals that would be a little bit harder because one has got to win and one has got to lose.“That’s going to be really hard.”‘Making goals out of nothing’: Dunstall names Coleman tipChampion forward Jason Dunstall has backed Charlie Curnow to complete a remarkable comeback from injury-cursed to Coleman medallist this season as the goal kicking race heats up when a quartet of gun forwards rock Saturday’s Carlton-Geelong blockbuster.In a key forward feast at the MCG, Curnow will take centre stage alongside Blues teammate Harry McKay with Geelong goal kicking stars Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron at the other end in what has the attacking ammunition to deliver an old-fashioned shootout.The match will feature the top three in the Coleman Medal race – Curnow, Cameron and Hawkins – and four in the top 10, including McKay.Between them, the quartet have kicked 175 goals this season as part of two of the most dangerous double-edged attacks in the competition.Hawthorn goal kicking great Dunstall, a three-time Coleman medallist, said the league was blessed to have such a strong crop of key forwards in the game at the moment but to have four in one match was a treat to behold.“I think that is the number one drawcard of the game, isn’t it?,” Dunstall said.“We are blessed to have a pretty good crop (of big forwards) but to have virtually all the top guys, bar one or two others, playing in the one game … I mean to have Curnow and McKay at one end and Cameron and Hawkins at the other, that’s enough to make people want to go to the footy I would have thought.“But to get four gun key forwards in a game, we very, very rarely get that.“It’s exciting. Even if they are kicking fours and fives, that’s something we don’t see on a regular basis these days and to have big blokes starting to impose themselves again, I think makes for better viewing. “It makes for a better contest, it gives us more variety in the game. I am loving it, I am really enjoying watching them all at the moment.”After more than two injury-ravaged seasons, Curnow holds a four-goal lead in the Coleman Medal race over Cat Cameron, while Hawkins is another three goals behind with six rounds to play in the home-and-away season.Reigning Coleman medallist McKay’s charge was thwarted somewhat after he was sidelined for a month when he suffered a lateral meniscus tear in Round 8. He sits on 36 majors.While Dunstall liked the way McKay was imposing himself on games, he tipped the Blues spearhead’s teammate to take his Coleman mantle.“I really like Harry McKay, but the way Charlie Curnow is going, he is making goals out of nothing,” the Fox Footy expert said.“So I think if he stays fit, he can win it.”Curnow’s eye-catching return to the game has been a highlight of the Blues’ surge this year.The 25-year-old had played just 15 matches in the past three years – missing all of the 2020 season – due to ongoing knee injuries but is now delivering on the potential he has promised.“He has picked it up really quickly and I think most people would have been thinking it would take him a while,” Dunstall said.“We know he has got a lot of potential but when you miss the amount of footy he has, you probably think it is going to take him a while to pick it up.“But it is amazing what a bit of continuity in your football can do and a bit of fitness under the belt and confidence in his body and all of a sudden he is not worried about anything, he is just focusing on attacking the ball.”Hawkins has topped Geelong’s goal kicking for the past 10 years, but could lose his mantle to Cameron, who kicked 39 goals from 15 games in an injury-interrupted debut season at Kardinia Park last year.Dunstall said it was hard to rate which of the four key forwards had produced the best season so far. “The funny thing is they are all very different players,” Dunstall said.“You could make a case for all of them. I wouldn’t like to separate them.“I do love watching Harry McKay impose himself. We are just starting to see what he is capable of, but Tom Hawkins has been doing that for the best part of the last 10 years.“Cameron and Curnow do not really play like your traditional forwards, they can play the high half-forward role, they can get it any different number of ways, off the ground, all those sorts of things. They have probably got a bit more flair about them.”Dunstall backed Geelong’s young key defender Sam De Koning to get the job on McKay.“I personally would put him on McKay,” Dunstall said.“It will be really interesting to see how that plays out. A lot depends on how high Charlie Curnow goes as well.“I just think Harry McKay is more your big, pack mark, fly for the ball, whereas Charlie will get more on the lead. He can still take a good mark, but he will get them off the ground, he will find different ways.“Personally I would have De Koning on McKay.”