Carlton hold off Pies in Bendigo

Carlton have seen off a late challenge from Collingwood to defeat the Pies by seven points in their AFL clash in Bendigo.

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In front of a sellout crowd of 9542 fans on Sunday, the Blues looked set for a blowout victory when they led by 33 points halfway through the first term, but a resurgent Collingwood made them work hard for their 1.9.8 (71) to 1.7.13 (64) win.

However, both teams left the match with injury concerns over their ruckmen.

The Pies’ Brodie Grundy was subbed out with a hip problem at halftime and the Blues’ Robbie Warnock copped a knock to a shoulder early in the third quarter.

He was briefly attended to by club doctors and took no further part in the match, but coach Mick Malthouse later said it was only a precautionary move.

Grundy appeared to be moving with great difficulty, but Nathan Buckley played down the severity of the issue.

“He’s all right – we can make bigger things of what they actually are, but he copped a knock,” Buckley said.

The clash was the first hitout of the NAB Challenge for some star players from both sides.

For the Blues, Chris Judd had an immediate impact and worked hard all match for his 23 disposals, with 10 clearances. Andrew Carrazzo was also impressive with 25 touches.

Bryce Gibbs skippered the side in Marc Murphy’s absence, but he played only one half before being subbed out.

Carlton brought in eight new players to the side defeated by West Coast and, with that many new faces, Malthouse said he had expected fluctuations in the team’s performance.

“We started off very well, but then we started to swim with gumboots and a raincoat – we just had to weather the game,” Malthouse said.

“With players coming in like that they’ll go for it then they’ll need a breather. The best things out of these games are that you get a game into those guys.”

For Collingwood, Scott Pendlebury (16 possessions) showed flashes of his trademark class, Dane Swan (12) was quiet early but got better as the game went on, and Travis Cloke largely struggled to get into the game, finishing with one goal.

The Blues’ Andrejs Everitt started with a bang with three goals, two regulation and one nine-pointer, in the first quarter.

He roamed further afield after that, but he and Liam Jones combined well in a first half, when tall target Levi Casboult had little influence.

The Pies fought back well late in the first term, with Jarryd Blair bagging two goals in his first game of the pre-season series, but the Blues were able to keep them at arm’s length despite their best efforts.

Collingwood got to within two points late in the third quarter, but could never get their noses in front as the Blues hung on for the win.

Carlton’s Chris Yarran was at his eye-catching best off half-back with 21 disposals, while Levi Greenwood was the Pies’ leading possession winner with 17.