Patrick Cripps and the Blues have been blown away in both their first quarters this season. Picture: AAP Images
Patrick Cripps and the Blues have been blown away in both their first quarters this season. Picture: AAP Images

Damning stats highlight Blues’ ugly first-quarter issues

CARLTON wants its players to show greater composure early in games to help turnaround its run of poor first quarters.

The Blues have been outscored by 63 points in their two first quarters this season and have won only seven of their past 24 opening quarters dating back to the start of last year.

And they face a huge challenge on Saturday night when David Teague's men attempt to chalk up their first win over Geelong in 24 years at GMHBA Stadium.

Carlton haven't won at the venue since Stephen Kernahan captained the club in 1996.

Co-captain Sam Docherty said the club knew it had to fix its slow starts and spoke about the issue across various team meetings on Monday.

"We have got to get our first quarters right," Docherty said.

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Carlton has been blown away in both its first quarters this season. Picture: AAP Images
Carlton has been blown away in both its first quarters this season. Picture: AAP Images

"That is pretty obvious for everyone involved in the footy club and everyone external.

"We have got to put a focus on that and making sure we get it right to put us in the game."

The Blues lost seven of their first nine clearances against a strong Melbourne onball brigade and then coughed up the ball at crucial times.

Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh was one who dropped the Sherrin in an attempt to kick the ball streaming through the middle of the ground.

Superstar Patrick Cripps made an uncustomary mistake trying to kick off the outside of his right boot which went out of bounds midway through the first quarter.

And Sam Petrevski-Seton was another who wobbled the ball inside 50m which went straight to a Melbourne opponent.

But Docherty said there were several facets to their first-term woes which had cost the winless Blues.

Carlton won the first three centre clearances of the game against Richmond in Round 1 but could not convert them into scoring opportunities.

"It is multi-layered thing," he said.

"You have got to get your contest right, and we clearly didn't get that right at the weekend.

"What that comes down to is a bit harder to find out.

"We are unpacking it as a group. We have got to get it right, otherwise we are going to put ourselves out of the game, and we understand that, and the coaching group understands that."

Carlton lost defender Nic Newman to a season-ending patella injury on Saturday, joining star mobile forward Charlie Curnow on the sidelines with a long-term knee problem.

Utility Jack Silvagni missed the one-point loss to Melbourne with a bout of gastro and is at the front of the queue to come in for Newman.

Former St Kilda playmaker Jack Newnes could move from his position on the wing to the back flank to help replace Newman's run.

Midfielder Paddy Dow is out of the team with some knee soreness.



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