COVID-19 test almost prevented Carlton win

After waking up with a “24-hour bug” on Sunday, Harry McKay had to pass a COVID-19 test in time to play a key role in Carlton’s impressive comeback victory over Essendon at the MCG.

The young key forward had a quiet first half, but finished with a wet sail as he banged home four goals in the second to help the Blues execute a 37-point turnaround.

“I think it’s just a bit of gastro, nothing too bad,” Carlton coach David Teague said.

“He just woke up and he wasn’t feeling great and we had the conversation and he said, ‘Nah, I think I can get the job done for the team to a level we need’, and obviously he’s been in great form.

“He hit the scoreboard, gave us a contest and he’s a very hard man to defend because of his speed and height.

“I was super proud of Harry’s game … didn’t complain, didn’t tell any of his teammates, just went out there and kept competing.”

But the Blues didn’t escape the match unscathed with Mitch McGovern injuring his hamstring late and Paddy Dow having to be subbed out due to an eye injury which severely impaired his vision.

“I went up to him and he just shook his head, so he’s pretty disappointed,” Teague said of McGovern, who will likely miss multiple weeks.

It’s unclear as to whether Dow will be fit to face the Western Bulldogs next week, but Zac Williams (soreness) and Marc Murphy (neck) are good chances to return.

Teague’s Blues have recorded their third win of the year. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Carlton dasher Adam Saad was roundly booed all game by Essendon supporters in his first game against his old side, and the sound was music to Teague’s ears.

“I loved the boos because they were quite regular so it meant he was getting the ball a bit,” Teague said of Saad, who was one of Carlton’s best players.

Blues captain Patrick Cripps wasn’t overly influential in the first three quarters, but saved his best for last with a superb final term.

“At three-quarter time … he looked at me and said, ‘I’ve got this’, and when your leader does that, the way he played the last quarter (was great) and he’s a very important player to us,” Teague said.

After being jumped by the Bombers in the first 45 minutes to trail by 21 points, Teague said the Blues were able to change things up simply by defending better and subsequently becoming more potent in their attacking half.

Carlton won’t have to wait long to test their wares against the AFL’s best teams again. After being beaten by Richmond, Port Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions already in the first six weeks, they have the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne to look forward to over the next fortnight.

“We love those games and we want to play in those games,” Teague said.

“I think we’ve played three of the top four from last year and we haven’t got the job done so that’s our next step as a group.

“From a defensive point of view to beat these teams you can’t give them too many looks and we’ve got to get better.

“But I’m really confident if we play near our best … we can beat the Bulldogs or beat Melbourne.

“Our best is good enough to beat anyone, the challenge is going out there and executing under pressure.”

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