Памяти Андрея Стенина

Фото: © РИА НОВОСТИ/Дамир Булатов

03.08.2014, Россия | Чуда не случилось — первого сентября были получены результаты экспертизы останков трех человек, которые сгорели в машине, попавшей шестого августа под обстрел в районе села Снежное в Донбассе: одним из погибших был фотокорреспондент МИА «Россия сегодня» (РИА Новости) Андрей Стенин. Вместе с ним в машине находились, предположительно, военкоры Информационного Корпуса Сергей Коренченков и Андрей Вячало. Сегодня о гибели Андрея было объявлено официально. В это сейчас трудно поверить.

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    Blues up for the challenge

    Carlton has gained "enormous belief" after beating finalists Port Adelaide and Richmond over the past fortnight, and a clash with the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium holds no fears for the Blues.

    That's the view of Carlton captain Marc Murphy and swingman Lachie Henderson, who were optimistic about their chances of consigning the reigning premier to a shock straight-sets exit from the final.

    The Blues are still full of adrenaline after pulsating comeback wins in cutthroat games against the Power in the final round at AAMI Stadium and against the Tigers in Sunday's elimination final.

    Murphy said the victory over Richmond was "right up there" among the best wins he has been involved with.

    Asked about club president Stephen Kernahan's declaration that the Blues had gained respect after the win, Murphy said at Visy Park on Monday: "We get enormous belief out of that.

    "I think we're slowly starting to get some respect. It's all about going forward now and trying to get some respect off a great side in Sydney."

    The Swans, meanwhile, are battling form and injury issues after losing four of their past five games, albeit against quality sides Hawthorn (twice) Geelong and Collingwood.

    Murphy said no one should write off the reigning premier because it was "a great side with a lot of great players.

    "We're looking forward to testing ourselves against the best," he said.

    The Blues have won four of their past five games on the road and have developed confidence in their ability to nullify the opposition's home-ground advantage.

    They are winless from their three games at ANZ Stadium, but came within five points in a 2010 elimination final.

    "We love to travel. Travelling doesn’t bring any added pressure to us," Henderson said.

    The Blues' slow starts remain a concern but they believe they can come back from big deficits, having come back from 38 points down against Port and 32 points against Richmond.

    Murphy marveled at former skipper Chris Judd's efforts in his first game after missing three weeks with a knee injury.

    "He's a champion of the game, Juddy. He was probably a little bit quiet in the first half and then he had 10 or 11 possessions in that third quarter and got us up and going. It's always handy playing alongside Chris Judd," he said.

    Murphy said Judd had pulled up well and was "walking around fine".

    He stressed the important of recovery, with the Blues facing a six-day break.

    Midfielder Brock McLean will be in contention to return after being a late withdrawal against the Tigers with a quad injury.

    Of his own form, which has been markedly improved over the past fortnight, Murphy said he had benefitted from simply getting back to basics.

    "The last couple of weeks when our backs have been against the wall, and probably myself as well, that's when you really want to stand up, so I've been pretty happy with the way I've responded.

    "But it's only two games and finals footy is where you want to step up as an individual, and we've had quite a few performances like that from a few of the boys."

    Menzel growing in confidence

    You could forgive Carlton young gun Troy Menzel for having to pinch himself this week; the 18-year-old is preparing for an elimination final just six games into his AFL career.

    Menzel made his debut in Round 8 against Port Adelaide and says he remembers being excited but nervous when he ran out for the first time.

    "It was a bit surreal going out," Menzel said. "It was Scotland (250th), Murphy (150th) and Walker's (150th) milestones so it was an experience I will never forget – it was a fantastic feeling."

    Menzel has played in Carlton's past four matches and has been named in the squad to take on Richmond on Sunday.

    The man who now wears Carlton great John Nicholls' No.2 jumper says he’s growing in confidence with each game.

    "I guess from my first couple of games I didn't really know what to expect, so I was a bit nervous and a bit tentative to make some decisions," Menzel said.

    "But now I have a few games under my belt, it's starting to come more naturally."

    In his short career, Menzel has kicked eight goals and taken 19 marks – and this week has been nominated for the AFL Players' Association's Best First Year Player Award.

    The winner of the award will be announced at the MVP Awards on September 10.

    The Big Three are ready to go

    Carlton maintains it won't take three underdone players into Sunday's elimination final against Richmond with Chris Judd, Heath Scotland and Brock McLean named to return from injuries.

    The trio trained on Saturday at Visy Park, albeit lightly in a session in front of a navy blue army pumped for the Blues' sudden entry into the finals.

    While assistant coach Brad Green admitted some doubt remained over all three, they each put forth solid cases in the hour-long hit-out.

    Judd moved well, although looked ginger at times as he gathered ground balls, took part in end-to-end drills and jogged with his left knee heavily strapped.

    Scotland and McLean kicked to each other at the end of the session and practiced full paced leads out of the goal square.

    Green said the trio had to get through the session to play but was confident they would if they declared themselves fit.

    "If all three are putting their hands up, all three are fit," Green said.

    "We don't see it that we're taking in three unfit guys. If everyone clears them, they're out there playing.

    "At this point in time, we assume all the guys are going to get up but we have another training session to do today and hopefully they can pull through and play tomorrow."

    McLean has missed two with a quad injury while Scotland was a late withdrawal last week from the Port Adelaide game, also with a quad.

    Judd has missed three games with a medial ligament injury that had him in a brace for two weeks with the initial idea he wouldn't play again this year.

    Green said there were no concerns over the strength of his knee despite the injury occurring in round 20 against the Western Bulldogs.

    "He's had three weeks out, he's trained solid all week but there's still this training session to go," he said.

    "But Chris is as professional as they come, he's played a lot of finals, he's played in Grand Finals and he's going to help our side if he plays tomorrow.

    "If Chris Judd is putting his hand up, I'm sure Mick will listen.

    "Chris is as professional as they come and he's been training really hard doing off-leg stuff all the way through and he's keeping his fitness right up there.

    "We're playing finals footy and he's raring to go if he gets through."

    Meanwhile, Green said the Blues were determined to make their presence felt in the finals after gaining a late call up through the forced removal of Essendon as a result of the supplement saga.

    While the Tigers knew in round 19 it was likely they would play finals, the Blues have had less time to get used to the idea with Essendon sanctions handed down just under two weeks ago.

    Green said that wouldn't matter on game day.

    "Not at all, we earned our spot, we deserve our spot in the finals and even the last three games have been tough finals footy type games and we are looking to win the game tomorrow," he said.

    "Tomorrow is all about winning; certainly, I believe we are here to win, no doubt."

    Green said the Blues' recent finals experience in 2009-11 would help, particularly compared to the Tigers, who have just four players who have played finals expected to line up.

    "I think it is an advantage for our guys, but when that ball bounces, it is going to be on," he said.

    "But our boys have played finals in the last few years and that gives them a little bit of experience going into the week."

    Blues look to improve goal-kicking

    Carlton players will closely scrutinise their shortcomings in front of goal, when they review Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Essendon.

    Captain Marc Murphy says while the loss was disappointing, the focus now is on responding against Port Adelaide.

    "We've just got to look at the vision from the weekend and learn what we can do better going forward," Murphy said.

    "It's more a game for our supporters. We let them down on the weekend, so we're looking forward to playing a top eight side in Port this weekend and testing ourselves."

    Murphy says he expects Andrew Walker and Matthew Kreuzer to return for the clash.

    Both were late withdrawals against the Bombers – Walker with a bout of gastro, and Kreuzer with a niggling calf complaint.

    But Brock McLean is unlikely to play, after leaving the field in the opening quarter with an injured quad.

    The Blues have won four of their past five matches against the Power at AAMI Stadium, and Murphy says it's a ground that holds no fear for his team.

    "We've played some good footy over there recently, we enjoy playing on the ground over there," Murphy said.

    "Port are a very good side and they've played some really good footy - especially in the past month. They were probably a bit disappointing against Fremantle on the weekend, but they've played some close games and got over the line.

    "It will be another good test for us."

    Murphy not willing to speculate


    Carlton captain Marc Murphy has refused to speculate on the potential for the Blues to make the finals from ninth spot if Essendon is stripped of premiership points.

    With his team two games behind eight-placed Port Adelaide after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Essendon, Murphy says the Blues' clash with the Power at AAMI Stadium on Saturday is a "must-win" encounter regardless, to repay supporters they have let down.

    The AFL Commission meets on Monday and is expected to remove the Bombers' points as part of sanctions over their controversial 2012 supplements program.

    In that event, Carlton would retain ninth spot and make the finals by default if it defeats the Power.

    The Blues could also play finals even if they lose, providing Brisbane Lions lose to Geelong at Simonds Stadium, North Melbourne loses to Collingwood at the MCG, and either Adelaide or West Coast don’t bridge a significant percentage gap when they confront each other in Perth.

    "We can’t really worry or think too far ahead," Murphy told reporters at Visy Park on Monday morning.

    "We've just got to look at the vision from on the weekend and learn what we can do better going forward.

    "In terms of what's happening at AFL House, it's obviously out of our control … We can’t really speculate with what's going to happen this week with Essendon, so we just want to put in a good performance against a good side in Port, as much for ourselves as for our supporters and members."

    The Power are one of just two top-eight teams Carlton has defeated this year, with the Blues triumphing by 18 points at Etihad Stadium in round eight. The other highly-rated victim was Richmond, which Carlton upset by 10 points at the MCG in round 21.

    Although he and his team have performed below expectations this season, Murphy said he had enjoyed his first season as captain after replacing Chris Judd.

    He said coach Mick Malthouse had been a great support.

    "You couldn’t have anyone better than Mick (to) teach me about what he expects from me and what the boys expect from me."

    Murphy has averaged 22 disposals a game this season, well down on his average of 26 over the previous five seasons.

    "It definitely hasn’t been a standout year for myself," he said.

    "Obviously I would've liked to have played better footy individually, but it's something I've got to work on (and) get the body right. I'm looking forward to playing a really good one this week and getting the boys over the line."

    Murphy had a limited pre-season after undergoing a minor knee operation, and the ongoing issue has hampered his performance this season. He said it was likely he would receive more surgery at season's end to enable him to start next pre-season earlier, "get the fitness up and get some power back in my legs".

    Blues left to rue poor kicking

    A goal to David Zaharakis in the dying seconds has given Essendon a stunning and emotional six-point win over a wasteful Carlton at the MCG on Saturday night.

    Following yet another tumultuous week as a resolution to the supplements saga draws near, the Bombers put their off-field woes aside to turn a 20-point third quarter deficit into a 12.10 (82) to 9.22 (76) victory in front of 53,630 fans.

    That Zaharakis kicked the winning goal was fitting, given it was he who sparked the late fightback with a superb 11-disposal final quarter.

    The win snapped a dismal four-game losing streak for James Hird's men, which had seen them tumble from second to seventh on the ladder.

    "It was a terrific win," Hird said.

    "It just shows the courage and the heart of the players we've got.

    "I think to come out and play that way after the week we've had is pretty amazing."

    But the inspiring effort may be in vain, with negotiations between the club and the AFL appearing increasingly likely to see Essendon stripped of premiership points and removed from this year's finals.

    Reports have also suggested that Hird could receive a lengthy suspension as part of the negotiated outcome, something he said he may be prepared to accept if it spared the club harsh penalties.

    The loss ends Carlton's hopes of overtaking Port Adelaide in eighth, but with ninth place now a chance to be enough for a September berth, the Blues remain in finals calculations.

    However, a furious Carlton coach Mick Malthouse said he did not wish to consider that possibility.

    "Not one little bit interested," he said.

    "We came here tonight to win, and we didn't win.

    "I don't know what's going to take place, I don't care what's going to take place.

    "We play Port next week, and technically we can't make the eight."

    Bombers skipper Jobe Watson, booed by Carlton fans every time he went near the ball, led his team with distinction, gathering 27 disposals and booting two goals in the face of a close tag from Bryce Gibbs.

    Brendon Goddard also had 27 touches, while fellow midfielder Heath Hocking went head-to-head with Marc Murphy, with both players finishing with 22 disposals.

    Hocking is certain to face scrutiny from the Match Review Panel for an elbow to Chris Yarran's head during the third quarter.

    Michael Hurley kicked three goals and hit every contest with aggression, while Stewart Crameri contributed two despite struggling with a sore right ankle.

    For the Blues, veteran midfielder Kade Simpson was a standout, gathering 32 disposals.

    He almost single-handedly saved the game in its final moments, twice putting his body on the line to take a mark and then win a free kick on the last line of defence.

    Small forward Yarran played one of his better games for the season, booting two goals and chasing, tackling and blocking with intent.

    Tom Bell and Mitch Robinson were other useful contributors, but Malthouse's team was ultimately left to rue their dismal 29 per cent conversion rate in front of goal.

    The Blues were dealt a double blow 90 minutes before the bounce, with key players Andrew Walker (gastro) and Matthew Kreuzer (calf) both late withdrawals.

    They then lost Brock McLean during the first quarter with a right quad injury.

    Walker and Kreuzer's absence opened the door for forgotten backman Nick Duigan to play his first senior game since round one, and the South Australian responded with 13 disposals and 0.2.

    Despite Malthouse's protestations otherwise, both clubs' attention will now turn to Monday's meeting between Essendon and the AFL Commission, at which a resolution to the Bombers' charge of bringing the game into disrepute is expected to be reached.

    CARLTON 4.2 6.7 8.7 9.22 (76)
    ESSENDON 3.9 5.10 9.18 12.10 (82)

    Carlton: Menzel 2, Yarran 2, Tuohy, Henderson, Gibbs, Betts, Armfield
    Essendon: Hurley 3, Watson 2, Crameri 2, Zaharakis, Ryder, Myers, Kommer, Goddard

    Carlton: Simpson, Yarran, Scotland, Bell, Curnow, Robinson
    Essendon: Watson, Hurley, Hocking, Goddard, Pears, Myers

    Carlton: Matthew Kreuzer (calf), Andrew Walker (gastro) replaced in selected side by Nick Duigan and Aaron Joseph, Brock McLean (quad)
    Essendon: Crameri (ankle)

    Carlton: Nick Graham replaced Brock McLean (quad) in the first quarter
    Essendon: Ben Howlett replaced Alwyn Davey in the third quarter

    Reports: Nil
    Umpires: Stevic, Stewart, Mollison
    Official crowd: 53,630 at the MCG