|Date:||Sunday 7th July, 2019 (1.10 pm).|
|Result:||Lost by 5 points.|
|Goalkickers:||L. Casboult 3, J. Silvagni 3, W. Setterfield 3, M. Kennedy 2, P. Dow, Z. Fisher, L. O'Brien, M. Gibbons 1.|
|Umpires:||Curtis Deboy, Andrew Heffernan, Brett Rosebury.|
|Injuries:||J. Weitering (broken nose)|
Sunday's 15.15 (105) to 15.10 (100) triumph at the MCG over David Teague's Blues should provide a much-needed morale boost in what's been a rough campaign. And this game could quite easily have been another chapter. Six unanswered Carlton goals either side of three-quarter time, followed by a skied snap from Matt Kennedy for a behind, saw it snatch an unlikely one-point lead as time ticked past 27 minutes. It was an incredible turn of events after the Demons threatened to blow the Blues away for much of the afternoon and led by a game-high 38 points late in the third term. There was time for one last twist, with a wild Kade Simpson kick out of defensive 50 going straight to Clayton Oliver, who instantly found Jayden Hunt about 45m out. Hunt's accurate set shot – his third goal from as many attempts – regained Melbourne's lead with 90 seconds to go and set the scene for a frenetic finish.
Mitch Hannan could have sealed the contest soon after with a long bomb to an unguarded goalsquare from beyond 60m that stopped rolling millimetres short of the line and was rushed through. Carlton launched one last charge and it came down to a one-on-one contest between high-profile recruits, with Steven May and Mitch McGovern grappling near goal. May fell to ground and McGovern's toe-poke in the dying seconds hit the post to deny the Blues a draw and leave the Demons to celebrate a five-point victory. There will be significant relief at Melbourne, which banked just its fifth win from 15 games this season in what's been a torrid campaign. On a low-scoring weekend, the Dees snuck through the 100-point barrier for the first time since round four. They were left to desperately hang on after starting the final term with one player on the bench, including losing six-goal forward Tom McDonald in the dying seconds of the third quarter. McDonald rose above the error-strewn contest – although even he sent his first shot at goal out on the full – to boot four first-half goals and six for the day. They all came before three-quarter time, with a left knee problem sidelining him for the final term and leaving him on crutches post-match. It was McDonald's second strong performance in three games as he puts his own early season struggles behind, and Carlton rival Liam Jones was powerless to stop him in the air from the get-go. The Blues didn't escape the carnage – temporarily losing Matthew Kreuzer in the second half, as well as Jacob Weitering going off for good after a clash of heads with Christian Petracca in the last term.
Carlton, fresh from a remarkable come-from-behind win over Fremantle out west a week ago, took advantage of Melbourne's situation with its best patch of the day. Jack Silvagni, who started the game tagging Clayton Oliver, booted three goals in the second half, including the first of the final quarter to kickstart Carlton's comeback. The Blues barely touched the ball in the opening 20 minutes of the contest and looked dead and buried as the match became a shootout in the third term, with the teams combining for 12 goals. They performed admirably in upsetting Fremantle out west a week ago minus Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty, Harry McKay and mostly without Charlie Curnow and almost did it again. A loss would have sent the Demons below Carlton into 17th spot, and last year's preliminary finalists are still another win and significant percentage from climbing out of the bottom four despite the result. Outside of McDonald, Oliver (26 disposals) and Hunt, they will be thankful for strong efforts from James Harmes (27), Bayley Fritsch (26), Nathan Jones (24) and Christian Petracca (three goals). Star ruckman Max Gawn (left ankle) was a predictable late withdrawal after his injury against Brisbane last week, but his 206cm replacement, former Kangaroo Braydon Preuss, filled in serviceably. There were few four-quarter performers for the Blues, but they'll take great heart in Silvagni's performance as he fights for his AFL career. No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh (25) was good again, veterans Marc Murphy (24) and Ed Curnow (23) stood up late, and newcomers Nic Newman (26) and Will Setterfield (three goals) made telling contributions. Ruckman Matthew Kreuzer and Jacob Weitering (broken nose) came off second-best in respective clashes in the third and fourth quarters. Kreuzer passed a concussion test and was able to return midway through the final term. - Marc McGowan.
Best: J. Silvagni, M. Murphy, E. Curnow, N. Newman, S. Walsh, W. Setterfield.
|B:||22 Caleb Marchbank||20 Lachie Plowman||14 Liam Jones|
|HB:||6 Kade Simpson||23 Jacob Weitering||24 Nic Newman|
|C:||43 Will Setterfield||35 Ed Curnow (Acting Captain)||4 Lochie O'Brien|
|HF:||18 Sam Walsh||11 Mitch McGovern||25 Zac Fisher|
|F:||41 Levi Casboult||7 Matthew Kennedy||2 Paddy Dow|
|Ruck:||8 Matthew Kreuzer||1 Jack Silvagni||3 Marc Murphy|
|Interchange:||5 Sam Petrevski-Seton||16 Darcy Lang||39 Dale Thomas|
|40 Michael Gibbons|
|Emg:||32 Alex Fasolo, 34 Andrew D Phillips, 45 Hugh Goddard, 46 Matthew Cottrell|
In: D. Lang
Out: C. Curnow (knee)
5 - James Harmes (MELB)
5 - Jack Silvagni (CARL)
4 - Clayton Oliver (MELB)
3 - Bayley Fritsch (MELB)
2 - Sam Walsh (CARL)
1 - Sam Frost (MELB)
Caleb Marchbank would have a shocking run of injuries and it would be another 1069 days before he played another game of football, this game would be Round 13, 2022.
2. Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne)
1. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
Jack Silvagni 11, Levi Casboult 8, Ed Curnow 8, Sam Walsh 7, Lachie Plowman 6, Marc Murphy 4, Zac Fisher 3, Matt Kennedy 3, Caleb Marchbank 3, Kade Simpson 3, Dale Thomas 3, Nic Newman 2, Sam Petrevski-Seton 2, Will Setterfield 2, Matthew Kreuzer 1.
Round 15 | Round 17