Joel Selwood’s running goal with two minutes left has given Geelong a nailbiting five-point AFL win over Carlton.
The Blues showed enormous fight on Friday night at Etihad Stadium, but the Cats kicked the last two goals of the game to win 16.11 (107) to 15.12 (102).
After Selwood’s goal, Carlton had the ball deep in attack for about a minute, but were unable to score.
The Blues led by 16 points 11 minutes into the final term and again were close to nailing the upset win when Bryce Gibbs snapped an outstanding goal at 23 minutes to put them seven points ahead.
But George Horlin-Smith and then Selwood kicked goals to put the Cats back in front.
It was the first time Geelong had led since late in the third term.
Gibbs was best afield with 29 possessions and four goals.
Carlton are on the verge of taking him off the free agency market with a new deal and Friday night’s performance emphasised his value to the Blues.
Tom Hawkins kicked four second-term goals for Geelong, while Mathew Stokes also impressed.
The two sides badly needed the win – Geelong were coming off a 110-point walloping from Sydney and Carlton suffered an upset loss to Brisbane.
Carlton were in trouble before Friday’s match even started – they were about to run out onto the ground wearing the wrong shorts.
After AFL officials alerted them, Carlton players changed in the race to avoid a hefty fine.
Coach Mick Malthouse promised during the week that there would be no flying of the white flag by the Blues and they were true to his word.
Their workrate and spirit were impressive and Geelong were put under early pressure.
Selwood only had one possession in the opening quarter as the Blues took a nine-point lead.
They extended that to 15 points at the start of the second, before Hawkins took the game by the scruff of the neck with his four goals and led them to a 19-point lead at the main break.
Carlton were also cruelled by two bad umpiring decisions.
First a skewed centre bounce should have been recalled and Geelong went forward.
Then advantage was paid, gifting Josh Walker a goal.
Geelong kicked the first goal of the second half for a 23-point break, but the Blues rallied impressively.
Michael Jamison went onto Hawkins and immediately reduced his impact.
Captain Marc Murphy, well-held in the first half, had 10 possessions in the third term to help lead the fightback.