Sport AFL AFL: Carlton stuns Dockers in last-minute thriller

AFL: Carlton stuns Dockers in last-minute thriller

That was close: Carlton players celebrate their memorable win. Photo: Getty
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Carlton veteran Marc Murphy has booted the match-winning goal with just 35 seconds remaining to guide his team to a four-point triumph over Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Sunday night.

The Dockers looked to have the game in the bag after Michael Walters’ goal with six minutes remaining put Fremantle 15 points ahead.

But in a dramatic finish, the Blues booted three goals in as many minutes to snatch the lead. The drama didn’t end there.

With just 70 seconds remaining, Fremantle goal sneak Sam Switkowski snapped what appeared to be the match-winner. Still, there was one final twist.

Carlton sent the ball forward, where Blues forward Levi Casboult somehow fired off a handball while being mobbed by Fremantle defenders.

The ball made its way to Murphy, who faked one way before unleashing a swift banana kick from 20 metres out to steal the 11.13 (79) to 11.9 (75) win.

The victory was all the more meritorious given Carlton entered the match without midfield bull Patrick Cripps and forward Harry McKay.

Their victory hopes were dealt another blow when star forward Charlie Curnow went down with a suspected medial ligament knee injury after just 12 minutes.

The Blues trailed by 30 points late in the first quarter, but turned the game on its head with six of the next seven goals to hit the lead in the third term.

Dockers forward Cam McCarthy, who was only selected after Jesse Hogan injured his foot last week, booted two goals in the opening term to get the ball rolling for the home side.

And when Carlton hit the lead 10 minutes into the third quarter, McCarthy booted another two goals to wrest the momentum back for Fremantle.

The Blues kept challenging in the final quarter, but a bullet pass from McCarthy to Michael Walters set up what appeared to be the sealing goal with just six minutes remaining. Carlton refused to give up.

Goals to Kade Simpson, Matthew Kennedy and Dale Thomas gave Carlton back the lead, before Dockers goal sneak Switkowski pounced.

But it was Carlton that had the last laugh, with Murphy’s dummy and goal in the dying seconds sending Blues players wild.

The result dragged Carlton (3-11) off the bottom of the ladder.

Fremantle (7-7) is clinging to eighth spot following two straight losses.

Murphy finished with 35 disposals, seven clearances and the match-winning goal.

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe battled hard for 29 disposals and six clearances.

Richardson still under pressure

After a torrid week, St Kilda was better for longer but still had to settle for a fighting loss to Richmond instead of the win that would help ease the pressure on embattled coach Alan Richardson.

Exciting duo Sydney Stack and Mabior Chol kicked four and three goals respectively as the Tigers broke their three-game losing streak and returned to the top eight with a 16.7 (103) to 10.10 (70) win on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.

The Saints jumped out to an early lead and were only seven points down at three-quarter time before Richmond ran away with the win that improved the Tigers’ record to 8-6 and moved them into seventh position.

Speculation about Richardson’s future reached fever pitch after last week’s meek 56-point capitulation to Brisbane.

This effort was clearly better but it won’t be nearly enough to shut down the conversation about the coach’s future beyond this season, with St Kilda slipping to 14th with a 6-8 record.

“I think the outside noise and the impact it has on footy clubs is probably overstated,” Richardson said.

“Clubs are pretty good on focusing on what they can control and understand that media are going to make a fair bit of noise about performance.

“What can we control? Clearly last week wasn’t good enough, so that’s basically been my focus.”