Matthew Cottrell.
Matthew Cottrell celebrates his late goal which helped the Blues come from behind to beat Fremantle. Image by Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Blues leave it late to over-run Dockers in AFL thriller

Steve Larkin April 6, 2024

Coach Michael Voss is lauding fast-finishing Carlton’s spirit after pipping Fremantle by 10 points for a third great escape of the AFL season.

The Blues remain unbeaten after kicking the last three goals in a 10.13 (73) to 9.9 (63) victory over the Dockers on Saturday at Adelaide Oval.

Voss’ team have won four consecutive games – three by 10 points or less and those three all when trailing at three-quarter time.

Fremantle held a nine-point lead some 23 minutes into the final term before the Blues stormed home with three unanswered goals in five minutes.

“Nine points up with five minutes to go … it’s always going to feel like that was one we let slip,” Dockers coach Justin Longmuir said.

“There’s a number of things in that last probably three minutes we didn’t quite execute it the way we wanted to.”

The Blues’ final flourish featured two goals in the last minute, both after umpiring flashpoints.

Carlton’s Matthew Cottrell put the Blues in front after marking a ball the Dockers believed they’d touched.

And the Blues’ Matt Kennedy then sealed the result with a goal after a 50 metre penalty which Longmuir believes was for dissent from Freo’s Jordan Clark.

“We should have just got on with it,” Longmuir said.

“Even if they weren’t happy with the (umpiring) call before, there’s not much you can do.

“The players clearly thought they touched the footy and they still say that now.

“But it’s a really hard call for the umpire to make … we just need to move on because the umpires are never going to backtrack.”

Matthew Kennedy.
 Matthew Kennedy (L) celebrates hammering home the final nail in the Dockers’ coffin. Image by Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS 

Carlton boss Voss was delighted at his side’s third comeback win of the season.

“Obviously that couple of goal margin (down), you’re sort of thinking that might be just a bit too hard to get two scores in four minutes and 42 seconds,” Voss said.

“But the boys are able to stay engaged with it, stay connected with each other, and still saw a possibility to be able to win the game.

“What we got right was we got the last part, right – four minutes 42 seconds. We were able to execute late in the game.”

Carlton trailed by one point at quarter time, three at halftime and by nine at the final break.

The Blues’ Jacob Weitering was superb in defence, taking a dozen marks, and Adam Cerra (one goal, 24 touches) and Adam Saad (25 disposals) were standouts.

Charlie Curnow booted three goals and Cottrell and Kennedy two apiece, while Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw collected a game-high 38 disposals.

Brayshaw’s teammates James Aish (27), Jeremy Sharp (29) and Jordan Clark (30) were also prolific, ex-skipper Nat Fyfe gathered five clearances in 26 touches and defenders Luke Ryan and Alex Pearce were solid.