Carlton win by 5 points
In a battle between two sides desperately trying to firm up their place in the race for the top four, the Blues eventually won a thriller. It left the top four unchanged and all but assured them of a finals berth.
After two narrow defeats in a row the Demons were only holding on to fourth by percentage. With a tough run of games to end the season they desperately needed to reverse their fortunes and have a win. The sides traded the lead at the end of each of the first three quarters, before a frenzied final term in front of a big crowd who had braved biting wind and heavy rain.
Fanning had 3.2 of Melbourne's entire score of 3.6 in the second quarter before Carlton's defenders brought him under control. He was one of the few winners for his side early, as Melbourne's talls were unable to cope with a sticky centre of the ground, allowing the smaller Carlton players to dominate. Players other than Fanning had chances in the second quarter but kicked poorly. It wasted good play by the Melbourne ruck division, who had now come to terms with the conditions and were matching the opposition. Only a late goal kept the Blues within a kick at half time.
Carlton had the wind in the third quarter, and goalled early to take the lead before rain began to fall. Now, against a strong Demon defence, it was Carlton's chance to miss opportunities. In failing light they did enough to open a 14 point lead at the last change.
Melbourne struck first in the final term, before two goals to Carlton seemed to make the result safe. The Demons launched another comeback, goals to Dullard and Fanning reduced the margin to five points. The home side desperately attacked Carlton's goal for the last seven minutes of the match, but they couldn't breach the Blues' defence and get the goal they needed to win.
Best were Don Cordner, Lock and Deans. Newman replaced Dockett (back injury) in the third quarter and Bill Scanlan was unused 20th man.
Melbourne's next assignment was against Geelong at Kardinia Park, with the Pivotonians hot on their heels in the battle for fourth.
Carlton 17.19 d. Melbourne 12.16
Blueseum match report
(Cartoon courtesy of Blueseum)