RICHMOND 5.2 5.7 8.11 13.13 (91)
It was almost accidental, but a goal to Brock McLean late in the game sealed a four-point victory to the Blues and yet another heartbreaking loss for the Tigers.
With 53 seconds remaining in the match McLean marked just outside 50, near the boundary line. Knowing there wasn’t long let, he swung around and kicked it in the direction of forward Levi Casboult.
Jayden Post was able to nudge Casboult out of the contest, but the ball had drifted over their heads anyway, as it bounced through for the unlikeliest of goals and the most disappointing of losses.
Third time unlucky, it could be said, as the contest twisted and turned all night with countless lead changes.
The Tigers were more impressive early on, kicking five goals to lead by quarter time; all five came from midfielders Trent Cotchin (24 disposals, five clearances, three goals) and Dustin Martin (19 disposals, seven clearances, three goals) who couldn’t be stopped pushing forward.
It was undoubtedly a battle of the midfields, as best on ground could have gone to either of Shane Tuck (31 disposals, 23 contested, nine clearances) and Marc Murphy (36 disposals, 22 contested, nine clearances), who both played fantastic matches.
Providing noble support for Murphy was milestone man Andrew Carrazzo (27 disposals, 17 contested, eight tackles, eight clearances) in 150th game and of course McLean (27 disposals, 18 contested, nine clearances, 11 tackles), with the absence of a lot of key players.
Their impressive performances allowed them to hold Richmond to an inaccurate 0.5 in the second quarter, allowing them to gain an advantage rarely lost throughout the course of the night.
With the midfield performers stepping up and the ability to hit the scoreboard enough – Eddie Betts kicked four goals – Carlton were able to maintain their lead, but Richmond slowly clawed back.
It was their style of footy: desperate, intense and, despite trailing by 12 at three quarter time, it allowed them to compete in a goal-for-goal shootout in the very latter stages of the match.
However, their third loss in a row by under a goal rules them out of finals contention, while it keeps Carlton’s surge alive.
Carlton: Betts 4, Thornton 2, Armfield 2, Murphy, Carrazzo, Bell, Garlett, Casboult, McLean
Richmond: Martin 3, Cotchin 3, Tuck 2, Nahas 2, McGuane, Newman, Grigg
Carlton: Murphy, McLean, Carrazzo, Curnow, Betts, Scotland
Richmond: Tuck, Maric, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Edwards
Richmond: Morris (shoulder)
Carlton: Frazer Dale replaced Nick Duigan early in the final quarter
Richmond: Addam Maric replaced Daniel Jackson in the third quarter
Umpires: Margetts, Rosebury, Hay
Official crowd: 46,013 at the MCG