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Dockers grab last-gasp victory against Blues

Date

AFL correspondent in Western Australia

View more articles from Brad Elborough

All class: Carlton's Chris Judd gathers the ball and prepares to charge away.

All class: Carlton's Chris Judd gathers the ball and prepares to charge away. Photo: Getty Images

FREMANTLE 5.1 6.5 8.7 12.11 (83) CARLTON 4.2 4.6 8.11 11.12 (78)
GOALS Fremantle: Ballantyne 3, Fyfe 2, Barlow 2, Spurr, Hill, Mundy, Crowley, Neale. Carlton: Waite 3, Murphy 2, Judd, Ellard, Graham, Casbolt, Rowe, Simpson. BEST Fremantle: Fyfe, Barlow, Sandilands, Mundy, McPharlin, Ballantyne. Carlton: Simpson, Thomas, Judd, Yarran, Curnow, Docherty.
Injuries: Fremantle: Pavlich (concussion), Mzungu (hamstring). Carlton: Judd (ankle).
UMPIRES Fisher, Dalgleish, Stevic.
CROWD 35,401, at Patersons Stadium.

Fremantle may have dodged a bullet at Patersons Stadium on Thursday night.

The Dockers beat an impressive Carlton by five points, keeping them right among the top four sides in the competition, but only after a Lachie Neale goal with less than a minute to go.

Time
FT
Team
FRFC
Score
12.11.83
Team
CFC
Score
11.12.78
Fremantle versus Carlton
View Match Statistics
Players Ballantyne (3.1), Barlow (2.1), Fyfe (2.0), Crowley (1.1), Mundy (1.1), Hill (1.0), Neale (1.0), Spurr (1.0), Pearce (0.2), de Boer (0.1), Ibbotson (0.1), Suban (0.1) Scorers Waite (3.0), Murphy (2.3), Ellard (1.1), Graham (1.1), Judd (1.1), Casboult (1.0), Rowe (1.0), Simpson (1.0), Gibbs (0.2), Yarran (0.2), Wood (0.1)

But it was two goals in the final term from Hayden Ballantyne that got Fremantle back into the game after the Blues had led by as much as 15 points.

No wonder Ross Lyon is such a fan of the small forward.

He would also have some love for Nat Fyfe, who had five clearances and 11 possessions in the final term.

Ballantyne was an important player for Fremantle in the second half after Matthew Pavlich was subbed from the game in the second term with concussion.

After the shock 58-point loss to St Kilda in round 18, the Dockers came out a bit edgy in the first term against the Blues.

Fyfe and Pavlich gave away free kicks for late and high infringements early on and Ryan Crowley appeared more aggressive than usual in his tagging efforts on Carlton captain Marc Murphy.

Fyfe's ability to run forward and kick two goals after winning one-on-one marking contests against Sam Rowe and Sam Docherty was the difference in the opening term.

The Blues continue to cause havoc with sides in the top eight, having beaten North Melbourne in round 18 by 23 points.

The Gold Coast, Geelong, Port Adelaide and Essendon all play the Blues in the run home and will be a bit nervous in doing so.

Dale Thomas played his best game in Carlton colours, bringing the ball out of defence beautifully for most of the game.

Mick Malthouse said on Wednesday he had no idea whether dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd would continue for a 14th AFL season in 2015.

If his performance on Thursday night is any indication of how the champion is faring, Malthouse should get the new one-year contract out this week.

Judd was back to his explosive best and was clearly the best player on the ground in the first half with 16 possessions, five clearances and a goal.

He could have had two goals but missed a set shot from 30 metres that he earned when pinning David Mundy with a perfect tackle.

Unfortunately for the Blues, Judd was not the only player to miss shots on goal that should have been kicked. And while he finished with 22 disposals, he was clearly labouring in the second half, having limped off the ground early in the third term after Aaron Sandilands landed on his ankle.

David Ellard missed two gettable ones and Bryce Gibbs has snapped harder ones from stoppages than the one he missed in the opening seconds of the second term.

After trailing by 18 points 21 minutes into the first term, the Blues had the next six scoring shots for a 2.3 return. The scoring that had been so easy in the first quarter (9.3 combined) dried up in the second (1.8).

The Dockers had their chances too, with 1.4 scored in a seven-minute period just before half-time. As well as having Pavlich subbed out of the game in the second half (due to an errant elbow to the head from Nick Graham in a pack) they also missed Tendai Mzungu for most of the same period, sidelined with a hamstring injury.

He came back on, but had little impact, while Stephen Hill, who was well held by Ed Curnow, also looked proppy, especially late in the third term when his shot on goal from around 50m sailed over the boundary on the full.

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