Dockers beat Carlton in a thriller - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers beat Carlton in a thriller

By Justin Chadwick 28/08/2010 07:44:06 AM Comments (0)

Fremantle's controversial policy of bulk resting players paid dividends Friday night as a refreshed Dockers outfit secured a home final with a thrilling six-point AFL victory over Carlton at Subiaco Oval.

Blues coach Brett Ratten questioned the wisdom of Fremantle's decision to rest seven key players in last weekend's 116-point mauling from Hawthorn.

But Dockers coach Mark Harvey had the last laugh, with the return of 11 players helping Fremantle overcome a late Carlton charge to win 13.15.(93) to 13.9 (87).

Fremantle's 13th win of the season will see them finish either fifth or sixth on the ladder.

And the Dockers will face off against the Blues in an elimination final next week if Sydney fail to beat Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Fremantle looked to have the game in the bag after taking a 29-point lead into the final break.

But that margin was whittled back to just six points with three minutes remaining as the Blues piled on six goals to two in the final quarter.

However, Fremantle held on for dear life in the dying minutes, with several turnovers almost costing them dearly as the Blues' charge fell just short.

Carlton failed to cope with Fremantle's relentless pressure for much of the first three quarters, with late inclusion Hayden Ballantyne, Matt de Boer and Adam McPhee unleashing a number of fierce tackles that had the Blues panicking.

The Blues led by 10 points late in the first quarter, but Fremantle wrested control with six of the next seven goals in front of 39,376 fans.

Matthew Pavlich (two goals), David Mundy, Anthony Morabito and Aaron Sandilands were superb, while Antoni Grover, Roger Hayden and Luke McPharlin held firm in defence.

But it was the work of young midfielder Stephen Hill that would have heartened Fremantle fans.

Hill had been held to just seven possessions in his previous two matches before being rested against the Hawks.

But the 20-year-old showed his true class against the Blues, tallying 25 possessions, seven inside 50s and two goals in a monumental performance.

Marc Murphy (30 possessions) and Chris Judd (30) toiled manfully for the Blues, but the loss of Andrew Carrazzo to injury in the first quarter hurt Carlton's ability to rotate.

In a frenetic opening quarter, Carlton got off to a fast start with goals to Jarrad Waite and Kade Simpson inside four minutes but the Dockers soon settled to reduce the margin to four points by quarter time.

The Dockers piled on eight goals to three over the next two quarters to take a stranglehold on the match.

But the Blues refused to give in, with goals to Murphy, Heath Scotland and Jeff Garlett (three goals) to start the last quarter sending a scare through the Dockers' camp, before Michael Johnson and Morabito settled the ship with crucial goals.

Carlton mounted another charge but it fell just short, despite several costly turnovers from the Dockers gifting them chances on goal.

"If you go back and have a look at Carlton they were really productive, especially in the last quarter, so we knew they were going to keep coming," Harvey said.

"They're a very good running side.

"They certainly got some easy goals, too easy for our liking, and we've just got to make sure we nail that in the review so it doesn't happen again.

"We've got to move on from this game and sit back and watch the other teams on the weekend and work out who we are going to play over here next week."

Ratten said Carrazzo experienced tightness in his hamstring but remained a strong chance to play next week.

"He was about 80, 85 per cent right but the question mark was is he going to tear the hamstring or do something like that," Ratten said.

"Knowing where we sit with finals and things like that, you can't take the risk.

"If he does his hamstring it's 21 days and that's probably getting close to his season over.

"If I was a betting man I would say he would be likely to play (next week) but we'll just have to wait and see."

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