Blues come from behind to win 1-point thriller

Carlton's Charlie Curnow (centre) celebrates kicking a goal during the AFL Opening Round match against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

Carlton's Charlie Curnow (centre) celebrates kicking a goal during the AFL Opening Round match against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. Photo: AAP

Carlton have come from 46 points down to shock Brisbane at their Gabba fortress in a one-point AFL thriller.

Harry McKay kicked the winning goal, his third of the night, with 90 seconds to go before the Blues resisted the hosts in a mad goal-mouth scramble in the final seconds.

Carlton’s 13.8 (86) to 12.13 (85) win was their first at the Gabba in more than a decade, and ended the Lions’ 14-game home winning streak dating back to round 23 in 2022.

And it came in incredible fashion.

The Lions had carved out seven first-quarter goals and led by 46 points in what looked an easy night for the hosts in the preliminary final replay.

But the hosts stumbled. A suspected knee hyper-extension for Lions defender Keidean Coleman appeared to check the momentum of last year’s losing grand finalists, and the Blues sensed their moment.

They kicked eight straight before the sides played out a tense, see-sawing final quarter broken open by McKay, who fought a torrid battle with Harris Andrews all night.

The visitors’ run started when Zac Bailey didn’t hear the whistle and was penalised for running into an open goal, with a 50-metre penalty leading to Charlie Curnow’s second goal.

Curnow quickly added a third before Jack Payne’s risky exit kick backfired and Matthew Kennedy scored the Blues’ fifth in a row.

After Curnow marked again, basic Lions errors helped Carlton to two more goals and a surprise three-point lead.

In between there were eight-straight behinds from the Lions, who lost their composure and their radar.

Joe Daniher’s hand was in his heads when he ignored an open Lincoln McCarthy in front of goal and blazed wide.

The forward made amends, plucking a strong mark at the top of the goal square to finally end the Blues’ run and snatch back the lead.

McKay replied with his second, though, and Charlie Cameron missed a simple set shot to give the Blues a one-point lead at the last break.

The lead changed three times in the last quarter, with Patrick Cripps pushing forward to cancel out Bailey’s early goal.

Cameron picked up Adam Saad’s bobbled mark and threaded the needle for a five-point lead with eight minutes to play.

Points then dried up, until McKay held his nerve from 40 metres on a slight angle to set up the win.


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