Melbourne have broken the hearts of Carlton fans by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the final 15 seconds.
The Blues had their hands on a finals berth for the first time since 2013, holding onto a one point lead in the dying seconds when Melbourne surged forward.
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A long bomb inside 50 from Jayden Hunt went to ground and Kysaiah Pickett got on the end of a Jake Melksham loose ball get and sent a mongrel punt floating goalward.
As it sailed through you could pinpoint the moment Carlton’s fans hearts break.
The win launches Melbourne back to second spot on the ladder and leaves Carlton in a perilous position entering the final round of the home and away season.
“I’m speechless really I don’t know what to say, it’s good to be back on the winning list. We went down last week and to bounce back this week is unreal,” Pickett said after the win.
Dees skipper Max Gawn didn’t even kick his post-game interview off properly before asking just how long was left on the clock.
“That’s pretty clutch. Kozzie is a good player and he’s been playing some good footy this year and that was his moment, ”Gawn said.
“We were on the wrong end of the moments last weekend and we studied it a lot. The last 10 minutes of the Collingwood game we watched it a lot and you saw some good stuff in those last minutes, we were able to hold our nerve.”
Jake Melksham was a standout in front of goal for Melbourne, ending the night with four goals and kicking the second last goal of the contest to bring the Demons back to within a point.
The Blues held the ball with around 60 seconds left to play and looked assured of victory, but one simple miss kick opened the door and the Demons pounced.
Carlton need to secure a win against Collingwood in round 23 or pray Hawthorn can topple the Western Bulldogs next Sunday.
A loss next weekend and a Bulldogs win and the Blues will once again miss out on September action.
“It leaves already gutted, it leaves already disappointed. But I’m also really proud at the same time and I thought our players were really brave right through our whole night,” Blues coach Michael Voss said.
“It hurts. Important game for us but we didn’t quite get it right at the end but as far as the whole game goes I just thought the boys played really brave and played a great style of footy and it’s something we want to keep replicating.”
Fans watching on Saturday night simply couldn’t believe the ending they had just witnessed.
7 News reporter Emma O’Sullivan wrote: “I don’t even barrack for the Demons or the Blues but my heart is still in my mouth, that was wild.”
The Advocate editor Alex Fair wrote: “That was epic. Simply epic. What a reply.”
Former Brisbane and Port Adelaide player Tom Rockliff believes the final moments played into Melbourne’s hands.
“I think it was a clear tactic from Melbourne to load the corridor. Lever kicks to a 3 vs 1 in middle of ground. Doesn’t happen by chance, something they have trained – Carlton set up well down the line,” he wrote.