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Blues hold off Bombers in a thriller

Blues hold off Bombers in a thriller

ESSENDON’S Jacob Townsend has missed a long set shot in the dying seconds as Carlton overcame the early loss of Jack Silvagni to score a stunning one-point win at the MCG.

Essendon was the fresher side, having had their round-three match postponed following Conor McKenna’s positive COVID-19 test, but the Blues finished stronger to score a 7.10 (52) to 8.3 (51) win.

The Blues trailed by 12 points early in the final term on Saturday night but goals to Jack Martin and Levi Casboult set up a frantic finale.

As the seconds ticked down, Eddie Betts gave away a 50m penalty that allowed Adam Saad to send a long ball into attacking 50 where Townsend took a diving mark.

With his team two points down, Townsend’s set shot from just on the 50m arc was bundled over for a rushed behind, with Carlton players jubilant just seconds later as the final siren sounded.

It was a super effort given they played most of the night without Silvagni.

Bombers star Zach Merrett will come under match review scrutiny after he swung his left arm at Silvagni’s back as he kicked the ball early in the first quarter.

Grimacing in pain, Silvagni immediately went to the bench for assessment and a club official confirmed he had been taken to hospital by ambulance shortly before halftime.

Sam Docherty was superb in defence for Carlton, the co-captain gathering 31 possessions.

David Cunningham (28 disposals), Sam Walsh (23) and Patrick Cripps were important through the middle, while Levi Casboult finished with three goals.

Andrew McGrath (20), Dylan Shiel (19) and Devon Smith (18) were influential for the Bombers, who struggled to find a reliable target inside attacking 50.

(C) AAP 2020

CARLTON 3.0 5.3 5.8 7.10 (52)

ESSENDON 2.1 4.1 6.2 8.3 (51)

Goals: Carlton: L Casboult 3 M McGovern 2 E Betts J Martin. Essendon: D Parish 2 J Stringer 2 A McDonald-Tipungwuti D Smith J Townsend S McKernan.

Umpires: Matt Stevic, Leigh Fisher, Andrew Heffernan, Hayden Gavine.

Venue: MCG.