CHARLIE Curnow has kicked seven goals for Carlton, but the Western Bulldogs have staved off a stunning late rally to keep their AFL season alive with a pulsating three-point win at Marvel Stadium.
The Dogs led by 34 points late in the last quarter but the brave Blues rattled home with the last five goals of Saturday night’s see-sawing contest.
Curnow brought the margin back to three points when the young star kicked his seventh goal with just under three minutes remaining, but the Dogs hung on to claim their fifth win of the season – 15.13 (103) to 15.10 (100).
In a night of wild momentum swings, the Dogs coughed up a 34-point lead to trail by seven points late in the third quarter.
They climbed off the canvas to restore that advantage with the first four goals of the final term, but Carlton – a different beast under David Teague – came again and only just fell short of a second win under the caretaker coach.
Josh Dunkley was brilliant for the Dogs with 41 possessions and 10 tackles, while Jack Macrae (37 disposals) and Patrick Lipinski (29) were also important.
The Dogs were short-handed for most of the night after Tom Liberatore left the game with a jarred knee in the second quarter.
Curnow was the star for the Blues, but his brother Ed was crucial to the fightback, curbing Marcus Bontempelli when he went to him early in the second term.
Patrick Cripps almost lifted his team over the line again with 22 disposals and Sam Walsh (22) continued to build his case for the rising star award.
The Bulldogs led by 19 points at the first break and they should’ve been further in front.
Dunkley and Bontempelli led the charge with 15 and 14 disposals respectively, as the dominant Dogs controlled the ball with 50 more possessions (130-70).
The Blues looked wobbly as the margin stretched to 34 points, Sam Lloyd bagging his third goal, but a team-lifting major to Matthew Kreuzer helped to drag them back to 21 points at halftime.
Liberatore departed the game with a jarred knee in the second quarter and the Dogs’ run and carry left with him.
Their lead was 21 points at halftime and six points at the last change after Charlie Curnow inspired Carlton with three majors in the third quarter.
The Dogs had the game in their keeping, but the Blues snapped out of their late stupor only to be denied in the frantic final moments.
© AAP 2019
WESTERN BULLDOGS 5.2 9.6 11.9 15.13 (103)
CARLTON 2.1 6.3 10.9 15.10 (100)
Goals: Western Bulldogs: S Lloyd 3 P Lipinski 2 T Dickson 2 T English 2 A Naughton B Smith J Dunkley M Suckling R Gardner T McLean. Carlton: C Curnow 7 D Cuningham 2 D Thomas H McKay M Kreuzer M McGovern M Murphy P Dow.
Umpires: Sam Hay, Andrew Stephens, Robert O’Gorman, Hayden Gavine.
Official Crowd: 35,749 at Marvel Stadium.