Port Adelaide has won one of the games of the AFL season, beating Carlton with the last kick of the game at the Gabba thanks to star small forward Robbie Gray.
- Port Adelaide missed four important shots in the final quarter, but the Power kicked one on the siren as they beat Carlton
- The Blues could have been in the top eight with a win, but Robbie Gray’s late goal left them with a three-point loss
- Port Adelaide now has six wins from seven games and the Power are clear at the top of the ladder from the Brisbane Lions
An extraordinary final quarter saw Carlton overtake the Power and look set for the win.
But Ken Hinkley’s men broke the Blues’ hearts to take the victory 9.10 (64) to 9.7 (61).
Port Adelaide was its own worst enemy with a series of horrendous misses, including two from virtually straight in front in the final term.
To make matters worse, key forward Charlie Dixon was stuck on the bench at the end of the match after going off under the blood rule.
But a huge mark on half-back from Trent McKenzie in the final minute gave the Power one last chance.
They went forward with desperation and the ball came to Gray, who took a vital mark right on the boundary line in the right forward pocket with seconds left.
As he lined things up, the siren went and plenty of Blues fans at the Gabba let Gray know about it. But the Port Adelaide number nine held his nerve and kicked it straight and true.
It sailed through, sparking joyous celebrations as his teammates ran to him and the coaching staff punched the air while Carlton’s players sank to the turf.
The result came at a cost as Ryan Burton (quadriceps) and Daniel Motlop (ankle) failed to see out the match because of injuries suffered early in the last quarter.
Forward Dixon gave Carlton defender Liam Jones trouble all day as Port’s main target in attack but was wasteful in kicking 3.4 for the match.
Travis Boak and Darcy Byrne-Jones starred through the middle and ruckman Peter Ladhams was busy around the ground in a competitive battle with Marc Pittonet.
Carlton veteran Eddie Betts became the third player in AFL/VFL history to kick 300 goals at two separate clubs, joining Tony Lockett and Lance Franklin in achieving the feat.
But his only goal of the match during the second quarter was not enough to inspire the Blues to a win that would have lifted them back into the top eight.
Harry McKay kicked three goals for the second straight week in another strong showing for Carlton, and Jacob Weitering was a rock in defence.
Young gun Sam Walsh also impressed with 16 disposals and two goals, as well as taking a courageous mark going back with the flight in defence.
Port kicked three goals from four forward entries in a scintillating early burst before Betts’ big pack mark helped ignite the Blues, who kicked the next four majors from four entries to hit the front.
Carlton was at its most dangerous on the rebound when the Blues were able to move the ball at speed.
It was a close battle from then on and both sides had chances to win until Gray’s moment of magic settled the contest.
The win leaves Port Adelaide a game plus percentage clear at the top of the ladder: with six wins from seven matches, the Power likely needs just three more wins from their remaining 10 games to clinch a finals spot.
Demons take care of the Hawks in Sydney
Christian Petracca and Max Gawn have starred as Melbourne have notched successive wins for the first time in more than a year and increased Hawthorn’s woes with a 43-point win over the Hawks.
Hawthorn kicked the first goal of Sunday’s game at Giants Stadium, but the Dees slotted 12 of the next 15 on their way to a convincing 14.7 (91) to 7.6 (48) victory.
The Dees have now won successive games at Giants Stadium, having overcome the Suns last weekend, and kicked their highest score of the season for the second straight week.
Sam Weidman kicked three goals and there were two each from Kysaiah Pickett, Mitch Hannan and Bayley Fritsch.
The win lifts Melbourne to 11th place with 3-3, while the Hawks drop to 3-4.
In the early stages, Hawthorn showed a willingness and intent to move the ball quicker and more directly than in their last two games, but it was short-lived.
Melbourne’s pressure forced the Hawks into errors and they found it difficult to go forward, tallying just 11 inside-50s by half-time.
The Hawks started the second half with greater intensity, purpose and execution, kicking the first two goals.
But it proved a false dawn as Melbourne quickly reasserted themselves, kicking the last four goals of the quarter to lead by 42 at the final change.
They finished with 26 more contested possessions.
Petracca was at the heart of Melbourne’s attack, racking up 29 touches, 16 contested possessions, five score assists and four clearances.
Gawn tallied 22 possessions, 16 of them contested, as well as 27 hitouts and six contested marks.
Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver also gave the Dees plenty of drive.
Hawthorn, who scored fewer than 50 points for the third straight game, lost forward Tim O’Brien with an ankle injury in the first quarter.
Jack Gunston kicked three goals for the Hawks and Chad Wingard, two.