Blues hold on against Hawks in AFL classic

Shayne Hope |

Michael Voss has hailed his Carlton side’s growing resilience after they staved off a huge Hawthorn fightback in a one-point AFL thriller.

A blistering seven-goal opening term from the Blues led to a 40-point margin before the Hawks gradually dragged themselves off the canvas.

They kicked six consecutive goals in a period of dominance straddling three-quarter time and hit the front when Jack Gunston kicked his first major at the nine-minute mark of the final term.

But Jack Silvagni’s late goal from a tight angle and Jacob Weitering’s courageous mark running back with the flight of the ball with one minute left saved Carlton’s blushes.

The Blues’ 11.8 (74) to 11.7 (73) triumph at the MCG on Sunday kept their perfect record under Voss alive, while Sam Mitchell tasted defeat for the first time as Hawks coach.

“(Resilience) is about adaptation and getting the job done when things are not working for you as you would like,” Voss said.

“That question has been well and truly asked a number of times throughout pre-season in our training that we’ve tried to provide to the players and it’s also been present within our games.

“We understand that we are not the finished product and we’ve got things to work on.

“But through that, while we’re working on it, if we can bank the four points and learn a bit of resilience along the way, then it’s only going to hold us in good stead moving forward.”

Weitering and Sam Docherty were rocks at the back for Carlton all day after George Hewett (27 disposals), Patrick Cripps (31), Sam Walsh (32) and Matthew Kennedy (30) had helped the Blues gain early midfield ascendancy.

Charlie Curnow and Silvagni kicked three goals each and Harry McKay booted two.

Changkuoth Jiath (27 disposals) starred for Hawthorn, generating plenty of drive off half-back, while Tom Mitchell (23), James Worpel (23) and Josh Ward (20) battled hard to even out the midfield contest.

James Sicily impressed in defence, Dylan Moore and Luke Breust kicked two goals apiece and Gunston’s two late majors gave the Hawks a sniff of victory before Wetering claimed the match-saving mark at centre-half back.

Carlton ruckman Marc Pittonet succumbed to a back injury late in the match against his old side and Jack Scrimshaw’s 50th game didn’t go to plan as a shoulder injury forced Hawthorn to substitute him out of the match in the first quarter.

A huge crowd of 66,317 was a pointer to the fresh optimism that both clubs have generated under their new coaches this season.