Christian Petracca and Max Gawn celebrate on the final siren after Melbourne defeated Carlton. Picture: Getty Images

KYSAIAH Pickett has sent Melbourne into the top four with a stunning snap in the final 11 seconds of the match, consigning Carlton to a heart-breaking five-point defeat.

Charlie Curnow had looked to send Carlton into its first finals appearance since 2013 with three minutes remaining, but Pickett wasn't finished, kicking truly to secure the 11.13 (79) to 10.14 (74) result at a heaving MCG.

DEMONS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats

The Blues will instead be faced with an anxious wait for results next week, with the lead having changed four times in the final term, with Jake Melksham's fourth major closing the gap to one point before Pickett's goal.


For much of the match, it was a battle between Melbourne's midfield and Carlton's backline.

The ball lived in Melbourne's forward half, but the Blues were fairly economical when they did manage to get the ball over the Demons' defence.


Harry McKay was a constant threat both in the air and at ground level in an entertainingly tactical battle with Steven May, kicking two of the Blues' three goals to half-time and often finding room out the back of the contest.

Melksham had appeared to give the Dees an edge with a stirring contested-ball win, dodge and goal – his second – just before half-time, but Zac Fisher topped it a minute later with a stunning (and rare right foot) snap.

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Three consecutive Carlton behinds to start the third term threatened a continuation of the messy play which had dominated the first half, but the game opened up as the high pressure from both sides dropped off.

A desperate Matt Owies smother led to a Corey Durdin goal, while the Blues began to win more ball out of the middle, resulting in a total four goals in eight minutes.


Just in the nick of time
With just seconds remaining in the first half, Bayley Fritsch rose to take a mark over his Carlton opponent, with a downfield free kick also being paid regardless. While the vast majority of players seemed much more interested in the ensuing scuffle in the middle, Fritsch converted his shot after the siren with no more than 10 players hanging round inside 50 to see it go through. It took the margin to eight points at half-time, and continued Fritsch's streak of kicking at least one goal in every single round this year.

Melbourne's Bayley Fritsch celebrates a goal in round 22 against Carlton at the MCG on August 13, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

The full Melksham experience
Lining up in the goal-square, the nearly 31-year-old Melksham turned back the clock with an outstanding performance. With a forward line bulging with riches (Gawn, Fritsch, Petracca and Ben Brown), Melksham had a night out, booting four goals. He could have had more, one snap ruled ineligible after Brown had carried the ball out of play just prior, and missing another shot after a spectacular mark taken while lying on his back.


Docherty the midfielder
Sam Docherty was simply outstanding, playing all four quarters in the midfield against some of the strongest opponents in the game. The usual half-back flanker was attempting to cover for the absence of players such as Matt Kennedy, George Hewett and late withdrawal Adam Cerra, and was supported by Will Setterfield, who wasn't in the best 22 yesterday. Docherty finished with 28 disposals, six clearances and 10 tackles in the unfamiliar role.

Carlton's Sam Docherty and Melbourne's Tom Sparrow in action in the round 22 at the MCG on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


MELBOURNE     1.2     4.6     7.11     11.13     (79)
CARLTON           1.3     3.4     7.8     10.14      (74)

Melbourne: Melksham 4, Pickett 2, Fritsch, Gawn, Petracca, Langdon, Brown
Carlton: McKay 3, Martin 3, Fisher, Silvagni, Durdin, Curnow

Melbourne: Brayshaw, Viney, Oliver, May, Melksham
Carlton: Docherty, Cripps, McKay, Walsh, Young

Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Adam Cerra (adductor) replaced in selected side by Will Setterfield

Melbourne: James Harmes (unused)
Carlton: Paddy Dow (unused)