JACK Newnes has never hit a ball sweeter.
Having been the recipient a contentious down-field free kick as the buzzer sounded on Saturday night, the Carlton recruit made himself an instant hero with a remarkable goal after the siren to secure a stunning four-point victory over Fremantle.
>>WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
Pressed deep against the boundary fence, Newnes' 45m set shot drew back to perfection, sparking wild scenes of celebration as the Blues plucked victory from the jaws of defeat to win 5.10 (40) to 5.6 (36).
It was the first time Carlton had led since the opening seconds of a slog in wet Western Australian conditions at Optus Stadium, helping David Teague's side keeps its otherwise fading finals hopes alive.
BLUES ON THE SIREN Full match coverage and stats
Ed Curnow (33 disposals, nine clearances) and Sam Walsh (25 disposals, one goal) had dragged the Blues back into the contest after a slow start saw them go 36 minutes without a goal to begin the match.
They then pegged the deficit back to just two points at the final change, but wasted a series of chances in the dying stages before Newnes' incredible set-shot eventually sailed through as time expired.
Fremantle, having led by 19 points at quarter-time, had battened down the hatches manfully until that point. Luke Ryan (24 disposals, five marks) was heroic in repelling a series of Carlton attacks throughout the second half.
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But a costly deliberate call against Matt Taberner was compounded by a controversial down-field free kick against Andrew Brayshaw as the dam wall eventually broke at the death.
How it all played out
There were three points of contention to the thrilling finale. First, Matt Taberner was pinged for deliberate after ushering the ball to the boundary line with just 16 seconds remaining. Sam Docherty played on quickly, with Andrew Brayshaw's momentum in attempting to smother his kick forcing the two to collide. With nine seconds remaining, Docherty's kick went out of bounds on the full. However, the umpire paid a down-field free kick for the late hit due to the contact that had been made after the ball had been disposed of. Jack Newnes, who was in the vicinity of where the ball landed alongside Michael Gibbons and Eddie Betts, was ultimately and perhaps controversially deemed closest. After forcing a cameraman perched against the boundary fence to move out of his way, the former St Kilda wingman eventually drilled a remarkable set-shot after the final siren to secure victory for Carlton.
Fyfe's first-quarter masterclass inspires hot start
The ball was wet for just about every player amid a downpour at Optus Stadium on Saturday night. Except for Nat Fyfe. The reigning Brownlow Medal winner was all class, with his first quarter masterclass providing the Dockers with the perfect springboard for near-success. Fyfe had eight disposals, six contested possessions, two tackles, two clearances and was involved in four of Fremantle's five scores to help the hosts hold Carlton goalless to quarter-time. It came as the Dockers dominated the territory battle on home soil, recording 14 straight inside 50s on their way to a 19-point buffer at the first change. The Blues ultimately went 36 minutes without a goal to begin the match, before holding the hosts to just two goals in the final three quarters on their way to an incredible victory.
Blues nearly butcher their comeback
Jack Newnes didn't just get one teammate out of jail, he got two. Harry McKay had the chance to be the hero with 90 seconds remaining. However, with Carlton trailing by three points and camped deep inside the boundary, he miscued his snap for goal and saw the ball sail harmlessly across the face of the target. Or so Fremantle thought. Liam Jones, rushing forward from the backline, marked in an identical position in the other pocket with 60 seconds left. After unsuccessfully trying to dish off to Eddie Betts, Jones' snap was dragged wide for a behind. It wouldn't matter, though. A few short seconds later and Newnes showed his teammates how it was done, coolly slotting the kick of his life after the siren.
FREMANTLE 3.2 4.3 5.4 5.6 (36)
CARLTON 0.1 2.3 4.8 5.10 (40)
Fremantle: Taberner 3, Frederick, Lobb
Carlton: Casboult, Cottrell, Walsh, McKay, Newnes
Fremantle: Ryan, Fyfe, Taberner, Cerra, Brayshaw, Mundy
Carlton: Curnow, Cripps, Walsh, Docherty, Murphy, Setterfield