Carlton hearts are shattered again.
For a ninth year in a row the Blues will not feature in finals footy, after being in prime position to beat the Magpies but losing in a thriller.
After the Western Bulldogs downed Hawthorn by 23 points at York Park on Sunday, Carlton’s equation was simple: defeat Collingwood, or draw, and steal back eighth on the ladder.
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But after leading by as many as 25 points, the Blues crumbled and lost to the Magpies by one point, going down 11.9 (75) to 10.14 (74) at the MCG.
Collingwood small forward Jamie Elliott snared a goal with just under two minutes remaining in the match to put the Magpies ahead, before Craig McRae’s men held on valiantly to complete the heart-stopping triumph.
“That was a butchering of the highest order,” said St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt on the Fox Footy coverage.
“With zero hyperbole, the biggest and best home-and-away game we may ever see,” ABC sports reporter Corbin Middlemas wrote on Twitter.
Carlton has missed out on finals footy despite winning eight of its first 10 games of the season, which had the Blues sitting in third after round 10 in Michael Voss’ first season as head coach.
Carlton had also finished every round of the season in the top eight bar round 23.
Collingwood’s win elevated it to third on the ladder, but Sydney defeated St Kilda by 14 points at Docklands Stadium shortly after to leapfrog the Magpies on the ladder.
At the completion of the regular season, the top eight in order consists of: Geelong, Melbourne, Sydney, Collingwood, Fremantle, Brisbane, Richmond and the Western Bulldogs.
Week-one finals match-ups
Qualifying final one: Geelong (first) v Collingwood (fourth)
Elimination final one: Fremantle (fifth) v Western Bulldogs (eighth)
Elimination final two: Brisbane (sixth) v Richmond (seventh)
Qualifying final two: Melbourne (second) v Sydney (third)
MORE TO COME.
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