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Blues hold on against Hawks in AFL classic

Carlton have resisted Hawthorn’s huge fightback in a thrilling one-point win that extended their unbeaten start to the AFL season under new coach Michael Voss.

A blistering seven-goal opening term saw the Blues establish a 40-point margin before the Hawks dragged themselves off the canvas, hitting the front when Jack Gunston kicked his first goal at the nine-minute mark of the final quarter.

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 11.8 (74) to 11.7 (73) triumph kept their perfect record under Voss alive while Sam Mitchell tasted defeat for the first time as Hawks coach.

George Hewett, Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Matthew Kennedy helped the Blues gain midfield ascendancy but didn’t have it all their own way as Tom Mitchell, James Worpel and Josh Ward battled away for the Hawks.

Charlie Curnow and Silvagni kicked three goals each for the Blues, while Gunston, Breust and Dylan Moore booted two apiece for Hawthorn.

Centre bounce dominance and disposal efficiency were key to the Blues’ hot start.

Harry McKay kicked two early goals and Silvagni produced the highlight in a series of strong marks from Carlton forwards with a soaring grab over two opponents in the goal square.

It was their highest-scoring opening term since 2014, leading to a 34-point buffer at the first change.

Worpel, Mitchell and Ward helped turn the tide in the midfield and a pair of Luke Breust goals got the ball rolling for the Hawks.

Crucial turnovers led to Hawthorn goals and Zac Fisher’s decision not to have a shot at one end was quickly followed by Chad Wingard slotting one at the other, dragging the Hawks to within three kicks at the final change.

Hawthorn booted the first three majors of the last quarter and pinched the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Gunston outmarked Weitering and strolled into an open goal.

Scores were tied at the 19-minute mark when the video review showed Denver Grainger-Barras got a hand to a Corey Durdin shot that floated between the big sticks.

But Silvagni put the Blues back in front when he bent through a shot from a tight angle as the last quarter ticked into time-on.

Gunston’s second goal gave the Hawks a sniff until Weitering claimed the match-saving mark at centre-half back.

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.

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