Oliver's moment that saved Demons
Talk about getting out of jail. 30 points up at the last change, Melbourne did everything it could to surrender its clash with a plucky Carlton. That was until a moment of composure from the often-errant Clayton Oliver.
With 90 seconds on the clock, Melbourne had blown a 38-point lead and looked to have found another way to lose the unlosable.
Oliver's Demons were down by a point and he went to throw the ball on his boot after intercepting Kade Simpson's clearing kick.
Then in what might have been the single moment of composure for Melbourne in the final quarter, he weighed his options.
His cleverly weighted pass found Jayden Hunt running back into space.
He thumped the ball through for the winning goal and the Demons managed to hang on in the game's last frantic moments.
That fight with just a single fit man on the bench will be something to relish in a season where so much has gone wrong.
Yet when the dust settled after Carlton mounted a seven-goal charge from late in the third term, the Blues fans walked away with as many positives as the embattled Demons.
Measuring Jack Silvagni's progress as a No. 53 draft pick rather than his father's son is like ignoring the fact Gary Ablett had old man who could play a bit.
The curiosity value attached to the son of SOS is only enhanced by the fact he is something of a mystery as a footballing package.
So again we were left to focus on Silvagni's future given the perception he is a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
Here is the conclusion: after the best fortnight of his 53-game career, Silvagni's old-school brand of football quite clearly has a place in Carlton's best 22.
Not only did he follow up his last-half tagging job on Nathan Fyfe by keeping Clayton Oliver to 10 possessions in the first half, he helped himself to a dozen to boot.
Going back with the flight in the second quarter, he hauled in a contested mark, jumped up and hit Levi Casboult on the lead for Carlton's third goal.
Then as the siren sounded to start the third term there he was at half forward, in a flash conjuring a pair of checkside goals by using footy IQ if not legs that carry him with his old man's pace.
He would finish with three goals, as did Will Setterfield an unlikely architect of Carlton's pulsating comeback.
Melbourne might have been down to a single member on the bench in that last term, but David Teague will add his resume another fighting performance when the Blues could have turned it up.
THE OLD AND THE NEW
Steven May's eventful year added another chapter with an excellent game on Mitch McGovern, who barely touched the ball.
He took a handful of strong intercept marks as well as blanketing McGovern, and played nice with Sam Frost after last week's three-quarter time blue.
Jordan Lewis was cool and calm with 13 of his 19 possessions to half time, while Braydon Preuss's 44 hit-outs showed he is capable when Max Gawn (ankle) misses.
Will Setterfield and Matthew Kennedy have spent most of their early days at Carlton frustrating fans yet at the MCG against the Dees, they were in the thick of it.
Setterfield pushed forward from a wing in the second half and kicked 3.2, while Kennedy has been pushed to half forward and kicked a pair of his own.
He was wasteful too with four points, but at least they showed some of the talent they had when they moved from GWS.
GOODWIN: DEES FANS CAN FINALLY BE PROUD
Simon Goodwin says his team is starting to play football Melbourne supporters can be proud about after Jayden Hunt rescued the Demons from Carlton's last quarter scoring spree.
Carlton came from 38 points down late in the third quarter to hit the lead as Marty Hore (collarbone), Harrison Petty (concussion) and Tom McDonald (meniscus) sat on the bench.
Yet despite only nine last-term rotations and 67 for the game, the Demons kicked their only goal of the term with 90 seconds left through Hunt to prevail.
Goodwin is optimistic Max Gawn will play against the Bulldogs next week, while McDonald will miss some time with his knee injury after six exceptional goals.
Jake Lever will play seniors after coming back from knee bone bruising through Casey, while Nev Jetta played 75 per cent game time in the VFL and also could return.
But while the Demons came dangerously close to being run over, Goodwin believes they have turned a corner after their fifth victory of the season.
"We want to building a winning culture. We did a lot right today. For three quarters it was more like the Melbourne style of footy we became accustomed to last year. Two of the last three weeks has looked a lot like us but limited rotations put a strain on us. There were some unbelievable physical efforts and they were always going to come late with the rotations we had.
"Full credit to them, they won it at the source. I don't want to take anything away from Carlton but to be down in the last quarter and then to find a way, there was a lot of calmness on the field and clarity and they executed it so I am really proud of the guys," Goodwin said.
"We had 67 rotations and we lost two pretty early in the game and physically you could see the strain on the guys. They hung in there and found a way to get it done."
The Demons will get intercepting defender Hore in for surgery quickly on his collarbone and he should miss only two weeks, with McDonald brilliant on Liam Jones before his injury.
Braydon Preuss stepped up as a late inclusion for Max Gawn, and had 44 hit-outs but also an impact around the ground.
"He was great, the big fella. He really competed strongly down the line when we needed him to. We see him as a developing player and he hasn't played a lot of footy. He has done a lot of work with our ruck coach Greg Stafford and he is one of the most improved players on our list.
"If Maxy is right to play he will play. We won't take any risks but he is a pretty senior player and if he is right we will pick him."
Hunt's ability to nail the set shot from 50m didn't escape Goodwin either.
"We have had our problems with goalkicking so for him to kick 3.0 in the second half, to kick a goal like that when the team needed it with 90 seconds left was sensational."
TEAGUE LAUDS SOSOS
David Teague has hailed Jack Silvagni's emergence as Carlton's Mr Fixit but says his side must find a way to explode from the blocks early in games.
The Blues were smashed early around the clearances by Melbourne as they coughed up a 38-point lead before turning the game on its head in the final quarter.
Carlton ultimately fell short as Melbourne kicked the game's last goal to wrest back the lead but the Blues had a host of positives out of players who have failed to fire this year.
Will Setterfield pushed forward to kick three goals and Matthew Kennedy again worked well as a half forward with 2.4 for the match.
But interim coach Teague said despite the encouraging signs his team couldn't wait until it was assaulted by a rival to respond after also starting slowly against Fremantle last week.
Silvagni limited Clayton Oliver's influence early and then was thrust forward to kick three second-half goals as Carlton fell short by only five points.
"I said to the players it's a hard one to rate because part of me loved the character and fight and resilience but another half of me says you need to start turning up to the be the aggressors from the word go and not wait. It's a mindset of making sure we have enough players getting the job done early.
"We flicked (Silvagni) about a bit, we were getting the ball forward but not getting a great competition in the air so we threw Jack there.
"He was outstanding in those areas, we were getting run off early and what we have loved is he can play different roles. He applied himself really well and he is one player getting the job done. He is putting together a nice little body of work so hopefully that continues."
The Blues under Teague have either won or come within a goal (against the Dogs and Melbourne), which can only enhance Teague's case for the role.
Patrick Cripps (foot), Harry McKay (groin) and David Cuningham (knee) should all be fit to take on Sydney at the SCG next Saturday afternoon.
Mitch McGovern was again well blanketed, finishing with only five possessions and two points, but Teague said there was no thought to throwing him behind the ball.
"We did mention at one stage not so much him but Liam Jones, getting another contested player forward. Mitch sets us up so well. We have a lot of players who haven't played a lot of time forward and Mitch and Levi help so we could have made that change but there is a leadership component."
CARLTON 2.4 5.4 10.6 15.10 (100)
MELBOURNE 4.4 7.11 14.12 15.15 (105)
BLUES: Casboult 3, Silvagni 3, Kennedy 2, Setterfield 3, Dow, Fisher, O'Brien, Gibbons,
DEMONS: T. McDonald 6, Petracca 3, Hunt 3, Neal-Bullen, Weideman, Harmes,
JON RALPH'S VOTES
3 - Tom McDonald (Melbourne)
2 - Jack Silvagni (Carlton)
1 - Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
JON RALPH'S BEST
BLUES: Silvagni, Kreuzer, Casboult, Newman, Setterfield, Curnow, Murphy
DEMONS: McDonald, Oliver, Fritsch, Harmes, Preuss, Petracca,
BLUES: Weitering (concussion)
DEMONS: Max Gawn (ankle) replaced in selected side by Braydon Preuss, Hore (broken collarbone), McDonald (knee), Petty (concussion)
Umpires: Rosebury, Deboy, Heffeman
Official crowd: 55,593 at the MCG