Blues alive after running down Pies in AFL

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Carlton have kept their slim AFL finals hopes alive with a stirring come-from-behind win over traditional rivals Collingwood, prevailing by 29 points at the MCG.

Midfielders Sam Walsh, Matthew Kennedy and Paddy Dow stood up in the absence of injured co-captain Patrick Cripps to help fire the Blues to a 13.13 (91) to 9.8 (62) victory in front of empty stands.

They had trailed by four goals before halftime but kicked nine of the last 10 majors, including six unanswered in the final term, to steamroll the lowly Magpies.

Walsh was best afield with an equal career-best 38 disposals and five clearances, and kicked a crucial final-quarter goal.

The brilliant third-year midfielder brushed off a John Noble tackle and stepped inside Jack Crisp before slamming the ball on his boot under pressure.

It sailed through, putting the Blues 13 points clear and sparking wild celebrations among Walsh's teammates.

Eddie Betts (two goals) had put Carlton in front for the first time moments earlier and key forward Harry McKay thrust himself into the game with four crucial goals in the final term.

The Coleman Medal leader had been kept scoreless by Jordan Roughead to three-quarter time.

"We changed the game at halftime and in the third quarter we didn't get the most from our opportunities ... but they stuck at it," Carlton coach David Teague said.

"In the last (quarter) we got the reward on the scoreboard.

"(Walsh) just wills his way and it's his turn to own this football club, along with his teammates, at the moment and create what they want to create.

"We didn't play great footy early ... but once we connected as a group I thought it was one of our better performances and Sam led that."

Jordan De Goey, Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy were in the thick of the action for Collingwood and emerging star Oliver Henry finished with three goals.

But the Magpies were listless in the final term in a complete form reversal from the previous week, when they overran Richmond late in the piece.

"We've been finishing games well, so whether there was a subconscious expectation we were going to do that again ... but obviously they were all over us in that last quarter," Collingwood caretaker coach Robert Harvey said.

"We couldn't win a contest anywhere, whether it be forward of the ball or behind."

There was a touching tribute from Jack Silvagni to his late grandfather and Carlton club legend Sergio Silvagni, who died during the week, when he pointed to the heavens after a strong mark and goal during the second term.

Silvagni evoked memories of his high-flying father Stephen with a huge ride on Isaac Quaynor's back in the final quarter, hauling in a mark-of-the-year contender.

Collingwood lost Josh Thomas to concussion from a clash of heads with teammate Darcy Cameron before half-time.

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