Fairytale finish for Palm Beach’s Carroll

By Beth Newman

You’re playing the last game of your career.

It’s a grand final and you’re on the winning side.

You kick a goal in the dying seconds and as it goes through, the siren blows.

Oh, and more than half the crowd is chanting your name.

Even Matt Carroll says he couldn’t have written it any better.

“I had the practice shot earlier, where it bounced short and I thought, ‘you’re joking,’” he said.

“Then to get one and kick it and the siren to go as it’s going through, it’s just overwhelming, really.”

With the Lions on top for most of the day, Carroll knew he was going to collect his third premiership with the Lions from eight attempts.

That would have been sweet enough, but to kick the final goal of the game to finish off a distinguished career at the club was incredible, he said.

“I was hoping we would be a bit in front in the last quarter to enjoy it,” he said.

“When we got to about five goals up and I knew there probably wasn’t too long to go and I was on the far side and there was all these boys cheering and carrying on.

Carroll joined Palm Beach after moving up from Melbourne as a high school student, and has played seniors for 12 years.

Eight grand finals later, he is hanging up the boots to spend more time with his family.

After a sensational grand final showing last season, he was coaxed out of possible retirement, but this time there’s no going back.

“Halfway through the year, I knew this was going to be it,” he said.

“ I knew everything was going into today.”

And after so many years of walking past the barbeque on game day, Carroll said he was looking forward to actually being able to eat match day hamburgers.

Carroll paid tribute to all the people who have been involved with the Lions in his time there and struggled to find the words to describe the incredible finish.

“I am just stoked, elated,” he said.

“ I can’t think of any other way to describe it really.

“The boys played such a good game and it was really such a team effort and that’s what wins you grand finals.”

“This is the feeling you play footy for.”

One person who will be sad to see Carroll is his coach, Daryn Cresswell.

Cresswell managed to talk him around last year, but said today’s finish was fitting for the veteran.

“He deserves to go out on a high note,” he said.

“He epitomises Palm Beach.

“Everyone has a great deal of respect for him and just his demeanour and what he does around the club.”

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