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The Roar


'Need to be ruthless': If Carlton truly are a premiership contender, it's time they start acting like one

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Roar Guru
15th March, 2024

The Carlton Football Club came into season 2024 as one of the premiership favourites. This, after they came within 16 points of a grand final last year.

They have started the season with two thrilling close wins, a stunning one-point win with a 46-point comeback against the Brisbane Lions to break an 11-year drought at the Gabba. Then grinding out a gutsy five-point win against Richmond.

They managed to do this without some significant players being in the side, such as Jacob Weitering, Sam Walsh, Sam Docherty (against the Tigers). Plus key forwards Jack Martin and Jesse Motlop.

Michael Voss is starting to create a winning culture as the Blues have held out their last six victories with less than a goal. Whilst they might not have expected to be 2-0, the impressive thing is that they won both games without a fully fit squad. It is now time for the Blues to start becoming ruthless.

The bye has come at a good time. After two wins, that were close and hotly contested, it will allow some time for some of the best 22 to recover from their injuries. Having Weitering down back will help the Blues massively in structure, and hopefully, Walsh will be fit enough from his back issues to return shortly after the bye, with games coming up against sides considered to be considerably lower than them in expectations for 2024 (North Melbourne and Fremantle).

These two games are a chance for the Blues to start playing some clinical footy, to really start boosting their percentage and get some significant winning margins. Plus, if they can perform well in these two games, they also have some very reasonable drawers coming up with the Adelaide Crows and GWS Giants games both being played in Melbourne.


The Blues need to keep working on that winning culture. Last year they had their best start to a year since 1995 being 3-0-1 after Round 4. They have the opportunity to improve on that and beyond, if they can beat their next two opponents they will start 4-0 for the first time since 1995, and with two games following in Melbourne, there is no reason they can do even better than that.

The positives are already starting to show. Harry McKay is kicking accurately and proving a reliable forward in the Blues team, along with Charlie Curnow. In the next few weeks, the Blues can start getting some of their best 22 back in the side, so there is now no excuse to be scraping wins. It is time for them to take the next step.

Harry McKay kicked the winning goal in Carlton's one-point win over Brisbane.

Harry McKay. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

They need to start playing four-quarter football, being clinical in their ball use, putting gaps between their opponents on the scoreboard and gaining momentum. Carlton are arguably in their best position since 1995, when they last won the flag. After 20-plus years of heartache, the Baggers are currently in the strongest position of management: an experienced and disciplined coach in Voss brings passion to the club, passion that is being well directed by positive football influences such as Brian Cook and a smart president in Luke Sayers. They are well positioned financially with membership nearing 90,000, with some of the most passionate supporters that show up in expectation and belief each week.

Carlton have it all in place. They need to be ruthless. This season, they need to set the bar to win 95 per cent of their games and finish top four for the first time since 2000, if they hope to taste premiership success. They have one of the best young lists in the competition with a good mix of experience.

The time has come for Carlton to start taking the game on. Keep developing that winning culture and start to focus on what a premiership side’s expectations are, a position they have not found themselves in for 29 years.