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'Relying on last year's nine-game win streak is unsustainable': If Carlton is to finish top four, issues need to be addressed

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Roar Guru
22nd May, 2024

Even though it’s less than halfway through the season, Carlton’s ambitions to be a top-four contender are already facing significant hurdles, which need to be addressed urgently if they are to make a genuine run for the finals.

Despite showing flashes of brilliance, the Blues have struggled with consistency, costing them crucial matches and points on the ladder.

Here are my thoughts on some key issues Carlton must resolve to become a top-four team.

1. Starting Well and Fading Out
One of the most glaring problems Carlton has faced this season is their inability to maintain a strong start throughout the entire game.

The Blues have had a tendency to start matches with great energy and effectiveness, only to fade out as the game progresses.

For instance, against Melbourne, Carlton kicked the first six goals but barely managed to scrape through with a one-point win.

Similarly, they kicked the first four goals against Sydney but ended up losing by a staggering 62 points.


These fade-outs are a major concern because top-four teams are known for playing four consistent quarters of football.

Carlton must find a way to maintain their intensity and focus from the first bounce to the final siren.

2. Inaccuracy in Front of Goal
Another critical issue for Carlton is their poor accuracy in front of goal, which has often let them down in crucial moments.

Harry McKay’s shocking miss from the goal square against Sydney is a prime example.

Such misses can severely impact a team’s confidence and momentum. In that game, Sydney capitalized on Carlton’s missed opportunities and gained the upper hand shortly after.

For Carlton to be competitive against top teams, they need to convert their scoring opportunities reliably.

Inaccurate goal-kicking not only leaves points on the table but also gives the opposition chances to counterattack and gain control of the game.

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

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

3. Losing Winnable Games
Carlton has lost several games this season that they should have won, highlighting a troubling lack of killer instinct.

In a match against the Adelaide Crows, Carlton held a 16-point lead with under 10 minutes to play, only to concede the last three goals and lose by two points.

Similarly, they squandered a 19-point lead against Collingwood, allowing Nick Daicos to kick the winning goal with less than a minute left.

These losses are particularly frustrating because they demonstrate that Carlton can compete with any team, but their inability to close out games suggests a mental fragility that must be addressed.

4. Struggles Against Top Teams
For Carlton to be seen as a genuine top-four contender, they need to show competitiveness against the best teams in the league.

However, this season, they have struggled against top-four sides and teams currently ahead of them in the eight. Inaccurate kicking cost them a winnable game against Geelong, who themselves are now fading.


To be a top-four team, Carlton must not only win the games they are expected to win but also challenge and beat the top teams.

This requires a combination of skill, strategy, and mental toughness, areas where they have been found wanting.

Adam Cerra handballs under pressure from Christian Salem.

Adam Cerra under pressure from Christian Salem. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

5. Urgency for Improvement
At round 11, Carlton sits 10th on the ladder, a far cry from the top-four contender they aspire to be.

Starting the season with a 4-0 record, their current position underscores a significant drop in form and consistency. With a challenging run home, making the eight will itself be a tough task, let alone pushing for a top-four spot.

To turn their season around, Carlton must address their fadeouts, ensure they play four quarters of consistent football, and take advantage of basic scoring opportunities.

Without these improvements, their chances of not just making the top four but even playing finals footy are slim.


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Last year, Carlton made a remarkable run from 15th to fifth by winning nine consecutive games, showing that they have the potential to rise to the occasion.

However, relying on such streaks is unsustainable. Consistency and reliability must be their focus if they hope to build on last year’s success and become a formidable force in the league.

In summary, Carlton’s path to being a top-four contender is fraught with challenges. However, it’s not unachievable given that while they sit out of the eight, without percentages they are equal sixth in a pack of teams. The Blues are close enough if good enough to make these alterations.

They must learn to maintain their intensity, improve their accuracy in front of goal, close out winnable games, and compete fiercely against top teams.

Only then can they hope to meet their expectations and make a genuine run for the flag.