Carlton have been left reeling by a costly loss to St Kilda, compounded by injuries and a potential suspension to key players.
The Saints had to survive a determined Blues last-quarter onslaught to win 11.11 (77) to 9.14 (68) in front of a crowd of 34,054 at Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
Midfielder Jack Steven was superb for the winners, with 39 disposals, nine clearances and nine tackles, while skipper Nick Riewoldt (13 marks, three goals) continued his outstanding season and Nick Dal Santo (26 disposals) found some much-needed touch.
The Saints led by 35 points entering the last quarter, but Carlton, who had managed just four majors in the first three terms, kicked five in the first 18 minutes of the last quarter to close to within four points.
Three of those came to Lachie Henderson, who had spent much of the match struggling to contain Riewoldt before shifting forward.
But St Kilda’s Ahmed Saad sealed the win with a long-range snap early in time-on, which proved the last goal of the game.
It was just St Kilda’s second win of the season, their only previous victory having come against Greater Western Sydney.
The Blues took a heavy toll.
They lost Andrew Carrazzo pre-game, his late withdrawal meaning a second straight game missed with a calf complaint.
David Ellard was subbed off midway through the first term with what appeared to be a severe hamstring injury, the midfielder having to be carried off by trainers.
Chris Yarran went to the rooms with a hamstring injury soon after and did not return.
And key defender Michael Jamison injured a shoulder early in the match.
While he played on, he clearly struggled.
Adding to the damage, Eddie Betts faces trouble from the match review panel on Tuesday for a high bump on Saint Nathan Wright in the third term, which caused Wright to be subbed off.
Earlier, Carlton’s Andrew Walker kicked a five-bounce goal-of-the-year contender to give the Blues a seven-point lead 11 minutes in, but the Saints kicked eight of the next nine goals to take a 36-point lead by midway through the third term.