Carlton have made it three wins on the trot, the Blues defeating arch-rivals Collingwood by 15 points at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
Just seven games into a significant rebuild of last year’s wooden spooners, coach Brendon Bolton has his young AFL side playing strong, contested football that was the cornerstone of the 15.9 (99) to 12.12 (84) win in front of 60,222 fans.
The Pies trailed by as much as 30 points in the third quarter but came at the Blues in the final term, slicing the margin to 12 points.
However with the game on the line, Levi Casboult – much-maligned for his errant goal kicking – stepped up and slotted a long-range goal that stalled Collingwood’s momentum.
Casboult took 11 marks finished with three goals, as did Bryce Gibbs and Andrejs Everitt.
Gibbs was outstanding throughout, gathering 30 possessions, with Kade Simpson, Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy all important.
Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom were the standouts for Collingwood but their onball brigade was well beaten on the day.
With Travis Cloke still trying to find form in the VFL, the Pies lacked marking targets inside attacking 50, small forward Alex Fasolo their most dangerous forward with four goals.
Carlton were simply harder at the ball in the first half – they had 23 more contested possessions and took 11 more contested marks – but they didn’t take full advantage of that dominance.
They led by two points at the first break and 11 at halftime but, as they have too often so far this season, they kicked poorly in front of goal.
But Gibbs stepped up with all three of his goals in the third term as the Blues threatened to run away with the contest.
To their credit, the Pies didn’t go quietly but Carlton showed commendable composure under pressure to seal the victory.
Alarm bells are ringing for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, whose side slipped to a 2-5 record with the loss, while the Blues improve to 3-4.