Unity is not a word you’d associate with fallen AFL giants Carlton of previous years.
But coach Brendon Bolton says last week’s win over Fremantle has taught him the club is bound together.
The Blues’ win has been largely lost in the fallout from a match centred on the demise of last year’s minor premiers.
There were positives across the ground for Carlton, including another strong defensive match and a clutch effort at the death, particularly by maligned forward Liam Jones.
It was easy to understand why the Blues celebrated wildly after picking up their first win of the Bolton era.
And after soaking in the glow of four hard-earned points over the past week, Bolton said it proved the club was together again.
“To travel away and win against Freo shows we’re really unified,” he said.
“Most of our members can see we’ve got a fairly sound defensive action. There’s still a lot of improvement in it but it’s sound.
“We’ve got a good defensive action, we’re unified and we’re giving effort.”
Jones, 25, stood up in the final term with two goals – just the second time he’s kicked two in a match since joining Carlton.
Bolton hopes his improvement can mirror the club’s as they look to back up against Essendon on Sunday with another victory.
“Let’s hope particularly that last quarter is a little step in his development,” he said.
“It was great to see under pressure conditions that he finished those two goals.
“Hopefully, it’s one small step: similar to our win – One small step.”
Dennis Armfield plays his first match of the season, with Charlie Curnow (illness) and Dylan Buckley (calf) missing.
The Blues are favourites for the first time this year against the Bombers but Bolton says he isn’t pinning his hopes on a back-to-back success.
The mantra remains the same at Carlton despite their success over Fremantle; development brings wins, and not the other way around.
“We’re determined to go out and try and perform for another four quarters (but) we’re not going to define our year on one win or one loss.”