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THE TEAGUE train regained momentum before the wheels fells off at Ikon Park on Sunday as Carlton suffered a 45-point loss to a full-strength Brisbane.
The Blues jumped out of the blocks with the first four goals to the delight of the home crowd at Carlton headquarters, and were still 12 points in front early in the third term before the listless Lions finally burst to life with nine of the next 11 goals to win 16.15 (111) to 10.6 (66).
The Blues will also await assessments on defensive duo Caleb Marchbank (knock to the knee) and Lachie Plowman (rolled ankle) as they prepare for their round one clash with reigning premier Richmond.
It won't quite have the Blues' faithful optimistic of causing a boilover against reigning premier Richmond in round one, but for three quarters Carlton certainly bounced back from a disappointing showing in their previous hitout against Fremantle and will have gained some confidence in their game plan under first-year coach David Teague.
BLUES BLOWN AWAY Full match coverage and stats
For the bulk of the first two-and-a-half quarters the Blues established a premiership season blueprint: they won the ball well, moved it cleanly, caused some headaches with their mobile attack and applied a strong brand of team defence that the Lions found difficult to penetrate.
When Chris Fagan's men began to hunt the ball and move it with purpose and regained their composure, the 2019 preliminary finalist overwhelmed the Blues and the floodgates opened.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
While Eddie Betts set the Blues alight with two of his team's first three goals in his first official game back at the club, at the other end Brisbane star Charlie Cameron scored a game-high five goals in a typically electrifying display.
Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps and young gun Sam Walsh generated plenty of possession in the first half and recruits in former Gold Coast runner Jack Martin and ex-Saint Jack Newnes were also influential.
Lions stars in skipper Dayne Zorko and Lachie Neale were well held in the first half before breaking clear after the break, leading the way for a wave of runners that also included Hugh McCluggage, Jarryd Lyons and Jarrod Berry, whose two goals at the start of the last quarter virtually put the game beyond Carlton's reach.
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Both teams took the opportunity to use 26 players in a full-scale dress rehearsal for round one.
It was a symbolic occasion for the Blues given it was the first time co-captains Cripps and the returning Sam Docherty had led the club on the field in an official AFL game.
It was also the first time in seven years that Blues veteran trio Kade Simpson, Marc Murphy and Eddie Betts had been teammates.
Simpson copped a knock in the second term after courageously chopping off a lead but remarkably emerged unscathed.
Carlton: Ex-Sun Jack Martin was at times a brilliant playmaker with his vision and skill execution, while former Saint Jack Newnes showed he could also prove a canny acquisition with his run and creativity.
Brisbane: Prized draftee Deven Robertson was super-impressive in his first senior hitout, while former Hawthorn veteran Grant Birchall continues to gain confidence in his body, even drifting forward to kick a goal on the run in the last quarter. Ex-Gold Coast runner Callum Ah Chee also enjoyed some good moments.
Carlton: Star forward Charlie Curnow (knee) faces an indefinite period on the sidelines, while fellow key forward Harry McKay (groin) remains in the frame for an early season return. Sam Pretrevski-Seton(quad) is in the mix for round one.
Brisbane: No one. The Lions' small injury list doesn't include anyone who would be considered for a senior game.
Young Lion Deven Robertson ($228,000) could prove a steal given he is a chance to debut in round one, while Jack Silvagni ($491,000) looked terrific in the first half in a roaming forward role.
In round one, Carlton faces reigning premier Richmond in their annual season-opener under lights at the MCG on Thursday March 19, and at the same venue three days later Brisbane takes on Hawthorn.
CARLTON 5.3 7.4 9.6 10.6 (66)
BRISBANE 3.4 6.5 10.11 16.15 (111)
Carlton: Betts 2, Gibbons 2, Casboult, Newnes, Curnow, Silvagni, Setterfield, De Koning
Brisbane: Cameron 5, Zorko 2, Berry 2, McStay 2, McCluggage, Ah Chee, McInerney, Berry, Birchall
Carlton: Cripps, Walsh, Setterfield, Docherty, Martin, Newnes
Brisbane: Cameron, Zorko, Martin, McCluggage, Berry, Gardiner
Carlton: Marchbank (knee), Plowman (ankle)
Umpires: Johansen, Hosking, Broadbent
Official crowd: 7148 at Ikon Park