Harry McKay after a heavy collision during round 19 between Carlton and North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, July 21, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

CARLTON is facing a nervous wait on the fitness of key pair Tom De Koning and Sam Walsh after reclaiming second spot on the AFL ladder with a 19-point win over North Melbourne.

De Koning (foot) and Walsh (back) were both hurt in a bruising encounter as the Blues were made to fight all the way to secure an important 16.11 (107) to 14.4 (88) win at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

BLUES v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

It returned Carlton (11-6) to the top-two behind ladder leaders Sydney, but the fallout could be costly ahead of a huge clash with Port Adelaide next round.

De Koning hobbled off with a sore left foot, which was stepped on during the first quarter, and spent an extended period in the change room.


The No.1 ruckman eventually returned and was involved in a tough battle with Tristan Xerri, having a say in the Blues' crucial third-quarter surge.

Walsh, who missed the start of the season with a recurrence of his previous back injury, was also sore after a series of heavy collisions but was one of Carlton's best with 25 disposals.

"We've got a few that we need to assess," Blues coach Michael Voss said.

"They got through the game OK, but they just needed a few checks.


"'TDK' (De Koning) was treated and went back out there, and Walshy got kneed in the back so we've got to see how that settles."

Asked if there was extra concern around Walsh, given his history, Voss said: "No, I don't think so.

"He's had a direct knock there so as far as I'm aware that's all it currently is."

Harry McKay passed a concussion test after a whack to the nose, Sam Durdin was nursing a sore calf during his first game back in more than two years and Blake Acres was subbed out with "little bumps and bruises".


Coleman Medal leader Charlie Curnow kicked four goals, including three in the third term as Carlton overhauled a 17-point deficit in a tight encounter.

The Blues' spearhead was involved in an engrossing battle with Griffin Logue, who impressed on return after more than a year out with a knee injury.

Both sides had chances to win, but Carlton settled the contest when Adam Saad and McKay kicked goals from a 50-metre penalty and free kick respectively late in the final term.

"It was an extremely hard game and it looked from the outside like a pretty high-quality game, but we had to go all the way for it," Voss said. 

Blues captain Patrick Cripps (29 disposals, nine clearances) and George Hewett (22, eight) were also influential in the middle, while small forwards Matt Owies and Jesse Motlop kicked three goals each.


Harry Sheezel (34 touches, two goals) starred for North, Charlie Comben and Paul Curtis kicked three majors each and Xerri had game-high tallies of 11 clearances, 10 tackles and 43 hit-outs.

"Carlton were second on the ladder and a formidable opponent, but we played some good footy to really serve it up to them," Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"The bounce of the ball, a decision here or there and it could've been a very different result.


"It was a three-goal margin at the end but it was an arm-wrestle from go to woah.

"It's a real credit to our lads that we were able to hold in there for the fight."

North's defeat left them second-from-bottom with a 2-16 record ahead of a clash with Geelong in Hobart.