Patrick Cripps celebrates after Carlton's win over Gold Coast at Heritage Bank Stadium on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON coach Michael Voss says the job isn't done for his side despite securing its first finals berth since 2013 with Saturday's thrilling four-point comeback win over Gold Coast.

The Blues' September confirmation comes after last year's heartbreaking near miss in Voss' first season in charge, when they lost their final four home-and-away games to slip out of the top eight which it had occupied all season.

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This season has been another rollercoaster for Carlton, slumping to 15th after round 13 with a 4-1-8 record, before rallying to win its next nine games and storm into top-four contention.

But Voss isn't content with simply ending the club's finals drought, with Carlton's winning form ensuring it looms as a genuine premiership threat in 2023.

"This wasn't about making finals, it's about impacting them," Voss said.

"I feel like the job isn't done. We've got more in us. We're really keen to go to the line hard because we feel like we've got that momentum.

"We've had lots of questions asked about us, as you would expect playing against really high level competition. We've been able to work our way through some of those.

"We weren’t perfect today, in fact we were imperfect a lot but we were able to work our way through that."


Voss was under considerable pressure earlier in the season after the Blues lost six games in a row, as well as eight of nine to appear out of finals contention in mid-June.

Carlton's triumph over Melbourne last week had been a significant step in qualifying for the finals, but Saturday's win over the Suns mathematically ensured it, which Blues fans will appreciate after last year's late-season slide when it appeared destined for September.

"That was a big moment for the club," Voss said about securing its finals spot.

"Since I started, that goal has been clear about what our direction needed to look like. We've had to work through a lot of things as a team. We've had an extreme amount of adversity. There's a great story in behind that. We've taken a lot out of that.

"The last nine weeks have been amazing. It was a great moment for the club to be able to have that confirmation that we're playing finals footy. It hasn't been said for a while at this club. I'm pleased I'm saying it."


Carlton trailed by 40 points six minutes into the second term against Gold Coast, before reeling off the next seven goals including four from Coleman Medal leader Charlie Curnow, who finished with five and took a game-saving mark in defence in the final 10 seconds.

"It was a brilliant performance," Voss said about Curnow. "It was an absolutely brilliant performance.

"I'd like to sit here and say everyone does their role, but you've also got to be able to take your moments. He's taking his moments. Any little window he is getting, he's been able to impact significantly. The boys have a lot of confidence going with him.

"He brings an enormous amount of energy. He doesn't just bring the crowd along, he brings the players along as well."


Harry McKay managed 1.1 from 10 disposals and five marks on his return following arthroscopic surgery on his knee which he injured in round 18 against Port Adelaide.

"He got up the ground, moved around, I think he'll certainly be better for the run," Voss said about McKay.

"He's done an enormous effort to get back in the timeframe he has. With a little bit more training, getting him back into that mix will be really important for us. I think he's only going to get stronger and stronger."

Voss added he expected both Adam Cerra and Sam Walsh to be available next week to face Greater Western Sydney following hamstring injuries after both trained well on Saturday.

Suns interim coach Steven King conceded his side went into its shell during Carlton's barrage in the six-goal-to-one second term after Gold Coast had flown out of the blocks with some electric footy.

It's not the first time this season Gold Coast has struggled to stand up against momentum, including last week's third term against Sydney (6.2 to 2.2), the opening term against Adelaide in round 21 (5.2 to 0.3), the third quarter against Port Adelaide in round 17 (9.2 to 1.1), the first half against Collingwood in round 16 (11.6 to 1.4) and the second quarter against Carlton in round 14 (9.3 to 0.3).

"Clearly we came here with a plan to try to take the game on a bit more and have a bit more dare with the ball which came to life in that first quarter," he said.

"We knew Carlton would come out and respond, apply more pressure and they were able to hold us up a bit. With that pressure they were able to gain momentum.

"For us we probably went into our shells a little bit. They punished us there for a patch of that second quarter. We've probably had patches in games where that's happened to us."


King added that the players had handled well the added distraction of speculation about Damien Hardwick's imminent appointment as the new Suns coach.

"It's been a challenge but we came here today to win this game of footy, so that was ultimately all we were concerned about," King said.

"Whatever's happening on the periphery, that's happening. Within our four walls, we came here to win a game of footy.

"We were right in this game today. To the boys' credit, they showed they're not here to let the year slip away quietly. Unfortunately we couldn't get that done today."