Charlie Curnow during Carlton's training session at Ikon Park on September 18, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

CARLTON star Charlie Curnow is ready to shake off a difficult start to his first finals series and stand tall in the Blues' preliminary final against Brisbane on Saturday.

The back-to-back Coleman Medallist kicked 78 goals across the regular season - including 19 through two games against wooden spooners West Coast.

But he was held to a goal in both the elimination final win over Sydney and the semi-final defeat of Melbourne.

In the latter, Curnow was comfortably held by tough defender Steven May, who worked off the forward to rack up seven marks and 21 disposals.

"My process each week is just trying to create a contest and get the ball to ground and work off from there," Curnow said on Monday.

"You get to come up against the best defenders in the comp and that's the best part about finals.

"Maysy's a gun and yeah, it was a tough contest on the weekend.

"We're looking forward to this weekend also but (I'll) pretty much get back to the basics, and my workrate in contests is something I always look to, so I'll be looking to do that again this week."


At the Gabba on Saturday evening, Curnow will square off with either Brisbane sensation Jack Payne - who held him to a goal in the Lions' 26-point win in round eight - or experienced co-captain Harris Andrews.

"They're great defenders. They've been doing it a long time and they've obviously got a great team defence too," Curnow said.

"But I try not to look at defenders too much. I back in what I'm doing at the time.

"Me and Harry (McKay) look at our leading patterns a lot and Ash Hanson helps us out. But I try and focus on more myself and not worry too much about them."


Payne is under an ankle injury cloud, although Curnow said he was unaware of doubts around the 23-year-old.

Undoubtedly helping Curnow's cause will be partner-in-crime McKay's return from concussion.

Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay after Carlton's loss to Collingwood in R23, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"My role doesn't really change, it stays the same," Curnow said.

"It obviously helps me out heaps having 'H' back in. It's another tall forward target that can draw defenders and helps the whole team.

"It's pretty important. You can work off each other and I probably don't have to run to as many contests, which is nice, and we share the loads a bit.

"But nothing really changes structure-wise, we try and fill the space otherwise. He's been out a few times and I've been out a few times.

"So it's always a treat when we get to play together."