Patrick Cripps leads Carlton off the Adelaide Oval after its loss to Adelaide in Gather Round, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON coach Michael Voss wants to banish his Gather Round blues in the high-stakes encounter with another unbeaten team, Fremantle.

Voss says he has learnt the lessons from the Blues' flop in the opening game of the inaugural Gather Round.

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Arriving undefeated, they copped a 56-point drubbing from Adelaide amid much Gather Round hype.

"In some ways it came as quite a surprise for us last year," Voss told reporters on Friday.

"And we got caught on the back foot last year, not quite ready and able to compete the way we needed to.

"We take that lesson coming into this week, understand this is what the week is all about, you have got people coming from everywhere.

Michael Voss looks on during the R1 match between Carlton and Richmond at the MCG on March 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's for us to make sure that we turn up the right way and don't take any moment for granted.

"Our, if you want to call it evolution, as a team, is that we mature as performers and we become a really reliable and really consistent football team.

"Our job is to be able to win anywhere and no matter what the environment provides and we weren't ready for that last year."

Voss predicted there would be an Adelaide Oval pressure-cooker against Justin Longmuir's Dockers, who hold third spot, three places ahead of the Blues.

"Neutral territory, the two sides are in some really good form," he said.

"I feel like our form has been growing across the weeks, I still feel like we've got plenty to get after.

"So we'll try and take some of that into the Freo game but they've been playing in some really good form up against some good opposition."


Carlton, which welcomed its captain Patrick Cripps into camp on Thursday hours after his partner gave birth to a girl, replaced Caleb Marchbank (concussion) with Brodie Kemp and the Dockers are unchanged.

Voss has steeled his charges with cracking Fremantle's defensive code - Longmuir's outfit has conceded only 180 points in its three wins.

"The biggest thing they've always been known for is that they defend really well as a team ... they're hard to score against," Voss said.

"So it means your game has got to be in shape ... be patient, wait for your opportunities because they do defend very well."

Voss also put the heat on his midfield to combat Freo's in-form onballers headed by Caleb Serong, who leads the League in average disposals - 36 - and could face close attention from George Hewett.

"He might, we haven't necessarily looked at as a shutdown type - (Andrew) Brayshaw is another one who I think is just a fantastic player," Voss said.

"But we've taken a team approach to most of these challenges so far this year."