Adam Saad, Zac Williams and Jordan Boyd celebrate after the R13 match between Carlton and Essendon at the MCG on June 9, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THIS time last year, Carlton was at its lowest ebb for the season.

A 34-point loss to Essendon at the MCG consigned the Blues to 15th spot on the ladder with four wins and a draw.

From there, Carlton won nine in a row, and 11 of its last 13 games of the season, before falling to Brisbane in a preliminary final.

This year, the Blues head into their mid-season bye in second spot, having won nine matches, including seeing off the Bombers in the corresponding fixture to the tune of 26 points.

Essendon dominated the inside-50 count on Sunday night, recording 19 more than Carlton, as well as 58 more uncontested possessions and four more marks inside 50.

"Carlton of the first half of last year would have lost that one," Blues vice-captain Jacob Weitering told after the match.


"It was a little bit of redemption. We had 34 tackles against them last year, it was that end-point of that pretty horrible run for us, and it was a massive turning point. It was a talking point this week, and a good way to respond against the arch-rival.

"Teams are going to get a run-on, it's more of a momentum game than ever before. We just have to be able to hold up in those moments, (stay) composed, we've got pretty good leaders out on the field, we've got 12-13 guys that know exactly what they're doing, then we've got some role players who listen and do their thing."

Weitering has had a solid season by any measure, patrolling the backline and shutting out the opposition's best forwards, but he feels he still has more to give in 2024 after a well-earned bye.

"I don't think I'm at my best yet, but the team and the team defence is getting to its best," Weitering said.


"You've got to celebrate guys like Brodie Kemp who's playing really consistent footy, Mitch McGovern, 'Saady' (Adam Saad) coming back in, Lachie Cowan as a young player. If I'm not marking it, then 'Kempy' is, it's a good defence to be a part of, and as long as we're winning games, I'm happy.

"I need the week off, I think everyone does. I didn't do a whole lot of pre-season [due to a calf injury], copped a couple of knocks as well, but that's part and parcel of footy and we keep rolling.

"I'll go away with the partner for a little bit, a lot of life admin and make sure I don't get too complacent about the back end of the year."

Jacob Weitering grabs Kyle Langford during the R13 match between Carlton and Essendon at the MCG on June 9, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Weitering has played for Carlton since 2016, and having seen various iterations of the side through that time, believes this is the Blues' best shot for premiership glory in his career thus far.

"We've established an identity which we do week-in, week-out, which is the main thing," he said.

"It's not just writing on a wall anymore, the behaviours, the values, from 'Vossy' (coach Michael Voss) down, [president] Luke Sayers, [football boss] Brad Lloyd. we've got stability now, and now it's just confidence that the playing group can go out and do a job, and that's what we have to do. 

"We had a good result last year getting to a prelim, but we're not satisfied with that. 

"We want to win the big one, that's the goal."