Sam Walsh handballs during Carlton's clash against Essendon in round 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

BUOYED by what happened a year ago, Sam Walsh feels Carlton is well-placed to fire again coming out of its mid-season bye.

The Blues were uncertainly placed on five wins and a draw from 14 games when they resumed from their break last season.

They exploded, going on a nine-game winning streak that propelled them into the finals.

Carlton made a preliminary final, losing to Brisbane by only 13 points, and hopes have been high that it will go one game deeper into this season.

Despite an injury list that has been brutally long at times, the Blues are much better placed this time on 9-4, including wins in their last three games.

They will resume on Friday night in a massive MCG clash with Geelong.


"This is where the strong teams really start to fire and that's because they put in a block of work of training throughout the season," Walsh said on Tuesday.

"I feel like our training intensity has been a good barometer. We've been able to reset ... we knew how important this period was for us last year and it's the same again.

"The thing I've liked about this year is post each game, we've reviewed what we want our identity to be and then gone to work on that. Each week, you feel that we're making strides in different areas.

"I feel that ... we're mature enough now to know that you have to be consistent each week to be a respected team in the comp."

Sam Walsh is tackled by Tom Green during Carlton's win over GWS in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A back injury delayed Walsh's start to the season, but the star onballer has not missed a beat since resuming in round five.

While Walsh's output was down in a pre-bye win over Essendon, a major midfield highlight for Carlton was another outstanding tag from Alex Cincotta.

Cincotta kept Bombers captain Zach Merrett to 21 disposals and has been a revelation this season for Carlton in his new midfield role.

"Alex has been unreal. You see the way he trains, there's no mistake why he gets it done on gameday," Walsh said.

Michael Voss and Alex Cincotta celebrate Carlton's win over Essendon in round 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"There are a lot of players in the competition who can break games open – if you can negate that and go back the other way, it's important.

"All of us mids want to be two-way strong runners, but Alex adds that extra edge to really go opposition hunting."

Cincotta could be assigned to Cats captain Patrick Dangerfield, set to resume from hamstring problems.

Walsh and teammate Mitch McGovern were at Coburg Primary School to promote the Carlton Respects community program, which aims to combat domestic violence.