CARLTON star Chris Judd has made the startling admission he thinks the Blues are "a mediocre team".
The 9-10 Blues sit ninth on the ladder, leading a tight pack of teams hoping to sneak into the finals if Port Adelaide (eighth) slips up, or Essendon (seventh) is stripped of premiership points in the wake of its supplements scandal.
The Blues have lost their past two matches, severely denting their finals hopes, and Judd on Wednesday admitted the team had a lot of work to do to make themselves a premiership force under first-year coach Mick Malthouse.
"We're a mediocre team," Judd told reporters at a cancer charity event.
"It has given us some real clarity on where our club and where our list is at.
"I certainly don't think we've been able to band-aid over anything.
"The coaching staff have a really clear picture of that."
The Blues lock horns with an in-form Richmond outfit on Saturday at the MCG.
Judd, the 257-game veteran, suffered a medial ligament strain to his knee in last week's loss to the Western Bulldogs, and his absence will make Carlton's task even tougher.
In better news, ruckman Matthew Kreuzer could return this weekend after missing the Bulldogs' clash with a minor calf strain while speedster Jeff Garlett, who suffered a corked glute against the Dogs, is also a chance.
Meanwhile, Judd said he was definitely playing on next year, but added the fact he turns 30 next month means he's now one of those players who will face constant scrutiny over his future.
"I'm looking forward to next year and the challenges that await," he said.
Pressed on his plans for 2015, Judd added: "My guess is as good as yours.
"But I'm still certainly ready to gear up for next season.
"It's natural when players get to 30-plus those sorts of questions get asked.
"It's not surprising but I wasn't aware there was a whole lot of speculation about it."