THE BRILLIANCE of Carlton midfielder Paddy Dow's first-up performance has been enhanced after it emerged he played much of the contest with damage to his two front teeth.
Dow copped a bump in the first half from St Kilda backman Shane Savage but stayed on the park to help his side to an impressive 22-point win.
The effort drew nothing but praise from assistant David Teague, who took the reins as coach on Wednesday night at Ikon Park.
"He lost his two front teeth I think tonight. When you've got a first-round draft pick willing to put his head over the ball like that, I think it gives his players a lot of belief and trust in him," Teague said.
However, the forwards coach may not be as impressed after Dow revealed where his mouthguard had been at the time of impact.
"It was in the sock," Dow sheepishly admitted to Fox Footy after the match.
Nevertheless, it was a promising display from the No.3 selection in last year's NAB AFL Draft. Dow showed all the necessary traits to succeed at the elite level while collecting 13 disposals and booting two goals.
"He looked really strong around the contest and his burst out and his explosiveness was very exciting," Teague said.
WATCH: You put the mouthguard where, Paddy?
Exciting forward Jarrod Garlett suffered a left shoulder injury while tackling Jack Steven in the third quarter and was spotted in a sling afterwards.
Teague said the Blues will learn more about the damage on Thursday, but was left impressed by the former Sun's attack on the contest.
"It's exactly what you want. When you're new to a club, one way of earning respect and trust is doing efforts like that and he was challenged in that area," Teague said.
"That's what we want all our players to be able to do. To see him do that, I think his teammates would be really proud of him."
WATCH: Jarrod Garlett injures his shoulder in a strong tackle
Former Cat Darcy Lang has an ankle injury, but the Blues are hopeful he will be available for round one, while Jacob Weitering (neck) and Sam Petrevski-Seton (quad) are chances to face Hawthorn on Saturday week at the University of Tasmania Stadium.
Meanwhile, St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was disappointed his side, which was close to full strength, did not adapt well to the windy conditions.
"We were pretty rusty, there's no doubt about that. We took a long time to adjust to the conditions. The guys kept thinking they could kick the ball 50-60m against the breeze, forwards thinking it was going to come over the back," Richardson said.
The return of 2014 No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin was a positive with the big forward slotting a couple of goals and creating a few other chances.
"Paddy could have had a pretty big game. He dropped a couple of marks. He's a really good mark, Paddy, and he dropped a couple that he'd normally take, but still ended up having a pretty positive impact," Richardson said.
Star Jack Billings is expected to return for next Thursday's clash against Melbourne against Casey Fields.
"He was pretty keen to play tonight but just felt that he needed another solid training session, which he'll do, I think tomorrow," Richardson said.
Tall forward Josh Bruce could also take part in that game after he booted three goals for Sandringham in the curtain-raiser against the Northern Blues.
WATCH: Josh Bruce kicks his third goal for Sandringham
And here's Bruce's third goal. Still in the second quarter. pic.twitter.com/vtrDzD35qt— Dinny Navaratnam (@dinnynavaratnam) February 28, 2018
He played in the VFL after having only returned from knee surgery two weeks ago.
Captain Jarryn Geary missed the second half against Carlton after copping a head knock but that absence was precautionary.
"He just got a bit dazed. He's pulled up really well," Richardson said.