1. Lamb dishes frustrating night to Sicily
James Sicily's recent emergence as a counter-attacking weapon in Hawthorn's backline earned him a close-checking tag from Blues forward Jed Lamb. In the eight rounds before Saturday night's game, Sicily had averaged 24.6 possessions, 9.6 marks and 4.7 rebound 50s a game. But Lamb held the forward-turned-defender to just 11 disposals, one mark and three rebound 50s in the first three quarters. Sicily did not appreciate the attention and his frustration spilled over as he gave away seven free kicks. The most costly came early in the third term, when he gave away a downfield free after shoving Lamb 40m off the ball. The Blues forward made no mistake with the resultant 40m set shot and, later in the term, added another. Lamb officially claimed Sicily's scalp when the Hawk was moved into attack at the start of the final term, with the Blues opting to leave Lamb in their forward 50.
2. Carlton breaks 12-year drought
The Blues had not beaten Hawthorn since round six, 2005, when they ran on to Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Their losing streak against the Hawks sat at 14 long games and it was obvious from the opening bounce they were determined to end it there. Carlton sprung out of the blocks with a 4.4 first term that equaled its highest opening quarters of the season (round nine against Fremantle and round 13 against Gold Coast). The Blues were headed briefly late in the second term and again midway through the third term, but hit back each time. After the Blues led by eight points at three-quarter time, the Hawks closed to within two points when Isaac Smith snapped a brilliant goal early in the final term. But where Carlton had let several close games slip this season, it found a way this time. Goals to Matthew Kreuzer and Jarrod Pickett put it 15 points up midway through the last quarter and it was able to hold on. The win also boosts the Blues' chances of avoiding the wooden spoon.
3. Hawks' finals chances snuffed out
Hawthorn's finals hopes have officially been snuffed out. The Hawks' chances of playing finals were faint entering round 22, but they were kept alive ahead of Saturday night's game when West Coast (eighth at the start of round 22) lost to Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs (ninth) lost to Port Adelaide. Those defeats left the Eagles and Dogs on 44 premiership points and meant the Hawks (12th) could claw within half a game of them with a win over the Blues. Even if Essendon (10th) defeated Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night and St Kilda (11th) defeated North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, the Hawks would have entered round 23 with a mathematical chance of making the finals. However, the Blues' eight-point win ensured Hawthorn's season will end next Friday night. Still, it was a brave effort by the Hawks to overcome a 1-5 start to 2017 and salvage a highly respectable season.
4. O'Meara's three-year victory drought continues
Entering Saturday night's game, Jaeger O'Meara had not played since round six, but the midfielder's lengthy stint on the sidelines paled in comparison to the time he had gone without a win. Before running out to take on the Blues, O'Meara had not played in a winning team since August 2, 2014. That night the midfielder, then just 20, was part of the Gold Coast team that thumped St Kilda by 53 points in round 19 at Metricon Stadium. O'Meara's losing streak, of course, included the 2015 and 2016 seasons when he did not play a senior game because of debilitating knee problems. After crossing to the Hawthorn in last year's NAB AFL Trade Period, O'Meara played four of this season's first six rounds, but missed the Hawks' only win in that stretch, against West Coast in round five. The Hawks' loss on Saturday night ensures his wait will stretch on for at least another six days, when O'Meara will presumably be desperate to finally sing his club's song.
5. Pickett finally starting to shine
Jarrod Pickett arrived at Carlton late last year with serious queries over whether he could deliver on the talent that saw Greater Western Sydney take him at pick No.4 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft. The small forward did not play a game in two seasons with GWS and some in football queried whether he had the dedication required to succeed at AFL level. Pickett's performance against the Hawks was the strongest indication yet that the speedster is going to prove an astute pick-up by Carlton. Pickett had a career-high 16 touches on Saturday night – 12 of them contested – and kept Hawthorn's defenders on their toes all night with his defensive pressure. The 21-year-old also kicked 2.1, his second goal ultimately sealing the game for the Blues. It came after he took a brave mark running back with the flight of the ball midway through the final quarter. He calmly drilled the resultant set shot from 40m, suggesting he is someone who won't shrink from the big moments.