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Match report: New-look Blues outgun Hawks

JLT2: Match Highlights Hawks v Blues Relive the close match under lights in Tassie as the Hawks went down to the Blues in JLT2.
Carlton's Jack Silvagni tackles Hawthorn's James Frawley - AFL,JLT Series,Hawthorn Hawks,Carlton Blues,University of Tasmania Stadium
Carlton's Jack Silvagni tackles Hawthorn's James Frawley

CARLTON will be sweating on the fitness of No.1 ruckman Matthew Kreuzer after the big Blue sat out most of Saturday night's five-point JLT Community Series win over Hawthorn in Launceston with a suspected ankle injury.

Kreuzer limped to the rooms late in the first term of Carlton's second JLT victory, casting some doubt over his likely availability just 12 days out from the round one clash with reigning premier Richmond at the MCG.

The Blues flourished in an eight-goal third term to take a two-point lead into the final quarter and more than held their own in the wash-up, running out 16.6 (102) to 13.19 (97) winners in a frantic finish.

Full match coverage and stats

"The belief the boys should have got from not playing their best footy but still winning is enormous," Carlton assistant coach Cam Bruce told reporters in Launceston. "I think that's a sign of growth with this group, winning ugly.

"The biggest thing was we started to play the way we wanted to play. We weren't giving Hawthorn the game on their terms.

"The inside 50 differential was significant (in the first half). We corrected that, improved that, but we still think there's plenty more improvement in our group which is exciting."

Led by the impressive young duo of Jacob Weitering and Patrick Cripps, the Blues ran home strongly against a Hawks outfit that effectively played three short on the night by choosing to take a five-man interchange into the match opposed to Carlton's eight-man bench.

But as well as the fatigue factor possibly costing the Hawks, they were guilty of being wasteful in front of goal, missing a number of chances throughout the match.

"We controlled a lot of the indicators of the game we like which is inside 50s and scoring opportunities and we applied enormous pressure to the Carlton side," Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said. "We were pleased with a lot of things outside of the scoreboard.

"By-and-large we just lacked polish in front of goal."

WATCH: One Hawk finds his range in front of goal

Perhaps surprisingly, the usually reliable Shaun Burgoyne was particularly wayward, registering 0.5 including a couple of close-range set-shots he would normally bury.

As it was, the Blues were up for the fight when they eventually overcame their own field kicking woes, a feature of the early stages that led to repeated turnovers and all of Hawthorn's three first-quarter goals.

The Hawks led by just four points at quarter time, failing to capitalise on their 19 forward entries, in contrast to the Blues who had also kicked three goals but only went inside forward 50 on eight occasions for the term.

While Zac Fisher bobbed up for two majors in the opening quarter, it was the electric pace of Jarrod Pickett that really lit up Carlton’s forward line when he put a late goal on a plate for Jed Lamb to trim the Hawthorn lead to within a kick at the first break.

WATCH: Surprise Blue gets the ball rolling

New recruit Jarman Impey enjoyed another impressive night out for the Hawks with three goals from his 18 possessions, but may have some explaining to do following a run-in with Lamb during the third term.

Jarman Impey didn't appreciate the close attention from Jed Lamb. Pic credit: AFL Photos

The former Port Adelaide flyer appeared to take exception to close attention from Lamb during a contest near the boundary and television replays appeared to show Impey thrusting his head towards the Carlton player as the pair regained their feet.

WATCH: The incident that will have Hawthorn fans concerned

Hawthorn’s lead had extended to 22 points in the third term, but in positive signs ahead of their round one date with Richmond, the Blues refused to throw in the towel and were particularly impressive during an eight-goals-to-four third term that gave them a well-deserved but narrow lead at the final change.

Hawthorn: When they're allowed to move the ball and dominate possession, the Hawks are a dangerous outfit. That said, they struggled to convert during a dominant first half and failed to shut out the Blues as a result. 

Carlton: There's no end of talent right across the Carlton list and fans will be salivating at the prospect of seeing the likes of Patrick Cripps, Charlie Curnow, Jacob Weitering and Sam Petrevski-Seton continue to emerge as superstars-in-waiting during 2018.

WATCH: Carlton's fresh injury worry

Hawthorn: Jarman Impey continued to show enough to suggest he will be a genuinely valuable addition for the Hawks in 2018. The former Port Adelaide flyer started in the centre square but also was managed to get forward to hit the scoreboard with three goals.

Carlton: Cam O'Shea was made to wait until the third quarter to return to AFL action for the first time in 567 days, the former Port Adelaide defender playing a role across half-back and is seemingly in with a chance of round one selection.

Hawthorn take on Collingwood under lights at the MCG and will be looking for a more ruthless performance around goals against the Pies. 

Carlton will buoyed by the win but will need to be on top of their game when tackling 2017 premiers Richmond at the MCG in the season opener.

HAWTHORN   3.5       8.12     12.13   13.19 (97)
CARLTON        3.1       6.3       14.4     16.6 (102) 

Impey 3, Breust 3, Henderson 2, Puopolo 2, Gunston, Smith, Morrison
Carlton: Thomas 3, Silvagni 2, Pickett 2, Fisher 2, Lamb, Casboult, Mullett, E.Curnow, Wright, Kennedy, Cripps

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Impey, O'Meara, Gunston, Howe
Carlton: Weitering, Cripps, Casboult, Thomas

Hawthorn: Puopolo (leg)
Carlton: Kreuzer (ankle)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Hosking, Schmitt, Hay

Official crowd: 5405 at University of Tasmania Stadium