HAPPY Easter, Bluebaggers.
That was the touching message from coach Brendon Bolton after his side claimed its first victory of the season, downing the Western Bulldogs by 44 points at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
Bolton was up at 6.30am on the morning of the game for an Easter egg hunt with his children Ned and Rosie and the Blues coach resembled a kid who had just unwrapped his first chocolate egg following the win over the Bulldogs.
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"We've been building towards this. We've been in games and we've been really close to getting a result in the last four weeks and internally we've understood that," Bolton said in his post-game press conference.
"Last week (against Gold Coast) was hard to swallow because until the last 10 seconds we had the game.
"I just want to comment on the resolve of the playing group because you could easily lose morale and sink but they were out training and we had to slow them down from doing their extras and it was a mature response.
"To the Bluebaggers and supporters, I probably need to say Happy Easter."
Bolton thanked football manager Brad Lloyd, chairman Mark LoGuidice, list manager Stephen Silvagni and chief executive Cain Liddle for their support across a difficult week.
"I'm human. We had the game won until the last 10 seconds, so it was incredibly tough, but I and the playing group during the week deal with the reality.
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"You can get caught up in the emotion and you're going to wear it hard for 24 hours but then you've got to look at what worked and what didn't.
"We worked on it and got the result today, that's the cycle of AFL."
Co-captain Patrick Cripps was central to Carlton's victory and Bolton said he played a significant role in this week's review out of the heartbreaking loss to the Suns.
"They watched the last four minutes (of the game against the Suns) and he (Cripps) challenged really heavily," Bolton said.
"Assertive is the only way to describe how he dealt with that."
Bolton said emerging star Charlie Curnow would be monitored ahead of next Sunday's game against Hawthorn in Tasmania, after he got a knock to the knee at training as he continues to deal with bone bruising through the knee.
The Carlton coach also gave the following responses to several standout performances from a number of players:
Sam Petrevksi-Seton: "That's a standout game. That's one that can give him a heap of confidence about what he's capable of at this level and he's in his third year, but he's been building for a while. It just shows that it takes a bit of time to get to that level."
Liam Jones: "When the move was made to down back I thought his career was over. But the one thing I did know was that he had a lot of heart and he's tough. I mean he's a brutal player and he's got good power. Last year it didn't matter who was playing down back, the ball was coming at them at 200mph so you've got to be careful not to write them off and now we're defending better and he comes back into the game. He played sore today too Jonesy. He was really sore because of the collisions last week."
Harry McKay: "He led at the ball, so he's growing. You've got to remember until late last year he hadn't played a lot of footy at all for Carlton because of injury. Week by week he's going to get better, the more he plays."