CARLTON coach David Teague is convinced his Blues are "on the improve" despite losses in six of their 10 games this year – and believes finals remain on the agenda.
Teague's men are one of three teams with a competition-most five games this year decided by 10 or fewer points (3-2 record) and they've proven competitive in almost every game.
THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?
Carlton's dropped three of its past five matches since a 52-point demolition of the Western Bulldogs, but was in a winning position in all three contests.
It took an after-the-siren Robbie Gray goal for Port Adelaide to pip the Blues in round seven, while they coughed up respective 31-point and 19-point advantages against Hawthorn and West Coast.
SLIDING DOORS If the Blues are to be honest with themselves ... then
The well-documented problem remains their inability to prevent opposition scoring streaks, with Carlton conceding 30-plus-point momentum shifts in 14 of Teague's 21 games at the helm.
"I've learned a lot this year and that's what I've loved, but we've got a lot more to learn and the run-ons are one of those areas," Teague said on Friday.
"Probably six weeks ago everyone was talking about (how) we couldn't start the games, and the guys, we've solved that the last few weeks … so we need to maintain that.
"Right now, we need to stem the damage when opposition do get a bit of momentum. We need to limit it to two goals, rather than four or five goals."
Harry McKay (knee) is primed to bolster the Blues' attack for their must-win clash with in-form Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday, with fellow top-10 draft pick Paddy Dow also in the mix.
"They're going to be quite a challenge, but we feel if we play our way and go out there, we expect to get the result and the win," Teague said.
"The challenge is they're very disciplined and their ability to defend has been strong … so hopefully we can get the game played in our half."
Teague also hailed star defender Jacob Weitering's four-year contract extension this week, saying it proved he had "belief in what we are doing".