CARLTON isn't yet thinking about a return to the finals despite a favourable run home giving the Blues a chance to feature for the first time since 2013.
Jack Newnes' after-the-siren goal against Fremantle last week kept alive the Blues' hopes of making the top eight in David Teague's first full season as coach.
They face Gold Coast this Friday night at TIO Stadium in Darwin to open the AFL's Sir Doug Nicholls Round in an important clash, before finishing the home and away season with games against Collingwood, Greater Western Sydney, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Of those teams, only Brisbane and Collingwood sit inside the top eight ahead of round 13, and with the Blues one game outside the eight, they are well placed to make a late charge. However Teague couldn't be drawn on what a finals appearance would mean for the club.
THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?
"It's a bit boring but we just look at what we can control, and right now it's our preparation and then it's our performance come game day," he said.
"We want to play our way. We expect if we play our way we'll get enough wins to play finals, but that's a byproduct of what we can control.
"This week's the same: we go out there expecting to play well and to get a result and that's where our effort and energy goes towards."
Recruit Jack Martin has to pass training on Wednesday before being given the all-clear to face his former side, but Teague expects the midfielder to be ready.
"He should be. We're about to have training this afternoon so if he gets through training and if he's available obviously he'll play," he said.
"He's a test for this week, so he's just got to get through training today and put his hand up."
THE FULL INJURY LIST Who is racing the clock?
Marc Pittonet (finger) and David Cuningham (calf) will also need to get through the session to meet the Suns.
The Blues have faced one of the most grueling schedules since leaving Melbourne, playing three games in Queensland before heading for a three-game stint in Perth.
They have returned to the Gold Coast in recent days before flying to Darwin, and will return to Queensland after Friday's clash. Teague said he hadn't noticed the travel taking a toll on his players.
"One of the things I've really been proud of is the way the guys get themselves up," he said.
"You might see them around the hotel and you think 'Gee, their energy's low', but as soon as we step onto the oval to train or to play they find a way to get up.
"There's a fair bit of energy. They have to create it, sometimes it might be a bit more manufactured and other times they're just feeling it, but right now our group seems really good."