THE LADDER doesn't lie.
That's the belief of Carlton coach David Teague, who suggested that the club's dwindling position in the finals picture is a fair reflection of his side's deficiencies after its hopes of remaining in contention this season were all but ended on Thursday night.
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Leading by 15 points against Greater Western Sydney at three-quarter time, Teague's outfit conceded the final four goals of the game to again throw away a commanding position.
The demoralising nine-point loss now leaves the Blues two games and a sizeable percentage differential behind the Giants in the race for the top eight, with just three games remaining.
"Take the season out of it, (Thursday night's loss) was a missed opportunity to not play for four quarters," Teague said after the defeat.
"That's our job. We go out there to play for four quarters, to put the effort in and make the right decisions. Right now, we're not there and we're probably sitting where we should sit because of our inability to do it for four quarters.
"What we do have is the belief that we can do it. We've shown that we can do it for periods of games, so it gives us belief. But the simple fact is, we're not doing it for four quarters right now. We've got to find a way to do that."
As for whether Carlton's season is over, Teague took a different outlook.
"You'd have to look at it mathematically, but it's not over for us," he said.
"We've got three more games to get better and we'll see what happens. Every game is important for us to improve. That's our focus, to get better. I thought there were signs that we did get better in areas tonight.
"Unfortunately, again, we just didn't do it for four quarters and that's our biggest growth area. We've got 12 quarters at least to go, so we need to show that we can play good footy for 12 quarters."
Conversely, GWS catapulted itself into the top eight on the back of its last-quarter heroics, leapfrogging a Melbourne side who suffered a shock upset loss to Sydney earlier in the day.
The Demons' result was confirmed just 10 minutes before the Giants' game started, though coach Leon Cameron said it didn't change any of his team's planning for the contest.
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"Someone mentioned it just before the bounce," Cameron said.
"But you don't worry about that. Clearly, we had to win. Simple. We're not relying on anyone else, we had to win.
"That might sound like it puts pressure on our team, but that's the way we have to deal with it. We now have to beat Adelaide next Tuesday, simple as that."