IT'S TAKEN 11 weeks, but Carlton's improved form under interim coach John Barker ground to a shuddering halt against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.
With a mounting injury toll to its experienced core and an increasingly young line-up as a result, Barker said the Blues hit a "tipping point" in the 64-point loss at the Gabba.
Carlton now sits bottom of the table, three percentage points behind the Lions, with three rounds remaining.
Barker said despite losing their seventh straight match, the young Blues had to stand for something in the final weeks and would not roll over.
Click here for John Barker's full media conference
Simon White and Levi Casboult (both knees) were withdrawals in the week leading up to the match and joined midfield core Bryce Gibbs, Dale Thomas and Chris Judd as absentees.
Barker said the toll has become too great.
"Over the last five or six weeks we've just kept losing senior players and there comes a tipping point, and on the back of that we've got quite a few inexperienced players tonight that just couldn't sustain it," he said.
"At the moment what you're seeing is a clear display of our depth.
"We know where we're at internally. I think our supporters and our fans understand it too."
Five talking points: Brisbane Lions v Carlton
Barker said although Carlton needed to build greater depth underneath its senior core, a rebuild wouldn't take as long as some thought.
He said the next three weeks were crucial to see what the players were made of.
"We've got to find a way, we've got three games to go," Barker said.
"We've got a lot of supporters out there that need to see some fight and intent and need to see us roll the sleeves up for the next three games.
"There's a point in time when you've got to stand for something, and we need to going forward if we want to be a good team, or we'll just roll along and be where we're at.
"But things need to change."