A STERN half-time spray from coach David Teague provided Carlton with the spark to overcome a sloppy and error-riddled performance and secure victory against Hawthorn on Saturday.
Teague revealed he went "as hard as (he has) ever gone" at his Blues players during the interval, saying he was disappointed with the defensive intent of his side as the Hawks closed the gap to just three points at the main break.
Carlton clearly tightened up defensively following the stinging criticism, conceding just two goals for the remainder of the game on its way to a much-needed 23-point victory at the MCG.
"It was as hard as I've ever gone at them," Teague said afterwards.
"I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but to their credit in the second half when the ball went in there we were strong. We didn't get scored against, we protected the scoreboard and that allowed us to hit the scoreboard at the other end when we got our turn."
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Carlton conceded three straight goals on either side of half-time to relinquish a sizeable second-quarter lead, with Teague saying his message wasn't purely directed at his experienced backline.
"It wasn't just the backline because the ball was going in there. It was a team message, it wasn't one or two individual players. It was just too many of us," Teague said.
"You're going to have times when the ball goes in there and one guy doesn't get the job done on his guy. There was one we showed at half-time where it was probably four of us that were out there and had a chance to defend our guy with serious intent and we chose not to.
"Until we do that, we're not going to be a great side. We need to get better in that area. To the players' credit, I keep coming back to it, but in the second half we did it. The game lived down there for longer than we'd have liked and in the past we'd have got scored against, but today in the second half we didn't.
"Hopefully it's a great learning moment for our group, to get the win. It wasn't pretty, but these games hurt even more when you don't win. I hope the players get a bit of joy and a bit of a feeling about what they did in that second half, even though we didn't dominate the game."
Hawthorn had the chance to storm into the lead late in the third quarter when young key forward Jacob Koschitzke marked on the goal line, only to play on and be tackled by the onrushing Nic Newman.
It proved a decisive moment in the game, with Carlton heading directly up the other end and converting through Michael Gibbons before kicking the next three goals to end the third term.
Speaking afterwards, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said the 20-year-old's brain-fade was indicative of a young side that is going to make mistakes as it fights through a challenging rebuilding phase.
"It was probably a little bit impulsive and that was us for the day," Clarkson said.
"We probably played on from marks quicker than we needed to throughout the course of the game. We put ourselves under pressure with the live ball. That was the difference in the game.
"Carlton had the composure they needed to make good decisions and execute and we chose often to put speed on the ball. Speed on the ball is a good thing if you've got composure. It isn't great if you're in a rush.
"His blue right on the goal line was just a reflection of young players playing on impulse, getting going and being excited about the game. That was tough, but we live and learn and get on with it."