DAVID Teague has vowed to "back myself in" to lead Carlton as the spectre of an available Alastair Clarkson now hangs over the AFL's coaching fraternity.
Teague steered his Blues to a surprise 31-point win over St Kilda on Friday night, keeping Carlton within reach of an unlikely finals berth.
SAINTS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
It came after a week of intense pressure on Teague and Carlton following last week's loss to North Melbourne, which only intensified after Clarkson's expedited exit from Hawthorn was confirmed on Friday.
In recent weeks Teague, who is contracted for 2022, admitted he would understand if the Blues put in a call to Clarkson but with the four-time Hawks premiership coach now set to depart Waverley Park at the end of this year, more focus will grow on his future.
Teague said he would understand if the Blues approached Clarkson but said he was confident he was the right person to continue in the hot seat.
"I'd understand them wanting to, he's been a great coach for a long time. But I'm going to back myself in," Teague said post-game.
"We have good people here and I think the direction that we're going and what we're doing here [is right]. So in terms of do I think I'm the right person, if that's what you're asking, I think I'm the right person to keep going forward with this footy club."
Teague said he understood there would be a conversation about his future and "people out there who want to write a narrative" but that he was proud of the Blues' performance against St Kilda and confident of their future despite an underperforming 2021 campaign.
He said he would not seek any assurances from the club about his position with Clarkson now on the market for 2022.
"No [I won't]. I've got confidence in what I'm doing, what we're doing as a group and as a collective and right now I'm going to sit back and I’m going to enjoy tonight's effort," he said.
The Blues' task of overcoming St Kilda became harder when sole ruckman Tom De Koning went down in the first half with a pectoral injury, but Jack Silvagni stepped up as a makeshift ruckman in what Teague described as an "outstanding" performance.
That match-up was equally frustrating for St Kilda counterpart Brett Ratten, who said the Saints didn't take advantage of their dominance in that area.
"Our ball use really hurt us tonight but the other part to the game was that we thought we had a ruck advantage at stoppages. De Koning goes down and we win hitouts by 57 and only win clearances by three," he said.
"They scored four goals from centre bounce and it's an area we thought we had the upper hand and we didn't."
The Saints lost Dougal Howard to a hamstring strain and the returning Hunter Clark to concussion, ruling him out for round 21 at least under the AFL's mandatory head knock protocols. He was cleared of any repeat jaw injury.
With their finals hopes shot, Ratten flagged some gameplan changes for the Saints for 2022.
"With getting some of the quality players from out of the stands and onto the park will help us but we will have to tinker with a few things. That won't fix everything," he said.
"We haven't moved the ball the way we'd want to, our goal accuracy is down, our clearance rate can be inconsistent. So we've got a bit of work to do."