1. Short-lived comeback
It was one of the most anticipated comebacks of the season with dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd named for Carlton after February Achilles surgery. While no one was surprised when Bulldogs veteran Daniel Giansiracusa was selected as the Dogs' substitute for the fourth time this season, it raised eyebrows when Judd was handed the Blues' green vest. When the former captain came on at the 22-minute mark of the third quarter, it took him a few minutes to find the ball – and when he did, he gathered three possessions in less than 10 seconds. But disaster struck when he sped up to dispose of the third and he pulled up sharply before limping off clutching his right hamstring after just six minutes on the field.
2. War of attrition bravely won
The Blues were down to one fit man on the bench in the last quarter with Patrick Cripps subbed out, Judd nursing a hamstring and Ed Curnow limping off with a knee injury. They also had Tom Bell on the field after having a dislocated finger reset in the third quarter. The Bulldogs then upped the physicality stakes as the game hung in the balance after moving within 17 points. Koby Stevens was reported for rough conduct on Kane Lucas and minutes later, Liam Jones floored Marc Murphy with a solid bump than left the Blues captain on the deck for a few moments. But the Blues courageously stuck fat and won the war, and also their first game of the season.
3. Scoring mojo rediscovered
The Blues haven't been high scorers this season, having twice kicked 12 goals in games, once eight and once seven. On Sunday night, a revitalised Jarrad Waite successfully teamed with Lachie Henderson in the forward line to kick eight goals between them and the Blues surpassed the 12-goal mark before half-time. The Dogs were missing key defender Dale Morris to an ankle injury and one-match suspension and Jordan Roughead to a broken shoulder, which didn't help their cause, and the Blues were also supported by a raft of their midfielders contributing on the scoreboard with Bryce Gibbs, Heath Scotland and Murphy among those chipping in as the team tallied a total of 18 for the game.
4. Waite pays his way
During the week, Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said he didn't care when asked if he thought the Blues would recall Waite after he was dropped to the VFL for a game. By half-time, he was probably wishing Mick Malthouse had kept Waite out. The 31-year-old kicked three goals and took five marks before the main break and pushed up the ground with energy and enthusiasm. The Dogs tried Tom Young, Michael Talia and Tom Williams on him but he managed to rack up three goals and take eight marks in a performance that was far more encouraging than anything he produced earlier in the season.
5. Leading the way
Carlton's leaders have copped a caning in the media this season for their apparent lack of voice and ability to influence a game. During the week, Malthouse again backed his leadership group by saying it was because of them the Blues still had high confidence despite their winless start. Against the Dogs, those who had been in the gun most – Murphy and Gibbs – responded in strong fashion. Murphy had 28 disposals and Gibbs 29, and given the tough way the Blues fought the game out with a depleted bench, it's fair to say their experienced players made sure the game didn't slip.