A BLISTERING six-goal third term set Carlton up for a highly impressive 48-point win over Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
The Blues are now in fourth place eight rounds into the season, kicking 42 points to just two in the premiership quarter to record a 17.14 (116) to 10.8 (68) victory.
It was a less-than-ideal first game in charge for acting senior coach Scott Burns against old adversary Michael Voss, with Matthew Nicks out of action due to health and safety protocols.
Adelaide finally broke through in the final term against the tiring Blues, taking some risks through the middle of the ground to reduce the margin from its highest point of 68.
BLUES v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
Jordon Butts, Tom Doedee and Billy Frampton have been in good touch of late, but struggled to hold the powerful forward combination of Charlie Curnow (six goals) and Harry McKay (three), with Carlton's strong midfield work resulting in a whopping 74 inside 50s to 49.
Adelaide wasn't completely outplayed in the first half – Carlton skipped out to a 27-point lead and the Crows briefly regained some ascendancy in the middle, kicking two goals, before Curnow and McKay once again combined to go into half-time 26 points ahead.
As Carlton showed last week against North Melbourne, when the Blues are at their best, their disposal inside 50 is with pace and pin-point precision, and they're quickly developing the ruthlessness needed to build percentage.
Sam Docherty (30 disposals, 10 marks), Zac Williams (16, seven marks) and Adam Saad (15, 346m gained) provided plenty of drive from defence, while Paddy Cripps (see below), Adam Cerra (27, six clearances) and Matt Kennedy (23, 610m gained) were outstanding in the midfield.
Jack Martin was subbed off at half-time with a calf complaint, while Adelaide's Lachie Murphy was subbed at three-quarter time after receiving treatment on his neck, having undergone surgery on the area over summer.
'I'D BE STAGGERED' No MRO concerns from Voss over Cripps tackle
Three votes, P. Cripps
The Carlton superstar's outstanding form continued against Adelaide, shaking off attention from Jackson Hately and Sam Berry to once again be the most influential player on the ground. Cripps recorded 35 touches, 12 score involvements, two goals and nine clearances to kickstart the Blues when the game was still in the balance, continuing his quest for a first Brownlow Medal.
Life without Matt Crouch
Senior Adelaide midfielder Matt Crouch was dropped for the clash against Carlton, with Burns saying mid-week there were areas he had to improve, despite averaging 27 touches this year. In his absence, Hately (15, four clearances) spent more time on the ball, as did a fairly impressive Sam Berry (21, nine tackles), while Rory Laird (33, eight clearances) and Ben Keays (29) were their usual busy selves.
The much-loved Eddie Betts played most of his final season – and his last match – in front of empty stadiums amid Melbourne's extended 2022 lockdown. On the boundary line with Fox for the match between his two former sides, a highlights package was shown at the main break to rapturous applause. Betts was noticeably emotional when thrown to before the resumption of play.
CARLTON 3.3 9.6 15.12 17.14 (116)
ADELAIDE 2.2 5.4 5.6 10.8 (68)
Carlton: Curnow 6, McKay 3, Cripps 2, Fisher 2, Silvagni 2, Newnes, Kennedy
Adelaide: Walker 2, McAdam 2, Rachele, Dawson, Frampton, Schoenberg, Himmelberg, Cook
Carlton: Cripps, Docherty, Curnow, Cerra, Kennedy, McKay
Adelaide: Laird, Dawson, Keays, Berry, Jones
Carlton: Martin (calf)
Adelaide: Murphy (neck)
Carlton: Matt Cottrell (replaced Martin in the third quarter)
Adelaide: James Rowe (replaced Murphy in the fourth quarter)