A DOMINANT 10-goal game from Carlton's twin key forwards has spearheaded an important 63-point win against West Coast at Optus Stadium that has the Blues on the edge of the top four.
Having wasted a dominant opening quarter and becoming the first team to concede seven goals in a term to West Coast this season, Carlton turned to Charlie Curnow to save them.
The Coleman Medal leader delivered, lifting his team after half-time and taking his season tally to 50 as the Blues drew level on points with fourth-placed Brisbane, winning 17.14 (116) to 8.5 (53).
EAGLES v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
They put their foot down in the final term, kicking seven unanswered goals to recover their big margin after letting the Eagles back into the game, with Harry McKay booting three of his five to finish the home team off.
The win ends a seven-game losing streak against West Coast, stretching back to 2015, and goes a long way to ensuring Carlton will play finals for the first time since 2013 under first-year coach Michael Voss.
NO FINALS TALK YET Voss says there's plenty to be done before September
They were on shaky ground halfway through the third quarter, having allowed the Eagles back into the game after holding the home team scoreless in the opening term and opening a 36-point lead early in the second.
Leading by just 10 points and with the Eagles rallying on the back of champion forward Josh Kennedy's 700th goal for the club, Curnow took matters into his own hands.
The athletic forward took a strong contested mark and then slotted his set shot from 50m to give the Blues some breathing room. They ultimately wouldn't concede another goal in the game.
Midfield wrecking ball George Hewett (26 disposals and eight clearances) was excellent, Adam Cerra returned to Optus Stadium to have 28 and nine inside 50s.
Captain Patrick Cripps lifted in the final quarter to have 10 of his 24 disposals and finish with a game-high 10 clearances, with his team winning the stoppage battle 47-31.
West Coast worked back into the game after its horror opening on the back of defender Shannon Hurn (28 and 12 rebounds), and wingman Andrew Gaff (30 and six clearances).
The Eagles ultimately handed the Blues too big a head start and had too many passengers in two of the four quarters, falling away alarmingly when the result got away from them late.
Eagles concede head start
The opening quarter was as one-sided as we've seen in West Coast's nightmare 2022. Dominated in the midfield and unable to handle the Blues' relentless pressure, the Eagles went scoreless in a quarter for the third time this season. While they conceded the first 17 forward entries in the first 17 minutes, the most damning stat was their inability to register a disposal inside 50 by the end of the quarter. The backline was done no favours and held up as well as it possibly could, with the Blues kicking a wasteful 5.4 that could have been more.
JK hits one last milestone
West Coast champion Josh Kennedy kicked his 700th career goal back in round seven, but his 700th as an Eagle was a special moment for the 34-year-old. Kennedy entered the match with 698 goals as an Eagle and in the third quarter he kicked the second he required to hit 700 with the club, where he is the all-time leading goalkicker. Chris Masten, who is the Eagles' runner, was drafted with the pick No.3 that arrived at West Coast alongside Kennedy in the Chris Judd trade of 2007. The former wingman bolted onto Optus Stadium to celebrate with his premiership teammate.
A different time
Before Sunday, Carlton last beat West Coast when Bryce Gibbs was the club's reigning club champion and Andrejs Everitt its leading goalkicker. Following that three-point loss at Marvel Stadium – then known as Etihad Stadium – the Eagles built what was their longest active winning streak against any club. No Carlton players from the 22 who last beat West Coast remain on their list, while nine Eagles from that game – including former Blue Kennedy – remain with the Eagles. Coaches Adam Simpson and Mick Malthouse were in their first and second seasons with the clubs respectively.
WEST COAST 0.0 7.3 8.5 8.5 (53)
CARLTON 5.4 8.7 10.10 17.14 (116)
West Coast: Kennedy 2, Waterman 2, Darling, Williams, Rioli, Foley
Carlton: Curnow 5, McKay 5, Fisher 2, Durdin 2, Walsh, Cripps, Cottrell
West Coast: Hurn, Gaff, Redden, Duggan, Kennedy
Carlton: Curnow, McKay, Hewett, Cerra, Docherty, Cripps, De Koning
West Coast: Petruccelle (hamstring)
Carlton: Newnes (corked leg)
West Coast: Nil
Carlton: Matthew Owies replaced in the selected side by Josh Honey
West Coast: Greg Clark (replaced Petruccelle in the fourth quarter)
Carlton: Will Hayes (replaced Jack Newnes in the fourth quarter)