THE FORM line says it all for Carlton: W L W L W L W L W L.

As the side's post-bye form has fluctuated wildly, so too has its chances of eventually breaking its decade-long finals drought later this season. From a position of relative comfort just a few days ago, Saturday night's unexpected defeat to Adelaide now has the club's September ambitions hanging by a thread.

Sandwiched in between morale-boosting victories over top-four hopefuls Sydney and Fremantle during that stretch have been confidence-shattering losses to top-eight rivals St Kilda and Richmond, as well as other blips on the radar against struggling outfits like Adelaide last weekend.

MOUTHGUARDS IN Blues to roll up sleeves for finals fight

The inconsistencies within the performance, as much as the final results, would be a concern to Carlton coach Michael Voss. It leaves the Blues likely needing to win at least one of their final three games – all against top-four challengers Brisbane, Melbourne and Collingwood – to secure their finals fate.

Carlton coach Michael Voss addresses his players during the Blues' round 15 against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium on June 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

In order to do that, there are key statistical markers that have swayed to either direction during the side's unpredictable 5-5 run that will need to be ironed out over the course of the next month. Doing so may prove pivotal to securing one of the few remaining top-eight positions.

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

It starts with the side's efficiency. According to Champion Data, Carlton's goals per inside-50 rate has drifted from 23.5 per cent in its five victories to 18.8 per cent during its five defeats throughout this span. Its disposal efficiency also dips from 76.6 per cent to 71.9 per cent, while its number of clanger kicks rise from 21.2 in wins to 29 in losses.

Carlton players celebrate a Charlie Curnow goal against Greater Western Sydney in R19, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

The profile in which the Blues play, and score, also alters significantly. The team's scores from turnover differential has gone from +19.8 points in its five wins to -16.4 points in its five defeats. Its inside-50 differential drops from +13.8 in victories to -10.2 during losses, while clearance differential shifts from +4.8 to -1.4 depending on the result.

The inconsistent manner in how Carlton moves the ball has also proved an issue throughout this 10-match period. A methodical team at its best, the side's uncontested marks drop from 97.8 in wins to 72.2 in defeats. Meanwhile, its uncontested possession differential falls from +56.3 in its victories to -12.2 in its losses.

00:50 Mins
Published on

Carlton carve up the corridor to end in Young goal

Lewis Young gives the Blues a glimmer of hope after completing this coast-to-coast team play

Published on

That culminates in how the Blues are able to link the play from their backline, with Champion Data again noting that their rebound-50 to inside-50 rate goes from 30.5 per cent during their five wins in this period to 21.1 per cent during their five defeats.

A key element to all of this stems from the team's pressure. As Voss alluded to post-match on Saturday night, effort and workrate often dictates how the side is able to perform in other areas of the field. That's been the case statistically, as well. The Blues have had a higher pressure factor than their opponents in all five wins during their recent 10-game stretch. They've had a lower pressure factor in four of their five defeats.

00:43 Mins
Published on

Blues pressure too hot for Eagles as Durdin adds to fast start

Corey Durdin capitalises on Carlton's pressure through the middle with their fourth goal of the quarter

Published on

"I'd start with the desire of both teams. They just had a greater desire than us. There are not too many games where we've walked away this year and lost the groundball number like we did (on Saturday night). There are not too many games where we've been on the negative side of things (for contested possession)," Voss said.

"That effort and workrate to outnumber, win contests … that's got to be the cornerstone of your game every time you play. Pleasingly, we've been able to achieve that for the majority of the year.

"Tonight, we were certainly outworked. That puts a lot of stress on other parts of your game if you can't get that right, or at least make it a little bit even. It puts a greater spotlight on your ball use and you're holding on a little bit."