DAVID Teague had a plan for Charlie Curnow.
Two weeks into his tenure, the rewards of his thinking are already being reaped.
While Teague only assumed the reins as Carlton's interim coach from the departed Brendon Bolton a fortnight ago, his ideas for how best to use Curnow were hatched last summer.
The club's forwards coach at the time, Teague set about maximising a three-pronged tall forward line that already included Curnow and Harry McKay and had just added Mitch McGovern.
Essentially, it relied on quicker ball movement inside 50 leading to more isolation of a forwards group who are athletic and mobile, yet renowned for their contested marking.
"I think the more times we can get the ball forward, the more we can get it to him one-on-one," Teague said of Curnow from the club's training camp in Mooloolaba in February.
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While the sample size is small – Saturday night's defeat to the Western Bulldogs was only Teague's second game in charge – a change in the way Curnow is being used is already apparent.
Having struggled to live up to the excessive, though warranted, pre-season hype, Curnow's sudden return to form was highlighted by a career-high seven goals at Marvel Stadium.
Meanwhile, his 10 goals from Teague's first two games in charge already surpasses the meagre return of eight majors he kicked from his first eight matches this year.
But the goals are a by-product of the change in Curnow's role.
Arguably the most dangerous player the Blues have closest to goal, the supremely talented 22-year-old has been shifted much deeper under Teague's watch.
In those first eight games under Bolton, Curnow was winning only 25 per cent of his total disposals inside 50. Remarkably, six Blues were winning more ball inside the forward arc than he was.
It was the result of a slow, stagnant and safe style of football that forced Carlton's key position forwards to move higher up the field if they were any chance of seeing the footy.
This was most on display in a narrow round four loss to Gold Coast.
In a game where the Blues kicked just eight goals for the match – and on a day where the 175cm Michael Gibbons was the side's most targeted forward – Curnow finished with more than 60 per cent of his 17 disposals in Carlton's defensive half of the ground.
He was hardly a sniff of impacting the game in any meaningful manner.
However, in just two games under Teague, Curnow's percentage of total disposals inside 50 has already risen to 59 per cent – ranked fourth in the entire competition for this period.
Being closer to goal has unsurprisingly improved Curnow's ability to hit the scoreboard.
In addition to his back-to-back hauls of goals, Curnow's target numbers, his marks inside 50 and his direct score involvements have all risen significantly over the last fortnight.
% OF DISPOSALS INSIDE 50
TARGETS INSIDE 50
MARKS INSIDE 50
ONE-ON-ONE WIN %
* Stats courtesy of Champion Data
His win percentage in one-on-one contests has also soared from 33 per cent throughout the first period of the season to 71 percent over the last fortnight.
It's a benefit of the side getting the ball to Curnow far quicker than it previously was, allowing him to isolate his direct opponent in the most dangerous areas of the field.
"Their willingness to play fast makes forwards move," Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel said on AFL.com.au's Access All Areas earlier this week.
"When you're willing to play a lot quicker up the ground, you don't get caught standing there and putting your hand up.
"All of a sudden you're live and you know the ball is coming to you, which is all this guy needs. He needs a chance to show off his athleticism."
But his improvement in that particular area might also stem from something less tangible.
"It was one of the biggest mysteries why he was so poor," Essendon's goalkicking great Matthew Lloyd added.
"I know he had a few niggles and things like that. But to me he looks freer in the mind, freer in the body and he looks happier as a result of the previous two weeks.
"I'm not sure if there were issues between he and Brendon Bolton, or if he was restricted with the way Bolton was managing him … but to me he looks a different man under David Teague."
Regardless of how much you contribute Curnow's recent success to game plan, or to a sizeable boost in confidence, the Blues are undoubtedly a better side to watch with the exciting young forward in form.