Carlton’s eight-goal second quarter earned them a gritty 32-point win against St Kilda.
The Blues’ 15.11 (101) to 9.15 (69) win was their biggest of the season, led by Bryce Gibbs and Kade Simpson.
However, the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Marc Murphy’s bump on Nick Riewoldt sure to come under scrutiny. The two captains clashed early in the third quarter, with Murphy catching Riewoldt high with his head over the ball.
Riewoldt spent much of the third term in the rooms and on the bench, but was able to play out the match, kicking four goals.
In desperate need of a win, Carlton started fastest, with Simpson and Chris Yarran putting them two goals up within two minutes.
But the Blues butchered chances to end the term with 2.6 despite having more ball and territory.
At half-time though, all was forgotten. The Blues caught fire in the second term, with three goals to Troy Menzel and two to Yarran opening up a 39-point half-time lead.
The Saints replied with two quick goals after the break but the sides looked more intent on brawling rather than scoring.
Sean Dempster and Mitch Robinson were involved in a melee during an intense third quarter, while Jack Steven needed bandages for a nasty cut.
When the steadier did come for Carlton, it was through the most unlikely of sources as Michael Jamison ghosted forward to kick just his second goal in eight seasons.
St Kilda were able to put the clamps on Carlton to avoid a second straight blowout but the Blues were never threatened on the scoreboard.
High-profile recruit Dale Thomas had another quiet night, but it did not matter to Carlton, who eased to a 46 point lead before giving up the last two goals.
Carlton improved their record to 3-5, going ahead of St Kilda on percentage.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse wasn’t getting carried away with the win, saying his search for consistency went on.
“We just haven’t really been able to mount that all year,” he said. “We’ve only had three wins so far … but we may have taken a bit more of a step.”
His opposite number Alan Richardson was even less impressed, saying his young side needed to build forward alternatives to Riewoldt.
“We were well and truly beaten for most of the night,” he said. “We just need a few more in front of the footy to give the big fella a hand.”