It’s fair to say it has been a lean 10 years for the Carlton Football Club.
They’ve had four senior coaches and arguably been through more ups and downs then any team in the competition over that period, while half the decade was eaten up by a complete rebuild.
However, there have been bright spots too and that is what we are focusing on today!
Here’s Carlton’s 10 best wins of the last 10 years:
10. 2020 AFLW Elimination Final versus Brisbane
Result: Carlton 44 – Brisbane 15
Carlton’s second AFLW finals win edges out the first simply because it felt like the culmination of a season that could have ended in a premiership, had the season not been cut short. The Blues had won five in a row and everything was coming together beautifully in defence, through the midfield and inside 50. After a slow start, they put it all on display against the Lions, outscoring them 38-7 after quarter time. Young stars Maddy Prespakis, Georgia Gee, Tayla Harris, Vaomua Laloifi and Grace Egan led the way, highlighting the bright future in front of this team. The cancellation of the season leaves us never knowing what would have been, but at the final siren, a flag was within reach.
9. 2019 Round 12 versus Brisbane
Result: Carlton 78 – Brisbane 63
David Teague’s first game in charge came at the lowest point among a decade of low points for the Carlton Football Club. Brendon Bolton’s axing and the weeks leading up to it were dark for the club and fans alike. The Blues came out with an attacking style of play against the red-hot Lions, but found themselves 37 points down in the first half. From there, Carlton clawed their way back into the game and won by 15 points. Captain Patrick Cripps had a career day – which is saying something – gathering 38 disposals and kicking four goals. This was the game that set the Teague Train into motion and gave Blues fans some relief among what was a turbulent few weeks.
8. 2017 Round 22 versus Hawthorn
Result: Carlton 77 – Hawthorn 70
Carlton needed to break this bogey. The Blues had not beaten Hawthorn in 4,495 days and an end didn’t seem to be on the horizon any time soon. This game was a back and forth affair with Carlton leading for most of the night, but were never able to put Hawthorn away. The Blues led for the entire fourth quarter, but it never felt comfortable as the Hawks pressed hard. Jarrod Pickett played his best game, kicking two crucial goals, Sam Docherty gathered 31 disposals and Liam Jones was mighty in defence when it mattered most.
7. 2016 Round 8 versus Port Adelaide
Result: Carlton 93 – Port Adelaide 91
This one meant a lot to Carlton fans. The club was celebrating heart-and-soul defender Kade Simpson’s 250th game as well as Michael Jamison’s 150th. The Blues were down for most of the afternoon, with the Power holding a slight edge. Port led by three goals late in the final quarter before goals to Liam Jones and Liam Sumner got the Blues back within a kick with two minutes left. Matthew Kreuzer would snap a goal moments later to put the Blues in front, allowing them to chair off their champions with a win and giving Carlton four wins on the trot. It capped off a decent fortnight, including a win over Collingwood that ended a five-year run of losses to the old enemy (which came in 11th on this list).
6. 2012 Round 3 versus Collingwood
Result: Carlton 122 – Collingwood 62
If you don’t remember this game, Carlton was the premiership favourite at the conclusion of it – yes, you read that correctly. The Blues had started the year with dominant victories over Brisbane and Richmond and were coming off a 2011 season where they were an inch away from making a Preliminary Final. They took on Collingwood at the MCG and blew them off the park, kicking 18 goals and winning by 60 points. Eddie Betts booted five, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland and Chris Judd combined for 109 disposals and the archrivals were completely dispatched. It didn’t last and 2012 ultimately ended up a disappointing year for the Blues, but at this moment, Carlton was back on top of the world.
5. 2011 Round 6 versus Sydney
Result: Carlton 87 – Sydney 71
For many, this was the night of the royal wedding with the footy bumped out of the Friday night spotlight. For Carlton fans, it was the night Chris Judd crushed the Swans at the SCG. Judd gathered 33 disposals, won 25 contested possessions, 15 clearances, laid eight tackles and willed the Blues to a 16-point victory in the wet. Eddie Betts kicked four and Carlton physically imposed themselves on Sydney, laying 106 tackles. They set the tone for what was their best year in a long time.
4. 2013 Round 23 versus Port Adelaide
Result: Carlton 104 – Port Adelaide 103
Because of Essendon’s supplement saga banishment from the top eight, the equation was simple for Carlton – beat Port in Adelaide and you’re in. Unfortunately, they did not get off to the greatest of starts, trailing by 29 points early in the fourth quarter. With their season on the line and a rare finals berth up for grabs, the side rallied and booted eight final-quarter goals to take the lead. It wasn’t over yet, however, as Matthew Broadbent had a flying shot for goal to win the game in the dying seconds. The kick took about 10 minutes to reach the goals in the eyes of Blues fans, but when it did, it hit the post. Marc Murphy kicked three goals in the win and led the side into September action.
3. 2011 Round 18 versus Essendon
Result: Carlton 153 – Essendon 79
Eddie Betts kicked eight goals and Andrew Walker took the greatest mark of the 21st century. Does anything else need to be said? Well, yes.
The Blues crushed Essendon by 74 points, but the craziest part about this game was the fact that the scores were level with six minutes left in the second quarter. From there, it rained Blues goals as they piled on 24 in total. Walker kicked four to go with his screamer and Dennis Armfield booted three, while Chris Judd and Marc Murphy were unstoppable through the midfield. It was Betts’ show however as he put on his greatest game in a Blues jersey.
2. 2011 Elimination Final versus Essendon
Result: Carlton 149 – Essendon 87
Carlton was not done with Essendon in 2011 just yet, however. The two met in the Elimination Final a few weeks later with both looking to end significant droughts without a finals victory. The Blues dominated yet again, winning by 62 points and ending 10 years without a win in September. Marc Murphy capped off the best year of his career with 37 disposals, Chris Judd took a huge hanger and Eddie Betts continued his domination of the Bombers, booting four. Carlton kicked 21.23.149 and could have blown the margin right out with some accurate kicking. They would go on to lose to West Coast in the Semi Final in an incredibly tight game ultimately decided by a free kick not paid to Andrew Walker inside 50 late in the game. A win there would have seen Carlton taking on Geelong on the MCG in a Preliminary Final, a team they beat earlier in the year. Blues fans will always wonder what could have been.
1. 2013 Elimination Final versus Richmond
Result: Carlton 116 – Richmond 96
The storylines of this match were a work of art in themselves. Carlton was thrust from ninth into finals because of Essendon’s supplement saga. They took on Richmond, a team teased for finishing ninth over and over, and knocked them out of finals. On top of all of that, the hero of the day was Nick Duigan, a lockdown defender who was an emergency coming into the game. He was in the stands eating Subway when Brock McLean was withdrawn and he came on and kicked four goals. The Tigers got off to a strong start and led comfortably at half-time, but Carlton came hard in the third term and got the game to level pegging. From there, it was a back and forth start to the final quarter, with Mitch Robinson giving away a free kick in the goal square and gifting the Tigers a goal, before becoming the hero up the other end, taking a contested mark deep inside 50 to put Carlton in front. From there, goals to Chris Judd, Duigan and Jeff Garlett coupled with an incredible Lachie Henderson mark deep in defence saw the Blues over the line – their best win of the last 10 years.