Carlton coach Michael Voss believes his team deserve to be in the top-four conversation after watching the Blues dismantle West Coast by 63 points on Sunday.
Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay kicked five goals each as the visitors overcame a mid-match fightback to post the 17.14 (116) to 8.5 (53) victory.
The win lifted Carlton (11-5) to fifth spot, just percentage adrift of the fourth-placed Brisbane Lions ahead of Saturday night’s blockbuster against ladder leaders Geelong at the MCG.
Losses to Collingwood, Richmond and St Kilda over the past six weeks had raised questions about whether Carlton had the consistency to be a top-four side.
But Voss believes his men are ready to make the jump.
“I think so,” Voss said when asked if his team are playing at a level required to reach the top four.
“There is commentary of how we are going. The last three games (we were) going really well. I think we’re in some really good form.
“I will let others determine who we play against and what results we should be getting.
“We came over here, having not won here (against West Coast) in eight years. That is significant.”
The Blues led 34-0 at quarter time but West Coast hit back with a seven-goal blitz in the second term to reduce the margin to 10 points by halftime.
Curnow had three goals in the first half but it was his two goals in the third quarter that proved decisive.
The 25-year-old’s set shot snap from the pocket helped edge the momentum back Carlton’s way, and he popped up late in the term with a clutch pack mark and 50m set shot to give the Blues a 17-point lead at the final break.
McKay then broke West Coast’s spirit with two goals early in the final term as Carlton landed the final eight goals of the match.
Curnow finished with 5.3 and eight marks from 16 disposals, while McKay kicked 5.3 to go with seven marks.
Carlton are now potentially two wins away from sealing their first finals berth since 2013.
But Voss insists he won’t be talking about finals with his players, especially with a Saturday night clash with ladder leaders Geelong at the MCG up next.
“(Geelong) is a team to reset you if you get ahead of yourselves,” Voss said.
“It will be a big game next Saturday night. Expect a big crowd; we’re coming along in big numbers.”
The inside 50m count read 17-0 in favour of Carlton before West Coast finally made it into attack at the 18-minute mark of the opening term.
Curnow feasted on West Coast’s ineptitude to slot two goals in the opening quarter, while Harry McKay, Sam Durdin, and Zac Fisher also got in on the act as quarter time arrived with the home team scoreless.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson unleashed a fierce spray at quarter time, and the Eagles responded with a stunning seven-goal second term.
“It was a Jekyll and Hyde type of game,” Simpson said.
“The first quarter was the most disappointing part of today. The first quarter was the part we can’t accept. We’ve got to get better than that.”