Michael Voss will continue working to address Carlton’s alarming third-quarter lapses after the latest of them almost cost his side in a tense three-point AFL win over Port Adelaide.
Charlie Curnow’s fifth goal late in the final quarter helped the Blues hold off their dogged opponents for a 14.10 (94) to 13.13 (91) victory at the MCG.
But the fact it got that close after Carlton had led by as many as 50 points moments before halftime was cause for concern for Voss.
The Blues are yet to win a third quarter this season and Sunday’s fixture marked the third time they have let an opponent claw their way back into a contest from a big deficit.
“We put ourselves in such a strong position and our top level is extremely impressive but we just sort of drop our guard a bit and lose some concentration,” a relieved Voss said.
“We lack some consistency in the way we want to play so we just need to make sure we keep working at it.
“We’ve got to keep emphasising and valuing the right things so we can produce for a lot longer than what we are.”
Sam Walsh (38 touches), George Hewett (33) Adam Cerra (32) and Jack Martin (two goals) were instrumental in building the Blues’ massive first-half lead.
Curnow (five) and Harry McKay (three) combined for eight goals for the home side and Jacob Weitering was solid in defence.
Despite trailing by 49 points at halftime, when they had just four goals on the board, the Power sensed they still had a pulse.
They kicked six goals to one in a third-quarter surge that included two long bombs from Ryan Burton in his 100th game.
Zak Butters (32 disposals), Darcy Byrne-Jones (26) and Connor Rozee (24) all helped drag Port back into the contest and they got within a kick when Mitch Georgiades nailed the quick reply to Curnow’s late goal.
The Power had a chance to snatch a remarkable victory with one minute left as Karl Amon took a set shot from outside 50 metres.
But it was rushed through for a behind in a mad scramble on the line and the Blues hung on.
“We knew coming into the game Carlton’s second halves have been quite different to their first halves, and I’m sure they’d be aware of that,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said.
“We thought if we could get a bit of scoreboard pressure going we’d still be in the game.
“It seems a bit silly at 50 points down but that’s what we believed.
“We knew the opportunities, if we could keep going, would maybe appear later for us but we didn’t want to be 50 points down.”
The result was ultimately Carlton’s fourth win in five games and left Port in a 0-5 hole, their worst-ever start to an AFL season.